Can you believe we’re staring down the end of January already? Weren’t we just watching the ball drop in Time’s Square on television?
I hope 2017 has been good to you so far. It’s been treating us pretty decent. I’m counting on that continuing all year, better than decent.
The Crohn’s disease seems to be in a stupid flare. Chronic illness bites, I can’t even tell you. I’ve been battling this beast since I was 18. Probably even before then. As I look back, I can remember some wicked stomach aches in my earlier childhood and I wonder sometimes…was that Crohn’s then or some precursor to it?
It’s not been super for a few years, but these past few weeks it’s been terribly painful. I’ve spent some nights on the couch so as not to disturb my husband with my tossing and turning, and rolling into the fetal position. I’ve had some tests already and have an MRI coming up this week.
So much fun.
Except it’s not. It’s painless, but I have some claustrophobia. I can’t stand anything that even gives me a hint of perception that I’m restricted or constricted in any way, or that my breathing may be restricted at all. And an MRI is…a tube. You’re like the creamy center stuffed into a solid donut.
I’ve done it before. Once. I had a pill for anxiety or relaxation or something. I kept waiting for it to kick in and get to the point where I didn’t care about the tube. It didn’t happen and nobody was more surprised than I was since a Benadryl will knock me out cold.
The tech told me I could stay or I could go and reschedule and get IV sedation. It was going to be quick, she said. She handed me a panic button and said if I push it, she could have me out in three seconds. I put blinders on, headphones with the music genre of my choice, and pretended that I didn’t know that with every jerk of the table, I was being sucked farther in.
I made it. I did a lot of deep breathing and going to my mental happy place. I felt empowered when it was done (no panic button necessary).
Now, I’m facing it again and I’m nervous again. This time I’ll have a pill again and one can hope it’ll be a bit more effective than the last time because this time it might be a little longer in that tunnel because I have to drink delicious contrast.
This kind of anxiety…the fear of the tube and restricted places and panic…it’s all real. Those fears are real. When I get into a situation like this, I’m trying to be more “mind over matter”. I remind myself that I’ve been through much more difficult situations.
I’ve given birth via emergency C-section one week post-op from having part of my intestines removed. Then I coded. Was it tough? Yep. I survived.
I’ve been through an abusive marriage and was held at gunpoint, attacked, then witnessed something terrible. And suffered the aftermath. Was it horrendous and painful? Sure was. I survived.
So I’ve been giving myself this pep talk. “Look what you survived! You will survive this too.”
We are warriors, friends. Our anxieties and fears and PTSD issues are real. What we’ve been through is real. The memories are sometimes almost palpable.
If you’re facing something a little tough right now (or a lot tough), remember the courage, bravery, chutzpah, and mettle that’s in our makeup. We’ve been through some junk. We’re here to talk about it and help others and be helped. We are survivors.
Forget the “big girl pants”. Put on your warrior pants. You earned them. It might not be easy, but you’ll do alright.
When facing something difficult, remember this about yourself: you’ve stared some tough circumstances in the face and come out victorious. Draw on that strength. You’ll make it. I will too.
Grab your bravery,