August 2011


Back in March, at my husband’s request, I went to see a surgeon specializing in Crohn’s related problems. This simple request set off an unexpected chain of events that have led me to where I am today.

The surgeon said I needed major, life-altering surgery, but my gastroenterologist disagreed. He believed it to be too drastic for someone as healthy as me (healthy being a relative term when you are talking about Crohn’s Disease).

So, after much discussion and emotional turmoil, I decided to see a specialist – one of the top gastroenterologists in the country specializing in Crohn’s Disease. I wanted fresh eyes and A LOT of experience looking at my situation to give me some insight on what to do next.

The specialist didn’t think surgery was appropriate, as my therapeutic options had not yet been exhausted. I was elated. But, he did send me to yet another surgeon for a second surgical opinion. Disappointingly, but no real surprise, the second surgeon echoed the opinion of the one I saw in March.

All of these consultations spanned a period from March to August, so that is five months, four doctors, two completely opposing opinions, and no real answers to show for it.

Its times like these when you really, REALLY understand what “be your own advocate” means, and it has led me to realize that there comes a point in our lives when we have to stop listening to all the noise that comes at us from all directions and figure out what’s best for ourselves.

The truth is I don’t want the surgery. Not now, not ever if I can avoid it. It’s not because I’m afraid, or even naive, it’s because I don’t believe it’s the right path for me.  

What does all this mean? Where do I go from here?

For me it means embarking on a Healthiness Project. I’m taking all the things that I’d been haphazardly trying to achieve over the last year or so and melding them together into what I now realize will be my most important project – a much healthier me.

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A couple nights ago I began reading the book Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier which had been on my shelves for a while waiting for it to be the right time to read it.

As I delved into the novel, the opening paragraph for the third chapter stopped me in my tracks as it seemed to be speaking directly to me. The passage:

“I cannot decide whether it is an illness or a sin, the need to write things down and fix the flowing world in one rigid form. Bear believed that writing dulled the spirit, stilled some holy breath. Smothered it. Words, when they’ve been captured and imprisoned on paper, become a barrier against the world, one best left unerected. Everything that happens is fluid, changeable. After they’ve passed, events are only as your memory makes them, and they shift shape over time. Writing a thing down fixes it in place as surely as a rattlesnake skin stripped from the meat and stretched and tacked to a barn wall. Every bit as stationary, and every bit as false to the original thing. Flat and still and harmless. Bear recognized that all writing memorializes a momentary line of thought as if were final.”

I’ve moved on in the book now, but I’ve come back to that passage several times.

In January when I wrote my last big post, the passage probably would not have registered with me as all that significant, yet now, I find it to be absolutely brilliant. The reason? Everything in the last several months seems to have been as Frazier describes – so fluid and ever changing – that every time I tried to commit my thoughts to keyboard, they seemed irrelevant, old news, no longer applicable before I could hit “publish.”

In the past months I’ve written or thought through dozens of posts that never made it to fruition. Frustration and self-doubt were getting the better of me until finally I realized sometimes you just have to live your life, see where it leads, then talk about it. I’m still on the path to “Better”, but it’s unlike anything I imagined seven months ago.

Friend or Foe?

Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference in your day.

This morning I got up only marginally ready to start my week. My mood was not what it should have been and it only got worse as the day progressed. Frustrations and stressors were piling up all around.

Then, a seemingly inconsequential thing happened but it made all the difference.

The FedEx man came in to deliver a package and went on to relay how a rabbit that lives in between my office building and the next always rustles the bushes and startles him when he approaches our door. I’ve been in and out of that same door countless times and have never seen a rabbit much less been startled by one.

The whole scenario had me giggling like a like a five-year-old that can’t stop saying the word “fart.” In an instant my bad mood was gone.

Thank you Mr. Bunny and Mr. FedEx Man, the two of you made my day.