2017 has been quite a tumultuous year. January began the 6 months of hell with my Crohn’s disease. I had been steadily worsening over the last several years. January saw fit to shift into overdrive. All of my symptoms intensified – fatigue, bathroom issues, flu-like symptoms, fuzzy brain, and pain. Especially pain. It became a daily thing, even hourly. Horrible spikes that left me writhing on my bed, looking for my breath, practicing progressive relaxation, sometimes weeping or raging when I could no longer stand the fact that I wasn’t getting a break. I began to be able to eat less and less, finally existing on juice, broth, and an occasional bite or two of the few things that I could sometimes hold down. Eating brought more pain. I lost weight, became mostly housebound, quite often unable to leave my bed.
Then finally I was able to have surgery. Bowel resection, about a foot. It frightened me, but I agreed with enthusiasm because my life had become almost unbearable. I suffered, not only for myself, but for my loved ones who had to witness my decline. So I said yes to surgery and began to hope to be one of the lucky ones who experience a temporary remission, from months up to 5 years. I began to dream of all I could do if I went into remission. How I could exercise, take walks, become healthy and strong. How I could leave the house, go to restaurants again, walk the beach. Maybe even do volunteer work with Hospice, a dream of mine. And travel. Go to see my sister, my mom. Go to visit siblings. Take Matt out to the northwest to see the wonders of nature.
My surgery went well. I came home after only 2 days, unusual. I began to really work on recovery. Complications brought on by my malnourished state set me back, but not for long. I began to eat all the things I had let go over the years. Popcorn! Salads! Fresh fruit! When Matt handed me my first piece of fruit, a juicy nectarine, I wept. In fact, I wept on and off all day with the memory of how amazing that nectarine was and how wonderful to eat it. For 6 glorious weeks, I ate whatever I wanted, I focused on recovery, I felt sure this was remission.
Then, my hopes were dashed by the return of symptoms. No remission for me. For some reason, this brought me to the brink of despair. I was angry, depressed, and felt utterly defeated. I sat with the knowledge for a couple of weeks, then did the hard work of telling Matt and Rae. I felt so sad for Matt. His life has been affected by my illness and I had hoped for his sake to have a break.
So, now I am working on finding my peace, my equanimity. Letting go, once again. Working on stopping resistance. Working on acceptance. Finding my way back to allowing what is to be enough. Not what was or what I wish would be, but what is. This is my reality. My illness, my guru. Now I go back to the things it has taught me, I return to letting go, to gratitude, to rejoicing in this precious human life. I don’t want to waste time resisting, resentful and bitter. No, I want to remember that each day that I wake is a miracle. Each moment is pregnant with possibility. Each breath is a new beginning.