Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Therapy: Rebooted.

I've been going to therapy (with the new therapist) for a couple months now.  I like her very much because her technique, thus far, has been to listen.  It sounds so simple, doesn't it?  Listening - not just the words but the tone of my voice.  No fancy text book therapy processes, no five dollar words.  No aggressive pushiness.  Sometimes, people just need that impartial ear to hear them.

We talk to our loved ones, those closest to us and that's important and necessary.  And yet, it's difficult to be.. raw, brutally open and honest, to show them the very harsh reality of what a disease is and how it manifests not only physically, but mentally and spiritually.  I can't speak for everyone but it is my nature to protect them.

Hence, the need, often times, for a non-invested person to talk with.  We don't have to shield them.  We're finally free to rant and rave, to cry until we blow our noses into wadded up tissue that has been gripped tightly by a fist that trembles.

This is what surprises me most about being sick - how strong one must be to keep fighting for their life or their quality of life.  By the very nature of being ill, having an illness or disease, you're already physically weaker.  Yet, we find some inner source of strength, sheer force of will, that keeps us going. 

The freedom to say anything we want and to release a well of emotion is crucial.  We absolutely need to get it all out until we're limp and empty of the bad stuff for a while.  Maybe your person to do that with is a spouse or best friend, a lover, a soulmate, your favorite cousin or your pastor.  Maybe it's the therapist that sits across from you, silently watching with a look of compassion on her face as yours crumples.

Somehow, she knows that you've pretty much got this figured out.  You're a smart cookie, you've done the research, you know the five stages of grief and you even know you'll have to revisit them from time to time.  She listens and knows that you're going to be okay, that you'll find a way to live this new life that fits like too small, pinched, ugly shoes at times but slowly, you're finding your way to not just hobble but dance in them.

Monday, February 17, 2014

My Colon Is Being An A**hole

Today, I made the bad decision to have two chicken pot pies for lunch.  Less than an hour after eating the delicious mixture of crispy crust, thick gravy, chunks of chicken and a few tasty peas and carrots, I was quarantined in the bathroom, gasping through the 'hold on until your knuckles are white' cramping of IBS.  (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

When I first began having IBS five years ago, I could still eat nearly everything I wanted to, whenever I wanted to.  Now, food has become the enemy.  Eating isn't safe anymore.  One of the very few things human beings require to keep living is fuel - food turned into energy.  I feel lost as to what to give my body when it repels and expels that which it needs, on an ever changing whim.

IBS is painful and frustrating.  When the first thing you look for in a new restaurant is where the restroom is located or when you're afraid to go out to eat in the first place because public bathroom pooping is sketchy at best, you realize this is changing your life.

Nobody wants to be in the bathroom at Walmart & live through the embarrassment of  nuclear butt explosions while some poor mother is rushing to wash her toddler's hands at the sink so they can get the hell out of there.

And then there is your family, waiting at the table to pay the check and leave while you're figuratively chained to a cold, leg numbing toilet until there's nothing left in your digestive tract.  You know that they're used to it, they understand and yet you're hunched over, tapping out apologies and SOS messages for more toilet paper on the only link with the world for the next half an hour, your phone.

When I was nine years old, my mother abandoned both my four year old brother and myself.  How does that relate to IBS?  Well, both are super crappy.  (Pun intended - humor gets me through.)  But seriously, I mention it because my mom and her sisters all have similar digestive problems.  This seems to be hereditary and it truly angers me that someone who couldn't be bothered to raise their own child has the ability to pass on something so awful to live with.

I know life isn't fair but there gets to be a point where you stand in the middle of a storm called Fibromyalgia, IBS and a bunch of other stuff and you say, "Why me?"  Genetics doesn't offer comfort, nor mercy.  Nor does a padded toilet seat.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Walk, Run or Swim.

I look at this picture and think about how we have to do anything we can to keep traveling through this thing called life.  Sometimes it's a leisurely stroll, other times we skip.  Now and then, it's a sprint of fear or a marathon of endurance and you win by keeping your head above water.

Monday, February 3, 2014

All I See Is Winter

I've always been a homebody.  Puttering around my house, cooking and cleaning, folding laundry or curled in a chair while playing on the computer or reading a book.  Home is my comfort, my secure place and I've never been one of those people that felt the need to travel the world and set it on fire.

This winter has been bitterly cold.  Day after day after day.  Not too long ago, Alaska was warmer than we were.  It's snowy and icy, treacherous not only to drive in but simply to walk from place to place.  All of that is good news for a recluse.  Though they didn't need an excuse to stay in the house, it still provides a good one.

As everyone knows, cold is not a friend to the Fibromyalgia person.  It quickly and without mercy debilitates us with excruciating pain and fatigue.  During the winter months, our view of the world becomes as narrow and square as the picture above. 

A window, two palms pressed against it until the cold seeps in through glass and we pull them away again, hands held over our mouths for warm breath as a wide, lonely gaze peers over top curled fingers, looking into the grey and the white for a hint of warmth to come.

By late January, even I, the homebody, the person with an illness, am desperate to feel the sun on my face.  I need to feel the warmth seep into my skin, brown it a little bit.  I want to twirl a circle and skip a few steps and watch the world around me explode with color once again as a new season is born.