The past week or so has not been my favorite.
It’s been frustrating dealing with this flare-up over the past month (longer, actually — time flies when you’re in the bathroom).
After going to the doctor, all my bloodwork came back normal. In theory that’s a good thing, but it’s actually frustrating! Doctors like numbers they can analyze. It’s why they make you rate your pain, which is an activity that always seems impossible. (I don’t want to seem dramatic but also don’t want to totally diminish my pain! Life is hard.)
I wanted to be able to point at my results and say, “Look! My iron levels are sickly low. I’m anemic! That explains why I’m so tired and can’t run and am useless and refuse to walk up hills, stairs, or sidewalk curbs.” Instead, everything was within the normal ranges.
I was scheduled for a colonoscopy this past Tuesday, which would hopefully reveal where the disease was located and where the inflammation was hanging out, and then we could discuss how to proceed. Because it’s gotten pretty bad. I get anxiety every time I leave the apartment. And that makes it worse.
Imagine my joy when I called Monday morning to confirm my procedure the following day — after I had started prepping — to find out that while the receptionist had written down my appointment for me, she had not, in fact, scheduled it in the system. Fun fact: writing something on a Post-It doesn’t make it exist in real life.
So. Monday was not my best day. I was at my most unpleasant.
But on Tuesday I would be cleansed and I would get answers.
Thanks, receptionist. And also thanks for not apologizing!
I have not rescheduled my colonoscopy. Here’s why.
Because I think I know what’s wrong with me. I think this flare-up is solely because I am perpetually worked up lately — “excitingly, excitingly busy” — and my body is reacting accordingly. Science.
Stress manifests itself in your body, as all the Googles tell us, and it’s evident beyond my colon. My skin is a mess, I’m not sleeping well, I’m exhausted, and I’m just not my usual, happy self (everyone at November Project this morning who, despite my smile and college-themed outfit, kept asking, “Are you OK, Feller?”).
My favorite yoga instructor, Bethany told us recently that sometimes it’s OK to “embrace the suck.” That when life isn’t going our way, it’s OK to not power through all the time, and to just let things be shitty for a while.
So I did, for a few days at least.
Eventually I sought out some people to talk to, and I asked myself, “What’s stressing me out? That’s what I have to change.”
Mainly, I’m stressed about being sick! That’s the big one! Funny how that works. Even without the fevers and other side effects, this flare is still knocking me down in a major way. I’m in the bathroom constantly.
Work can be stressful, too, of course. Being freelance and not having a steady income means making great money one week, then spending the next three chasing down payments from flaky companies. I’m definitely still adjusting to this new-ish role and its demands.
Then there’s wedding planning. You can roll your eyes all you want and tell me “wedding planning should be fun!” but I am attempting to plan a party in New York City for almost 200 of my closest friends. And while I know the day is going to be incredible, and that yes of course the only thing that matters is marrying Brian (yay!), I also want my friends and family members to have a nice time.
Even without going crazy with flowers or decorations (we are literally “decorating” with vases filled with red and pink Starburst because I like those more than I like flowers or paper lanterns), it’s still a big party with a lot of logistics involved; a lot of vendors we’re working with, few of which respond to emails in a timely manner (seriously, WTF). Plus, the three most important people in the world — the Pope, President Obama, and Beyoncé — will all be in the city the weekend of the wedding. So road closures, logistical nightmares, and all that jazz!
And the dress thing. That was not my favorite day.
No, these are not bad problems to have. Yes, I feel like a brat being stressed about things that are not all that bad. I’m not an asshole, and I know life could be much worse. Life is good — but that doesn’t mean you don’t still want a break from it sometimes.
I chose to go freelance and I really do love it, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. And hell yeah I’m pumped about the wedding! But I still need to plan it to make sure it actually happens, and there are many moving parts, and I am not a full-time wedding planner with time and resources to devote to these things.
So tomorrow, instead of getting a colonoscopy or attempting to go for yet another frustrating run filled with 12 bathroom stops — and instead of trying to put on a happy face and try to pretend I’m “fighting” this damn disease — I’m fleeing for a bit!
At the encouragement of Brian, who “wants to spend the rest of our lives together, but needs me to at least make it to the wedding for that to happen,” I am headed up to the Berkshires for a weekend-long yoga and wellness retreat.
Totally crunchy and granola and, despite my love for yoga, totally out of my comfort zone. I’m going alone, and I have no idea what to expect.
But I know I won’t have much, if any, internet access. I know I won’t be on Facebook in between sessions, and I’ve moved all my work deadlines to today to make sure I don’t have to check in. I’m even bringing a real paperback book with me! I won’t be tracking down wedding RSVPs or answering questions about where to park if roads are closed because of the Popemobile or following up with the caterer again.
I’m taking a break.
For real this time.
My thought is that if I give my mind and body a break for once, they will thank me appropriately with a pain scale rating of zero.
See you on the other side! Namaste!
(PS Lots of love to my fellow Crohn’s friends who have reached out to say “I flared when I was planning my wedding, too!” I love you. Thanks for understanding. Not everyone does!)