Self Care Sunday – Self Care Isn’t Always Pretty

Self Care Sunday

It’s Self Care Sunday. I hesitated in writing this post. I usually like to write positive posts that are reflections of how to take care of your body, mind and spirit for holistic wellness. However, today I feel like a failure. I am just not sure what is the best way to take care of myself.

After thinking about it, I decided to write this post in complete honesty and share what is actually happening to me today. Hoping to show that self care isn’t always fun or pretty. Make choices about self care can be stressful. Just because I went to school to be an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach doesn’t mean I have all the answers. Nor does it mean that I am perfect and always make the right choices. So here’s what’s happening…

I have a congenital heart arrhythmia that has been stabilized for seven years because I quit smoking, lost 65lbs, started exercising and stopped drinking alcohol. My EKG is UGLY. It looks like I’ve had heart attacks on my EKG. However, it hasn’t changed since 2011 which means it is stable. I am proud of myself for making hard choices and changes to make my heart stronger. I tell you this background information about my heart because it is related to what has been happening to me lately.

I’ve had gastrointestinal problems my entire life. I had Liver damage after a bad bout of Mono when I was 21 years old. I didn’t drink alcohol for six months just after turning 21 because of the Liver issues. I had my Gallbladder removed when I was 30. I flat lined under anesthesia during that surgery; I was brought back. I ended up in the hospital for four days when I was supposed to only be there for only six hours. Since that event I need Cardiac Clearance for any procedure that requires that sedation. This is playing into my current issue.

After having continued gastrointestinal issues, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2012. At that time I had substantial damage to my stomach and Liver again. My Liver completely healed and is healthy. However, I now have a chronic form of Gastritis. It flares up when I do not watch my diet, when I am exposed to Gluten or when I am extremely stressed out. The Gastritis was stabilized for three years. I had only minor flare-ups that lasted only 3 or four days. I was able to get them under control quickly. Unfortunately, in April of this past year my best friend died while I was stuck in boot with a broken foot. This also happened while I was only two months into a new job and getting ready to graduate from school. The stress got the best of me. I also know for a fact I ate Gluten by accident. Anyways, I had a pretty severe Gastritis flare-up from the end of April through mid-May. My doctor told me we could hold off on the scope but I would need to have the Upper Endoscopy if it flared-up again.

I was feeling pretty good for a few weeks. Until early last week when the gnawing pain returned. I also had to go on a road trip to Hampton, VA for work. Although I had stomach pain, I went on the trip anyway since I knew it was probably just a Gastritis flare-up. I probably could have gotten out of the trip but I went anyway. The trip was good. It was very successful. My travel companions were really nice. Work-wise it was great experience. I am glad I pushed through it and went. My team is planning on going back in late September. I am pretty sure I am skipping that road trip. The faculty of the school we visited will be at the same conference I am attending in DC in mid-September. I can meet with them independently there. There is no reason for me to go back to Hampton for the technical interchanges. I’ll leave that to my PhD coworkers.

So, here I am doing everything I know to do to get this flare under control and it is not getting any better. It seems to be getting worse. I called my doctor on Thursday morning before leaving for Hampton. He told me I needed the scope and I needed new Cardiac Clearance before he did it. I called my Cardiologist office and found out my Cardiologist retired in June 😱 I technically do not have a Cardiologist and none of his colleagues will give me clearance for the scope without a full Cardiac workup. Actually, I am not upset about that. It’s safer for me that way. Since the pain and Gastritis is centered around my left breast, we need to be 100% sure it isn’t heart related. I really do not believe it is Cardiac related. My symptoms are pretty typical of a Gastritis flare-up. I am not really even drinking coffee. Now, you now my tummy is bothering me if I can’t drink more than 8oz of coffee. The full Cardiac workup just delays the Upper Endoscopy by two or three weeks because the new Cardiologist couldn’t fit me in until July 20th!

So, here I am very symptomatic, in pain, and I am supposed to take a small plane to DC for a 45 minute meeting tomorrow with my Sponsor at 3pm in the afternoon. I WANT to go! I was looking forward to going to this meeting! I am enjoying this job and this new role. I like the work I am doing. I am learning from my Program’s Sponsor. I like her. I want to go on the one day trip. However, I am not sure my body is 100% up to it. Do I push through the pain, get on the plane and hope for the best? Or do I give in – call and tell them I am not feeling well, I don’t feel comfortable flying and request to call into the meeting instead? I asked my Mom this question morning. She said, “I can’t answer that for you honey but I can say you already know what is the best thing for you to do. You just don’t want to surrender to it because you always push yourself though stuff.” She’s right. I don’t want to surrender to my fucking body again. Give up something I want to do because my body isn’t up to it – again. It’s so fucking frustrating. I try so hard to be well.

My new Group Manager is already aware of my health issues and offered to accommodate me however needed. He said I am doing such a great job even with my health issues that I should not worry about asking for accommodations. I am pretty sure my Sponsor would understand that I am not feeling well and can’t fly. Especially considering I always say “YES” to every other request and opportunity. The pressure I am feeling is coming from within myself because I am so fucking frustrated with my body and these health issues. Every time I take a step forward, it pulls me back. It’s really disheartening. Honestly, I would never take my own life but I am very weary of having to fight this hard for wellness. I just don’t even care anymore. I really don’t and I am not even sure why I am fighting so hard for this life anymore.

So there you have it. A Self Care Sunday post that is depressing and filled with stress and frustration. I am admitting that everything I am doing to take care of myself isn’t working right now while I am sitting here trying to make a decision about tomorrow. Another Sunday ruined by my traitor body. I am letting myself be sad today. I will mostly likely be sending an email as soon as I wake up tomorrow stating that I could not get on the plane. As I told you, Self Care isn’t always fun or pretty; sometimes it is down right frustrating.

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