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SparkPoints which Ulcerative Colitis tries to ruin my life.

Friday, February 22, 2013

I had a bit of a rough fall.

Okay, that's an understatement.

I randomly developed an autoimmune condition that landed me in the hospital for 11 days. I missed seeing Bruce Springsteen in concert with one of my best friends and our dads (money Ticketmaster refuses to refund because, in their opinion, I could have left the hospital against medical advice, and driven three hours to go to the concert. In other news, Ticketmaster are a**h***s.) I missed my paternal grandfather's 90th birthday party. I racked up $25k in hospital bills I can't pay because I'm uninsured.* I lost my job because I was too sick for too long. They put me on steroids that made me gain 35 pounds in two and a half months. I was *not* happy. And because life is one big cosmic joke, taking the weight off again has been an epic struggle. Nearly two months after my last dose, I'm barely down 15 pounds.

This is not to suggest I'm not working at it. I am working at it. Hard. I'd like to be back down to the pre-steroid weight before I leave for Europe in two months. Realistically, that's probably not going to happen with the muscle gain that's happening right now, but if I look at it from a more zen standpoint and address it as a body shape goal rather than a numerical one, it's manageable. I want to be less round when I go. I want to be one jean size less round. And I think I can actually do that.

I'm not swimming now that it's winter and I can't afford a gym membership. I'm not running because I have finally come to accept that I will never, ever like running. I have been trying for twenty years and I keep saying to myself 'if you keep at it, you'll learn to love it,' but I won't. I will always hate it. Because I've been trying for twenty years to love it and the marriage of my body and running is not a happy one. I have finally opted out. Instead, I'm hanging out with Shaun T., who I'm pretty sure is trying to kill me (in a good way). And I've got a new job (temporarily), so I walk the four miles round trip every day. Mercifully, getting there is much easier than getting back; I am not a morning person, so the fact that half the walk there is downhill is appreciated when it's 8 in the morning. I don't mind walking uphill on the way home.

I think I'm lucky in that after the first two weeks out of the hospital, I didn't have that much in the way of dietary restrictions. I'm eating everything I was eating before. Even hot sauce. And fruit. I'm not going to lie, I was really kind of scared those two things were going to have to leave my life. I'll admit that I went against my doctor's orders on the hot sauce in the first week and I have never regretted a food choice more. I have never really suffered from more than the very occasional, mild bout of heartburn. This time? This was agony. It was like someone was simultaneously forcing me to drink liquid metal and stabbing me in the back. That was the first and only time I didn't listen to what my doctor said.

Speaking of my doctor, he is amazing. I've haven't been much of a fan of doctors in this country -- which has everything to do with the fact that every doctor I've had in America has treated me like an ATM -- but there's a reason that the hospital where my doctor is based has a reputation for being among the best in the world. And while my doctor is obviously very good at his job, he's also got a great bedside manner. He gets gold stars all around.

So that's where I am. I broke into a lot of pieces and now I'm trying to put myself back together again. It's slow-going, and that's frustrating, but I'm doing what I can.

*I come from a country with socialized health care, but live in America now. My current situation is exactly why basic medical care should be provided to everyone free of charge. I didn't go to the doctor for three weeks despite serious digestive trouble and my joints swelling to the size of grapefruits because I couldn't afford it. By the time I saw someone about it, I was in such bad shape that I could barely stand up on my own.
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