Weakness

I can be known as a hardarse. My job requires it and to be honest, I relish having tough conversations – as long as they aren’t personal. In my profession, I thrive under pressure and do better when things are tough and shitty conversations are needed. I want to bust balls. I want grown men to shake in their boots (sometimes). I can’t help it. I get a sick satisfaction from it.

I think I get my no-nonsense attitude from my dad. Some of my fondest memories involve dad and his calm, tough demeanor. Dad is the type of man who when accidentally connecting a hand-held grinder to his nipple, instead of calling ‘tools down’ and getting to the nearest doctor or hospital, he simply grabbed some electrical tape, tapped the wound shut, finished the job and THEN made his way to help.

This is the same man who tried to remove a fishing hook from his hand for a solid hour or so before admitting he probably needed a professional on the job and allowing us to take him to the doctor. He didn’t get any pain meds, ‘what for’ was his response when asked if he wanted them, and kept the hook as a keepsake.

Now, you might think that he was doing this for some sort of ‘bad arse’ persona or status, but it’s classic Dad. He is a no-fuss, just get on with it kind of guy. He had to be. With a family to support and a business to run, Dad doesn’t have time for fuss. I love this about him and often admire the strength it takes to push through some rather painful situations.

I do think this attitude has rubbed off on me and up until recently, I saw people who whinged about being unwell as ‘weak’.

The whole, I can’t work today because I have a headache made me want to ninja kick people in the clunge and say ‘now you have something to whinge about you fucktard’. Take a fucking panadol and get on with it – I acknowledge that this makes me sound like a cold, unsympathetic arsehole. I tend to agree. But come on, a headache? Migraine, maybe. But a fucking headache – your taking the piss right?

I have spoken about irony a number of times and the role my delightful C-bomb plays and putting things into perspective.

Being sick, not I have a headache sick, but I want to take a knife and cut part of my body out – sick, takes a strength you can’t possibly imagine. There is no weakness in this type of sickness. In actual fact, I think it is reserved for the toughest of people.

I’m not tooting my own horn here – I still think I am on the milder scale of what this disease can make you endure – and my disease is ‘baby cakes’ compared to some others, but I have to say, my appreciation for anyone battling a disease has sky rocketed. I mean, put me on the Apollo and shoot me to the moon – because that’s how high my appreciation has gone.

There is no weakness in being sick.

The strength it takes to convince yourself to take another minute of a pain that nobody could possibly understand is likened to Thor being slapped in the face by that fire breathing monster his brother sent to neck him and still getting back up.

It takes guts. Real tough, not riddled with disease, guts to consciously decide not to give up. Your literally on your hands and knees, spewing your guts up and crying through your mascara and you have a choice. Give up and call time or muster every fiber of your being to fight. To find a strength you didn’t know you had, to fight your mind telling you to just call time, give up and sit down.

In the past, strength to me was something I discussed on the gym floor. I’d tell people that I can leg press 120-130kgs and they respond, wow your strong (have you seen these Italian thighs!). I used to take pride in this – hell yes, I’m a strong independent woman! I can lift weights with the best of them.

BULLSHIT.

Any monkey can train themselves to lift weights. This doesn’t indicate strength. Being down and out on your arse and choosing to get back up is where it’s really at.

Finding yourself wearing 3-day old vomit stained clothes, your boobs swaying in the wind, hair a matted mess, tear stained cheeks, eyes covered in crusty eye jam and the rankest breathe known to man and still deciding you have everything under control and can take on the world is where it’s at.

There is no weakness in being ill. In fact, I think it takes a strength like no other to roll with the punches your disease throws at you and choosing to get back up, time after time. I watched Creed last night and here is Apollo’s son getting punched in the face, punch after punch – he has a split eye, the other is closed completely, he is spitting blood and taking body shoots, Rocky’s threatening to call the whole thing off and I am sitting there thinking – ‘I know how that poor bastard feels’.

When people say they are sick, my first thought now is ‘I hope it’s nothing serious’. And I mean this. I want people to tell me they have a headache so I can offer a Panadol and ask if there is anything I can do so they can go home and rest. I want you to have nothing more wrong with you than a simple headache. In fact I want you to have nothing wrong with you at all.

And even if people are taking the piss – then so be it. The guilt they already feel for having to lie and do the fake ‘cough, cough’ is probably worse than anything anyone else could say or do and honestly, who cares. Sometimes we need a mental health day or better yet, the ability and freedom to say ‘nope, not adulting today, I am staying in my jammies and chillin’.

So I ask you, next time you hear someone mention they are sick – don’t meet that statement with anything other than compassion and ‘can I offer you a Panadol?’.

Mx

 

 

 

 

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The face

There are many faces – round ones, heart ones, oval ones, big ones, small ones, some as fat as your head.

And then there are the faces that I have become well acquainted with when I mention I have Crohn’s. I never considered people’s faces or reaction much in the past, but after delivering my news to numerous people over the past six months, I have become very attuned to reactions and as such, faces.

Expressions are a brilliant thing. They can let a person know in an instant what your thinking or feeling and I guess we see so many reactions and emotion pass over faces all day every day, you can sometimes forget the significance of them. Not to mention every man and his dog has had Botox so sometimes you need verbal confirmation of how someone’s actually feeling cause they are stone faced! This make things very confusing – hello Victoria Beckham?!?

She looks upset all the time… but she crawls into bed with David Beckham… there is no way that woman is upset half as much as we would think. He knows what to do with a ball, uber cool, has an accent and covered in bad arse tatts – not to mention his adorable social media pics with his daughter make women’s ovaries explode. Safe to say, Vicky is not upset, her face is just frozen.

I digress, so as I have been on this little ride I call life as I know it, I have started to take note of people faces and reactions to my C bomb.

They go a little somethin’ like this;

THE TRAIN WRECK FACE
You know how you watch a funny video of a person riding down a hill on a bike and you just know it’s about to end in disaster. You see the guy behind the handlebars trying to regain control and you see the moment he knows that he is going over the handlebars and inevitably face planting into the ground. Your face reacts to the tragic, laughable misfortune going from, part shock, part horror and you normally follow by ‘ooww’ when he finally impacts with the ground.

You can’t help it – your frowning, then your eyes are wide as you see it playing out, then your ‘oowwwing’ while frowning and grimacing and contorting your face in all weird ways – you can feel the pain the rider is going through.

That is the trainwreck face.

This face is the one I get from people that know what Crohn’s is, they have seen the shit show first hand or have detailed knowledge of what it involves. These people instantly give me the train wreck face – it say’s ‘shit, I’m sorry, what a mess’.

They are also the quickest to try and pull their face back into a neutral position as they know that the last thing you want to see is that face. The sympathy etched in features staring back at you is often just too much to handle.

I SMELT SOMETHING DODGY FACE
We have all been in a situation where we have smelt something foul. So foul in fact that before you know it, your screwing your face up trying to figure out where the offensive smell is coming from or worse yet, WHO dealt it. This face I actually make nightly in my house when Ned drops a silent fart and leaves the room.

The smell is so bad that the second the noxious gas leaves his behind, he doesn’t even wait around. He get’s the hell out of dodge before it burns all his nose hairs. I sit there with watery eyes while saying things like ‘what the fuck have you eaten’ or ‘Neeeeeddddddd you bad dog’.

My face contorts into an ‘awww, gross’ mass before I know it. This face involves frowning, squinting my eyes and even at times the neck muscles are engaged.

This is the face I get when someone is trying to figure out what Crohn’s means, they know it has to do with shit, but not really sure how, but they also know they don’t like it.

You watch as they move from ‘that smelt gross’ face to ‘I am genuinely confused’ face, then as you explain what it means and how it affects you, their face transitions through the ‘train wreck face’ stages before they are left unsure what to say or do, often landing on sympathy or worse yet, the next face – the puppy dog!

THE PUPPY DOG FACE
This is the one that kills me the most! Whenever we leave Ned at the house he gives me this look. His eye’s get a little glassy, his ears drop and I swear he actually frowns. It pulls my heart strings as I know my fur baby doesn’t understand why he can’t come with me. He considers himself a human (he is, trapped in a dogs body) and as such, wants to do all normal human things – like go everywhere with me. This look is devastating!

This is the same look I get from people who are genuinely devastated, on my behalf, when I say the word Crohn’s. You would think I had said, someone died.

This is the one that makes me come unstuck. The sympathy on the face of those that stare back at you is what cracks my walls and often has me deep breathing trying to fight back the tears.

I had this face yesterday from the most unexpected of people. Our General G.P, Dr H.

This was the guy who pushed for me to be seen by someone when he felt my stomach all those months ago and since then I have been on the Crohn’s roller coaster. We hadn’t seen each other in a while so when I told him I had Crohn’s his features softened, he tilted his head and asked me ‘how it was all going’. That genuine concerned look on his face killed me and before I knew it I was fighting back tears and trying to say the words that indicate I am okay (I wasn’t) and that I have it all under control (I don’t).

I can’t help but feel for those that hear news like this for the first time. I am living this horror story so for me and those around me, the stuff they hear or we talk about is nothing new and they are now immune to the crap (LOL) that gets thrown at us on a daily basis.

Sure, they went through the face-phases themselves at some stage, but now they give me a different face ‘the not this shit again’ or ‘haven’t they fixed you yet’. This one I love, it’s the face that says ‘I love you, but if you whinge one more time I am going to nut punch you’ – It’s my favourite face because it reminds me to just get on with it.

Sometimes we can’t do anything other then pick ourselves up, dust off and just keep on keepin on.

I’m so very blessed to be surrounded by people who don’t give me a face that will crack the external barriers I have built to stop myself from letting this disease get me down. These beautiful faces let me know it’s okay to fall, but it’s not okay to stay there.

Their face stares at me with a ‘I’ll wait while you pull yourself together but you only get minutes.’ I love their faces! And these faces are the ones that get me through the three others faces I experience often.

For now, our game face is on and we are back to kicking arse and rocking this shit, like the Crohn’s Crusaders we have become! Will it stay this way, probably not. But we will persevere and get through it.

Game faces on!!

Mx

Fear – The Stun Drug of Crohns

Fear, defined as;

An unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm

To be afraid of (someone or something) as likely to be dangerous, painful, or harmful.

When you hear someone talk about fear they often refer to being crippled by it, a debilitating sensation that renders them totally still. Stunned into inactivity.

I don’t fear much, up until recently I could list on one hand the things I fear.

Death. Now this I think is pretty common. Like, what happens when you take your final breath? Nobody can bloody tell me, because they’re dead! So the fact I can’t prepare for what comes next is annoying, not to mention the thought of having my body eaten by worms freaks me out! And the other option is to be cremated, but what happens if I magically come back to life and am stuck in the furnace?

Death is final and I think the finality is what scares me the most. I wont get a chance to do it again and I don’t know what is included in the here after. I hope I simply float up and sit on a cloud in the sky where I eat donuts and spend my days catching rays, but who actually knows? No one. And that’s my problem with death.

Moths. Those fuckers are dangerous and furry. There is nothing I fear more than one of those furry kamikaze mother fuckers trying to use my body as a landing pad for their disgusting little body. Not many people know this, but I worked as a cleaner for a 5 star hotel in Sydney. Every year we experienced the Bogon Moth Plague. This is where the winds change and moths can’t get out of the Sydney basin, so they borrow into every available space and stay there. My job was to vacuum the moths out of guest rooms before they checked in. These buggers are so determined to live, we would have to tie a shower cap over the vacuum head to stop them flying back out to be free and continue to raise terror on the residents of Sydney.

This was my personal hell and I am now deathly afraid of them touching me – I can look at them, but if one of them makes contact I want to unzip my skin and bust my skeleton out of the way. I HATE MOTHS! I fear their presence and instinctively end up holding my breath, praying to the heavens that they will avert course and stay away from me.

Disappointing people. It’s inevitable that we will, at some stage, disappoint people. This one may sound stupid, but there are a lucky few people in my life that I can not stand the thought of disappointing. These lucky few, are actually the people who, if I did disappoint them would probably be the most forgiving or loving – so this fear is almost unwarranted. Almost.

Hold on tight, this is going to get very personal – I have never, ever, not even once – said this out loud.

My dad. Disappointing my dad is my ultimate ruin. My dad is a quiet man, stoic, unwavering, solid, my rock. Even the thought of disappointing him in any way, freezes me in my place. Dad is not the type of person that would even raise his voice or say the words ‘I am disappointed in you’, so I acknowledge this is a ridiculous fear to have – but the place in my heart I hold for this man is so great, I never want to let him down. Dad and I aren’t fussy – we don’t do the sappy ‘I love you’s’ and all that jazz, we don’t need too, he knows how I feel and I know how he feels – but I couldn’t live if I knew at any point that I had let him down. So I don’t.

And that’s my list. Well at least, it was my list – until Crohn’s.

Crohn’s, like the herd of elephants running across the Sahara has thrown up the mother of all dust storms. The storm of fear.

Yesterday I had to sign a form. A simple piece of white paper that contained words, tick boxes, a place to sign, somewhere to write the date – just a simple form. A standard form, like all the other forms I have signed before.

And I was frozen in my seat. Stunned. Pen in hand. Crippled with fear.

I had to sign the form to get approval for the injection I need to help get my Crohn’s under control and despite all rational thought, I could not get my hand to move down towards the paper and sign my signature in the white box allocated accordingly.

I have been signing my name on forms for longer than I can remember. To the point where I don’t even need to think about what I am doing. I instinctively turn the paper at exactly the right angle, hold the pen in exactly the right position and effortlessly scroll it along the paper so my signature comes out perfectly. Simple.

And yesterday, I couldn’t do it. This form means more to me than I had realised.

All of a sudden I couldn’t stop the thought – what happens if this doesn’t work? Signing this form means acknowledging that my beacon of hope will become a reality and there is a potential it may not work. I know that the likelihood of success far outweighs the likelihood of failure – but when in the middle of my fear induced stun session all I can think is – what if this doesn’t work?

Will I be stuck in this holding pattern forever. Fear.
Will I be in pain on some level forever. Fear.
Will I be on this horrible steroid with its’s terrible side-effects forever. Fear

Stunned into inaction, pure gut churning fear. This is bigger than death, moths or disappointment. This is life. I can’t control the outcome. I can’t control if this will work or not. I can only hope.

And I am afraid. Hope can so quickly be taken away from you.

I hoped I would respond well to the medicine. I didn’t.
I hoped my colonoscopy would show improvement and healing. It didn’t.
I hoped my Crohn’s would get better and we wouldn’t need to apply for the injection. It didn’t.

And now, I hope that the injection will be the great solver of all issues and if it doesn’t do what I hope, then what? What happens then? I don’t know. And the fear of the unknown is what stops me from signing the form.

The great avoid-er came into play. I am the master of avoidance, when I need to be.

I avoid phone calls – mostly from the bank (guys, I am aware of my financial situation, please stop calling, I will continue to spend too much – let’s just agree to disagree on this one, okay?). I avoid food that is bad for me. I avoid people who annoy me. I avoid weighing in when I know I ate too much. I have been avoiding shit like an expert since the beginning of time.

But I can’t avoid the fear that coincides with the ride that Crohn’s has me on. I made a choice to put the form aside and wait – but I made a deal that I would allow myself 1 hour. That’s it. 1 hour of avoidance, before I pulled up my big girl panties (the fun pink ones covered in frills and flowers) and just got on with it.

And when that hour passed, I picked up that pen with the resolve of a toddler about to take their first steps and I signed that piece of paper with the same determination I have when avoiding those pesky phone calls from the bank.

I am choosing to hold onto that hope tighter than the fear. It’s still there and I doubt it will go away – but like those furry fuckers I sucked up in the vacuum, I tied a shower cap around the opening of my life vacuum to stop the fear crawling back out and touching me.

I resign myself to the fact that this is just one of the Crohn’s things I can’t control. And acceptance is easier than putting up a fight against a battle I will inevitably lose, I simply can’t know the unknown.

My list of fear may have grown, but so has my hope.

Mx

Am I saying too much?

When you’re talking about something personal, it’s hard not to wonder at what point you may have said or shared too much. When bearing your soul to people there is a fine line between sharing and exposing.

This week I had someone insinuate, in a joking manner, that I was very forthcoming in regards to my Crohn’s experience.

At first I laughed, flipped my hair over my shoulder with just the right amount of sass, altered my voice channelling my inner bogan and said ‘bitch please, you haven’t even heard the half of it.

My encounter ended and I went about my day. But later I got to thinking. That thinking turned to stewing. Stewing turned to annoyance. And then I skipped all other emotions and went straight to pissed off!

Let me set the scene.

For those that have seen Game of Thrones you know there are certain scenes that just stay with you. The one that fits my level of pissed off goes like this…

The mother of dragons heads down into a dark dungeon… at the beginning we don’t know why. As she approaches a figure comes into the light and we realize it’s one of her baby dragons. He’s huge and pissed off. You see, he went a little rogue and started eating things and setting stuff on fire and like all good mothers Kahleesi had no choice but to do the right thing and lock him away in the dungeon. She can’t have her baby dragon flying around, eating shit and setting towns on fire, right?

Now big baby dragon clearly doesn’t enjoy being locked away in the dungeon (let’s be real, if he had been a good dragon he won’t be there) so he opens his mouth and breathes fire all over the joint and you just know he is PISSED OFF.

This is where I was at by the time I had taken that simple comment and processed it. A total fire breathing dragon, mentally screaming;

HAVE I SAID TOO MUCH?!?

Hell-to-the-fucking-NO! I was furious and I will tell you why.

People don’t say enough. We walk around so censored or scared of ridicule, we tend to say less than half of the things we really want to.

When people bump into me on the train and don’t apologize I say nothing or just politely smile – what I want to say is ‘watch it dickhead’ or ‘oh no, don’t apologize fucktard’. I acknowledge that if I said everything I wanted at any given time I probably wouldn’t have many friends and may end up with a couple of black eyes, but still, I think it’s time we started saying more of the things that matter.

Ask yourself, would you know what the signs of Crohn’s, IBD or Ulcerative Colitis were? Or better yet, what the diseases even are?

I didn’t.

Let’s be honest, poo is not a great topic – anything poo related is generally steered away from. Nobody really wants to discuss the inner workings of their digestive system.

I have even considered changing the name of my blog as I questioned if it was too forward. It’s not attractive in the least and potentially stops people from embracing the important messages and words I put forth as the name turns my audience off – but you know what? It’s time to start talking about our bums.

I am declaring it – it’s time to start talking too much.

Poo, shit, bog, number 2’s, torpedo’s, Teflon non-sticks, faeces, logs – whatever you call it – it’s a natural part of life.

Parents celebrate when their child takes the critical first step of doing number 2’s in the potty – they celebrate the achievement like it’s a gold medal event at the Olympics. They post celebratory pictures on social media and award them gold stars (sticker) on the potty achievement score board. The heavens rejoice as their young child finally, finally reaches such a critical milestone. And then that’s it. The fan fair dies and the illustrious poo situation is very rarely brought up again.

Our bums and everything associated with it, is then very rarely talked about.

Did you know that a change in your poo situation that lasts longer than 3 weeks is considered a cause of concern? Yep, only 3 weeks.

I have gone from not even glancing a look at my offerings to the porcelain throne to studying the contents in great detail. I give myself a mental high-five when I do what I consider a good poo. My work wife now asks me daily if I have poo’d. And she genuinely wants to know the answer. You see now I have another problem, I am at risk of not pooing enough and getting an obstruction. If I get an obstruction I will likely need surgery. To avoid this, every night I have to drink a gentle laxative that makes sure my intestines and bowels are well hydrated so everything slips through – easy peasy lemon squeezy!

I recently discovered there is a poo appreciation Facebook page where you can share your happy snaps to show off the perfect poos – when I mentioned this to my fellow peeps they all cringed. Don’t get me wrong, I am not so delusional that I want to share my poo pics, but I love the freedom the poo appreciation follower feel that they can do that.

Prior to Crohn’s I would rarely consider what my body needs to go through each day to transfer my food from my stomach, through my system until the time the stuff I don’t need is expelled.

Even in hospital they use words to desensitise the situation, like ‘evacuation’ – I remember the first time I heard the term and was genuinely confused.

Amanda have you evacuated today?
Um, no – did I miss the warning alarm? Was something on fire or was it just a drill?
No dear, have you gone to the bathroom?
Oh!

I am in a place where people are dealing with much more serious issues than whether or not they have gone to the bathroom and even the nurses are using words to ‘sugar coat’ what they mean to say. What hope do the rest of us have?

I now face things that I never considered before, every twinge means something and like an archaeologists on a historic dig, it is my job to dig deeper and figure out what it means – is it a trip to the hospital, can it be solved with medication or does it require a call to the big guns.

After my epic mental meltdown I have decided that not saying enough far outweighs saying too much.

I want people to be informed.
I want people to know what to look for.
I want people to discuss the uncomfortable issues – bums, boobs, tums – without embarrassment.

And I want people to know that they don’t even know the half of it. There is so much that goes on internally and externally that I don’t share. I can’t – because I am embarrassed. I admit this seems hypocritical, but some things are best left unsaid and maybe in a year’s time I won’t feel them same – but right now there are some cards that I CHOOSE to keep close to my chest. One day I may want to talk about those things and if I felt it would benefit someone then I would.

In the meantime, I ask that you stop and take notice of what is going on with your body. We only get one and may not be lucky enough to treat something if you ignore the signs. But more than that, I encourage you to talk about things that are going on… If not with your loved ones, then your doctor.

And if you come across someone that doesn’t want to listen or you’re afraid of broaching an embarrassing situation then come to me! Call, text, write, Skype, Snapchat, Facebook, carrier pigeon the damn words if you need too – but be assured that you can talk to me about it.

And¬†whatever you do, don’t stop saying too much!

Mx

My Bad

I have always been what I would call ‘good’. I never gave my parents more than the normal level of trouble when I was growing up. I adhered to curfew, served my time when punished and avoided drugs when I got older. Overall, I would classify myself as a good person.

Having said that, I have harbored a dirty little secret for a long time…. I am addicted to the thrill you get right before you do something bad.

There is a brief moment right before I do something I know I shouldn’t, where my heart rate spikes, my cheeks flush, the adrenaline pumps and a slow smile creeps onto my face because I know I am about to do a bad thing and I am loving it.

Crohn’s has taken this sensation to a whole new level.

This week has been hell. I have been busy, stressed and have so many balls in the air I am literally busier than a one legged man on a tight rope. The shit show circus is in full swing and I am barely hanging on. I normally relish this type of stress, it helps me function. I normally love when I am right on the edge of busy and overwhelmed. But this week, it’s all a little too much.

The increase in steroids has me feeling gross and agitated. The agitation has me being antagonistic and more feral than a homeless cat looking for a mouse to gobble up. On top of all this I have PMS. It is literally the perfect shit storm of events – and yesterday it turned into the mother of all tornado’s.

After a rushed day where I literally moved from one thing to another without stopping, I finally had a moment to breathe and had to tackle some wedding stuff. This led to hubby and I having an argument. We very rarely argue, but when we do – its epic. Now, I would never admit this to anyone else, but I was probably fixing for an argument and being the adorable peach he is, hubby stepped up to the plate to take me on.

We did the usual – insult throwing, followed by name calling, veering off to bring up old historic shit that was totally irrelevant before careering into silent treatment. All in all, a successful fight. This is where we would normally stew and give it the appropriate couple of hours before apologising for our respective behaviour and making up with a cuddle.

But with the steroids coursing through my veins and my devil alter ego on board, that was never going to be enough. So I decided to just really take it to the next level and be bad.

In my opinion, no argument is complete without a door slam – problem is there is only one door in our house that you can actually slam to get the desired result. The front door. Now, my plan wasn’t well thought out when I decided that I would announce I wasn’t staying in the same house as hubby and proceeded to march out the front door, slamming it on my way.

Feeling very satisfied with my efforts, I marched to the car, got in and quickly realised I had no where to go. Yep, no where to go! Again, I admit this plan probably wasn’t given the thought it deserved.

With no real idea what I was doing I decided to keep my naughty streak going and diverted my car to the one place I know I shouldn’t go. The one place that is so bad for me, it’s worse than a drug addict walking into a crack house. The one place that has the ability to bring me to my knees and cripple me.

KFC.

The Colonel was calling my name. I love fried chicken. I believe that I was born in the wrong country, I should have been a southern belle with a Texan accent, because my love for fried chicken runs so deep I swear I should be wearing a bonnet and calling myself Arabella!

I steered the car towards the red and white bucket and that thrilling feeling started at my toes, the closer I got the more it built and I knew I was going to do a bad thing. I arrived in the carpark and stopped to allow for a reversing car. While waiting I dropped the window in preparation for my arrival in the drive through and then it hit me. The smell.

Normally the smell of fried chicken sends my tummy into a fit of butterflies – today it had my stomach plummeting. My mouth started to water and I started to stress. My normal sensations were all over the place – NO. We love fried chicken.

My mouth started to water more and the heavy swallowing that you normally experience before your going to be sick kicked in. What the fuck is happening here?!

A car beeps behind me and I start to slowly move forward. The closer I get to the drive though entrance, the sicker I start to feel and then that ugly little bastard poked his head out of his box and started to ‘flutter’.

Fred was here. Quickly detouring and parking the car I sat there for a second to gain my wits. And that’s when I realised, my body was revolting against me. It knew I was about to be bad and send it some deliciously greasy chicken and it wasn’t having any of it. The two times I have eaten KFC since my diagnosis have been disasters.

First time, I ended up in a bathroom for ages while my friend had to keep herself occupied.

Second time, I made it through a couple of bites before I ended up in pain on the floor – this was the same night my family had to come to my aid and I mentally cracked it.

Now this.

I started to cry (yep, I am still doing that apparently) and when I realised why, I felt like I had been struck by lighting.

You see, every time I get out of hospital or come off the back of a flare, I want KFC. My friends and family think this is weird, because I try to avoid bad food.

My grandmother died from bowel cancer and I remember a lot of what she went through in the lead up to her passing – it was horrible. One of the happy things I remember was that after her chemo treatments, she would request KFC. Nan hardly ever ate bad food, she always made meals – good old fashion cooking. Her requests were always granted and despite the fact she would inevitably end up really sick, I would watch as the devilish smile crept onto her face as we dipped our chicken and chips in potato and gravy and shared a cheeky look, because just like me – she loved that fried chicken!

So I cried. There in the KFC carpark. Because I knew I couldn’t eat the fried chicken like I wanted. I knew I had to go home and apologise for being a bitch. I knew I was wrong (this hurts the most out of all of it). But most of all, I knew that Hubby would be the bigger person and say sorry first and he would comfort me because he knows I am having a tough week.

I didn’t tell him about the chicken. He found me making eggs and toast in the kitchen when he got back from getting his own dinner and like an arsehole I continued the silent treatment for a while longer.

He did exactly what he always does and made me feel better, despite the fact a lesser man would have chucked the towel in. He rolled with my punches and absorbed my mean blows.

Today he gave me a kiss goodbye and announced that despite looking tired (I’m exhausted) I was still the most beautiful woman in the world. All was right again.

I’m still grumpy and agitated. I still can’t sleep properly. Fred is still not feeling that great and I still have all those balls in the air (how, I don’t know). And despite yesterday’s disaster, I am still not giving up on my fried chicken.

I don’t think there will be much of it in my future and I doubt I will even be able to stomach more than a couple of mouthfuls, but even thinking about it makes my toes tingle and that sensation of being naughty is enough to give me the hit I need until the next time I can be really bad.

Mx

 

 

Patient Patient

When I was in college we spent a couple of sessions on the seven heavenly virtues. The one that I always rolled my eyes about was ‘patience’.

Patience is;

Forbearance reflecting moderation. Building a sense of peaceful stability and harmony rather than conflict, hostility, and antagonism; resolving issues and arguments respectfully, as opposed to resorting to anger and fighting.

Showing forgiveness and being merciful

The others I totally got – kindness, humility, charity, diligence, temperance and chastity. These virtues resonate with me. But patience, not so much.

Being the arsehole I am, when asked about patience I would respond ‘it’s not a virtue I am acquainted with or wanting to acquire anytime soon’. I acknowledge that this was a dick move and like all checks and balances, the universe is now giving me the big fuck you and middle finger salute.

I literally have no choice at the moment, but to be – god forbid – patient. I am the patient, patient.

In a world where you can have dessert delivered to your doorstep in less than an hour, a new dress ordered and delivered to you 3 hours later and can order your coffee so it is ready and waiting whenever you deem fit, I am being subjected to the ultimate waiting game.

Apparently you can’t just take a pill when sick and get better. You can’t receive approval for a fancy drug just because you need it, you have to wait and show a history of due diligence to PROVE that you need it and this all takes time.

I am a busy woman. I have shit to do. Literally!

I am a child of the millennium, I have everything at my finger tips and don’t wait for anything. If I want something I get it, I make the arrangements or work for what I want, but I get it. I don’t wait for no-one. *snaps fingers*

OH HOW THE MIGHTY FALL.

My arsehole attitude has come back, slapped me on the arse and said ‘giddy-up bitch’ this is going to be great. Sit down and wait.

I am quickly learning that everything takes time, particularly when it comes to your health. If your not waiting for results or diagnosis, your waiting to see the people who are responsible for the results or diagnosis.

If your not waiting for them, your waiting for the time to pass so you can go and have the scheduled tests that give the results or diagnosis that the person delivering the results or diagnosis needs for the meeting that you have scheduled to get the results or diagnosis. Does your head hurt yet? Mine too.

Meanwhile, this waiting game is testing you to your core. I don’t want to wait. I want to get better now, know the outcome now.

I’m the woman who reads reviews to know what happens at the end of books. I started watching Riverdale this week and needed to know what was going to happen so bad, I wikipedia’d the episode synopsis (Hubby, I am sorry, please forgive me – I couldn’t help it), and despite that I can’t wait to see it play out. I do the same with movies – I just have to know. I can’t wait.

Since being diagnosed with Crohn’s it’s all I seem to do. Wait. Wait.Wait.

The shrink said something very poignant last week;

“This is a relatively new diagnosis, it been about 6 weeks, that’s not really very long”

Hmm… interesting thought.

I get paid every 4 weeks and let me tell you, there is nothing longer in the world than that last week before pay day. It’s longer than a walk across the Sahara desert without food or water, carrying a camel, with one arm and leg tied behind your back!

So when you consider that the amount of time I have known I have Crohn’s is only slightly longer than one pay month, it isn’t really that long. Yet, it feels like I have been waiting for one thing or another – forever.

Reality; it’s not.

The shrink was great not because he gave me any mind blowing insights or answers but he challenged my thought pattern and politely said ‘calm down sister – give yourself a break, this is new’. I quickly realised that because I never really have to wait for anything, the fact that there is waiting time involved in wading through the waters of dealing with a new illness, your perception of time is screwed up.

This waiting game is the equilvent of the wait for Christmas or your birthday – as a child I would count down the days and each passing moment felt like forever and to add insult to injury, it would pass in the blink of an eye. The adult equivilent is waiting for 3pm on a Friday to roll around so you can drink yourself into a coma without judgement. Nobody is judging you because everybody at the well, like you, has been waiting for that hand to strike 3 since 9am Monday. Too bad drinking sends Fred over the edge kicking and screaming like a meth addict missing their hit. #alcoholwasmyfriend #fredyoubastard

So what’s a girl to do?

Well, nothing. I have been re-enrolled in school. The school of patience. I don’t want to attend, I foresee a heap of detentions, timeouts, couple of tantrums and some uncomfortable conversations with the principle (aka Hubs – it’s already started). It’s beyond annoying and frustrating!

But like everything else with this bloody disease, I’ve been stripped of my choice. I’m going to stick with the shrink and he is going to give me some ‘tools’ to help manage the frustration around waiting – I’m hoping it’s a Thor hammer that I can just smash shit with, but I have a feeling it’s more ‘happy mind tools’ – and we will see how that goes.

Crohn’s has won this battle for now. It has played it’s 8 letter word, on triple letter score, twice and I am still trying to arrange my bloody tiles on the rack. Well played Crohn’s, well played.

Lucky for me, I love a good game and patience is one I am about to excel at. Well that or scrabble.

Mx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mind Games

I love anything that challenges my mind. I recently took up Sudoku, and despite being about 2 years too late to the party, I love it. What I also love, is that when you get really stuck you can flip to the back of the puzzle book and check that your putting the number in the right spot so you don’t totally fuck it up.

Crohn’s is nothing like this.

I have finally relented and booked a visit to the head doctor. Not because I have tipped over the edge completely, but I want to get on the front foot and ensure my mental health is good. And let’s be honest, a shrink is a glorified ‘friend’ that you pay to listen to you and because you’re paying them, they have to listen. Even better, they then have to give you handy tips to handle the little games our mind likes to play.

This wasn’t any easy decision to make, because there is a level of angst involved as you have to stop and say, maybe I need to engage an expert for this one. I go to the dentist for my teeth, have a PT for my health, a physio for my body – so why not a shrink for my mind.

The moment I realised I may need someone to help me wade through the mental shit storm was after my editor in chief read my last blog.

We have been BFF’s since the days where bleach blonde perms were cool and green skater skirts were our daily uniforms. We wore ill fitting bra’s and were more concerned with school yard politics than actual politics. Given the length of our friendship you can imagine that when said BFF made the comment;

“I don’t think I have ever seen you cry before and I have a few times now in the last month..”

It was a bit of a light bulb moment and she isn’t wrong! Up until a couple of months ago I would avoid criers like the plague. If someone around me was crying I would make like a damn ninja and get the fuck out of there. I don’t know what to do with criers. I never know what to say and it generally made me uncomfortable.

I would literally behave like one of those non-kid people when a parent is trying to hand them their child. You know the ones that make a face like they are in pain and try to back away from the screaming child, but the parent just keeps dangling the kid in front of them, waiting until they relent and hold the screaming monster. That was me, with criers.

One of my favourite people, who we will call Little M, is a massive crier. Pre-crohn’s she came into the office, I took one look at her and knew something was off. Her eyes met mine and straight away my flight instinct kicked-in as I realised she was in fact crying and I needed to get away, quick. The latest douche had done something shitty and now here she was in front of me, crying. I turned and said ‘I’m going to make a tea, you want a tea’… Now she thought I was being nice, I wasn’t. I was trying to get the hell away from the tears. I was unprepared for the leaking salt water that is harder to stop than waves on the sand.

A couple of months later, after another incident, she cries again. Although more well versed in this whole leaking eye-water thing, I am still caught off guard. So I went with brutal honesty – “I need you to stop crying. It’s not an emotion I am comfortable with and despite my love for you, I will leave your arse right now if you don’t”. She laughed at me and declared that she loved me too. Crying stopped – PHEW!

Fast forward to any moment in the last 6 weeks and you can guarantee there have been tears. But this time, they’re mine.

That’s right people, I have become a crier. Worse still, I have become a crying HUGGER. Ah ha! Not only has Crohn’s fucked my intestines – It has done something to my damn heart and turned me into a crying, snuggle pot, koala bear.

Now when I cry or when someone cries with me, we hug. Again, not something I have ever been inclined to do. Particularly, because I am freaking crying and hugging everyone.

My darling, beautiful natured work colleague read my last blog and came up behind me at my desk and gave me a hug announcing that she wasn’t going to say anything she just wanted to give me a hug. Next thing we are hugging and crying like total loonies in our office. Look over at little M and she is bloody welling up and the crazy show continues.

I am the women that avoided watching Marley and Me for 10 years! 10.whole.years! Because I knew the dog died and one thing I can’t witness without crying is a dog dying, even if it’s just in a movie. So I never watched it.

I am the woman who is marrying a crier – Hubby, loves a good cry and he is manly enough to embrace it. I make reference to his tears in our vows for god sake.

I am the women that when confronted with a little person who is heartbroken, crying because their favourite toy is broken, can handle the situation like a total boss, transforming those tear to laughter.

And that’s all gone.

I am now, one of them. My damn crying mechanism has been engaged and now I can’t get the bloody thing to turn off. It’s like someone has flipped a switch in my brain and I cry at everything – this included happy, sweet things.

It’s doing my bloody head in!

Crying when in pain, I am okay with. Sometimes it hurts so bad, the tears just happen and I think it’s more a way for my body to release the hurt…But the other crying is wigging me out!

I hear a beautiful song and I well up. I see a cute couple having a moment and I well up. I see a card for mother’s day and I well up. Not to mention if someone is sweet to me, I all out ugly cry! I need my own bloody kimoji at this rate.

So I think it’s time to level the playing field. Clearly my mind is playing games on me and trying to throw a spanner in the works – that’s fine, but I’m going to engage an expert and figure out if this is a long term change or something that is just a bit of a phase.

If it’s a long term thing, everyone better get their Kleenex ready and be prepared for me to start full-body, arms, legs, total person assault hugging. It may very well be our new future…you have been warned!

Mx