So I Guess This Means I’m Healthy Now?: On the Psychological Transition from Being a Sick Girl to a Healthy One

You are sick for three and a half years. I mean really sick. No work, no school, no social life, nothing except sleep and doctors for three and a half years. Then, all of a sudden you are healthy. Not quite out of nowhere–this newfound health resulted from three pretty major operations, removing internal organs that were just not working as they were intended to.

But now you’re healthy, after, of course, the appropriate amount of recovery time after these operations. While this may be true physically, there seems to be a significant amount of lag time when it comes to you psychologically. I mean, what the hell do you do with this thing called health? You two haven’t been acquainted with each other in some time. Also, given your medical history, you are never, really, truly healthy. There’s always something lurking in the shadows. Just give it time, it will reveal itself and you’ll be back in the hospital with tubes, and wires, and needles, and nurses that just don’t seem to care all that much about you. You know this to be true. Deep down. Deep inside where all truths lie. So you just wait. Ever cautious for the warning signs.

And these signs, they do come, but then they go. No hospitals. No tubes. No wires or needles or nurses. “Must have been a fluke”, you say. And so you continue to wait. More warning signs. But no more hospitals.

Months, and months, and months pass. No hospitals. Not even any prescription stronger than an antibiotic. But you still can’t possibly be healthy. You are a sick girl, a broken girl, with broken insides.

Life begins to happen again. Life, in which you are actually able to participate in. You take trips, make plans for the future, real, solid plans. You even run in a half marathon!

So is this what healthy is like?
***

I became very ill back in 2011 and that lasted until March of 2014. I lost so much in that span of my life. I lost so much of what I worked so hard to achieve. When you go through something like that, you go through a mourning period. You mourn the loss of the life that you had. I went through this mourning period, and I still find myself mourning it from time to time. It is a part of the healing process.

When you lose so much, and your grief is so intense, you learn not to expect much. You learn not to look forward to anything good ever happening. Your grip, rather than becoming stronger, loosens on the things you love so that when the time comes for you to lose them, it won’t hurt so much. Your goals in life become less about commitment and are more like a fairy-tale. This way, when you don’t achieve your goal because you’re a sick girl living a broken life, it’ll be ok because it was more of a dream anyway.

This was my mentality for the past three and a half years, but now I’m working on embracing this new thing called, health, and I’m enjoying where it is taking me :)

Advertisements

Twenty-Nine Cents

I would like to preface this entry by saying that I am not a religious person. I have certain beliefs and understandings of the world, but they do not revolve around a character named Jesus Christ. I like Jesus. He’s a cool guy, and I do in fact enjoy studying the gospels (both those found inside and outside the Bible) from an academic standpoint. But I do not hold the belief that this guy cares at all about, well, anyone, let alone myself.
So when I ask myself, “What’s the point in all of this? All this struggle, all this pain?” The answer has nothing to do with Jesus. If I were a religious person, a Christian person, I could easily answer this question, and calm my worries with Jesus. But I’m not. And that type of answer does nothing to soothe my worries about life.
So here I am, sitting at my computer, wondering, what the hell the point is in all that I have lost in the last three years, all the pain, all the struggle, all the debt, everything. Is there something larger in the works, that I just can’t see yet? Is it a way to learn lessons? Is it to stop one potential career trajectory in order to start another? Was this honestly the best way for me to learn this stuff? There wasn’t say, a less serious, scary, way of learning these things besides letting me undergo multiple operations, and becoming in serious debt from tuition money wasted on an incomplete semester, an incomplete degree?
Or, does life just happen? The chips falling where they may? Was there something, an action, an inaction, that could have prevented all this happening? Or would it have happened regardless?
None of this really matters because it has happened. And I just have to learn how to get back up after everything.
It would just be nice to think that there was a purpose, a purpose that I could cling to for strength–for courage, but maybe there isn’t. This strength and this courage I must find within myself. The strength and courage to keep going.

My last post, was a dark one. I was in a dark place. I didn’t want to continue anymore. I thought, how wonderful it would be to just end.
nothingness.
silence.
freedom.
But I got through it.
I keep going. And keep going. And keep going.
Lots of awesome things have happened since my last post.
Lots of unfortunate things have happened since my last post.
Psychologically, I am pretty sound.
That took a while. Actually. But I’m in a good place now.
Physically, I am also doing really well.
That took a while too. But I’m good now. 10 months without hospitalization or operation. Kinda wonderful.
So, there is good mixed in with the bad, which makes the bad less suffocating.

That Dark Place

Where the silence is so loud it is hard to think. Where the pain is so alive it is hard to breathe, and where time is not consistent: hours can seem like just a few minutes and yet that minute can drag on and on for eternity.

I hate this place. But this is where I am. And this is where I’ve been for….well….I don’t really know how long anymore.

What’s my value?

Does being a sick girl–constantly going to doctor appointments, always having to remember to take medicine,  constantly in pain, somehow finding yourself in the hospital once every few months or so….for one thing or another–take away my value as a person?
Given the nature of chronic illness and what it can do to your body, mental heath, social life, etc., it is easy to find yourself believing your value is somehow tied to being well. And as a chronically ill person, being well rarely happens.
Continue reading

Life List Goal 01 (2013): Swim with the manatees

mmanateee

This post is 4 months late, but better than than never, right? I was waiting and waiting and waiting for the underwater camera pictures to be uploaded so that I could post some super awesome pictures with this post, but four months later , I still don’t have them. So I decided to write this post anyways because this memory is worth a post with or without those photos.

Swimming with manatees was the first thing that I crossed of my Life List. I looked forward to this trip for weeks and weeks. I scheduled this date the weekend before I underwent my second operation to reconnect my small intestine. I thought it would be the perfect time to achieve one of my goals because I knew it would be a while before I could achieve a second one.
Continue reading

Life List Goal 02 (2013): Finish Poem in Memory of My Grandfather

A Granddaughter’s Ellegy

1.

I pick up my grandfather’s ashes tomorrow

Alone.

And I want to turn to him;

To love him and to feel his love.

But I can’t. And he can’t.

But this is what I want.

2.

Silky white petals

fall

on the kitchen table

but no one notices,

and I miss

you.

The faint smell of lillies lingers

in the air

whispering of times spent and memories shared.

And I remember.

And I remember you, my dearest Grampy.

I remember you,

always.

3.

August 30, 2012, 5:30 am

ring ,ring, ring, ring…

… … …

365

Three hundred and sixty five days

have passed.

August 30, 2013, 5:30am

silence….

… … …

365

Three hundred and sixty five days

ago that phone rang.

And it rang and I knew,

and my heart knew

you were gone.

But you’re not gone.

365

Three hundred and sixty five days

have passed, but you’re still here.

You’re still here aren’t you, Grampy?

You’re here when I make pancakes–though not nearly as good as yours.

You’re here when our family sits down for ravioli dinner; I hear you demand, “Where’s the gnocci?” like you always do.

You’re here when I come visit; I hear you say loudly, proudly, “Megan’s here!” as I walk in the door, and I see you smile.

You smile, Grampy. I see it. I see it every time I smile too.

But 365

But three hundred and sixty five days have passed since that day you left, Grampy.

August 30, 2013, 5:30am

silence.

Twitter

image

I don’t understand twitter and I never would have imagined that I would ever sign up for it. But I did. And now I tweet. Lol. I’m still not sure exactly how it works, but I think I’m going to use it in conjunction with my blog. I’ll post blog update alerts on my twitter when I’ve written a new entry or something…. I still don’t really know the best way to use it yet. I guess like most things in life it’ll be trial and error. Anyways if you have one, follow me on twitter. :) My Twitter handle (I think that’s what it is called) is @MeganFreda 

Posted from WordPress for Android

…and then next thing you know you’re having a nervous breakdown at the bus stop

No one ever warns you, when you’re a child, that adult life is hard–like, really, really, really hard. The only semblance of such a warning comes in the form of, “Enjoy it while you can.”  And come on, what the hell does that mean?
Continue reading

Honored and Giving Honors

Back in May (looong time ago, I know), Heidi from Ostomy Outdoors awarded me with the Versitile Blogger Award. I was and still am so honored to know that my work on Living Life and Lovin’ It is actually being read, but more importantly appreciated. Heidi is so inspirational–she proves that there is life after ostomies (pretty awesome and active ones to boot). Read about her fun-filled ostomy adventures here. You can also find a link to her website under the tab “Other IBD Blogs and Websites” on my blog.

Image

In order to accept a Versatile Blogger Award, the following rules must be followed:

  • Display the award certificate on your website.
  • Announce your win with a post and link to whoever presented you with the award.
  • Present 15 awards to deserving bloggers.
  • Drop them a comment to tip them off after you have linked them in the post.
  • Post 7 interesting things about yourself.

I will present 5 Versatile Blogger Awards because I’m bad at following directions, and I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers are already displaying their Versatile Blogger Award proudly. The 5 blogs that I chose for this award are blogs that I follow regularly, and that I look to for inspiration or information or an escape.

The Homesteading Hippy: This is the first blog I ever “followed” and is the reason I began blogging myself. The Homesteading Hippy is a blog all about self-sufficiency. If you’re into gardening, baking, cooking, plants and wildlife then this is a blog for you! The Homesteading Hippy is FULL of very interesting and helpful information on anything and everything to do with homesteading. What I like most about this blog is that I can easily comprehend what the blog entries are about, and I feel confident that (with this blog as a resource) I can also become more self-sufficient. This blog has inspired many things on my Life List too!

Mama With No Colon: Mama With No Colon is one of my dear friends (though we’ve never met). We both went through our J-Pouch and total colectomy operations around the same time and have supported each other ever since. I love her to death! In her blog she writes about her experience with UC and operations. She speaks openly about her disease, her fears and struggles with this disease. She is a huge advocate for spreading awareness for ulcerative colitis. She just signed up for Team Challenge too!!!! I think that’s so awesome. Go visit her blog and give her some support :)

The Adventures & Misadventures of Mr. Stoma: Have an ostomy and need a laugh? Visit Mr. Stoma’s blog. This blog is written in the perspective of Mr. Stoma, a year old, ornery stoma and features original comics. Think bag leaks, blow outs, and a noisy stoma is crummy and embarrassing? Well, Mr. Stoma makes them hilarious. Go have a laugh at some of the entries.

Strangers In The Earth: Ever feel like jumping into a camper and traveling across the United States? Well, that’s exactly what Anna and her family are doing right now. They started their journey in May of this year and I think it is very awesome!!! The places they’ve traveled are so majestic and beautiful; I’m sure I’ll have to pay a visit to some of their destinations from this trip–they’re just that spectacular.

Genny In Peru: Genny is learning Spanish, enjoying the delicious cuisine, and immersing herself in Peruvian culture during this once in a lifetime adventure. Genny up and left it all back in Texas, USA to spend her entire summer living and discovering all the wonders of Cusco with her boyfriend and her boyfriend’s family. Check out her blog and you’ll be in awe of the beautiful photographs, and interesting stories of the heritage and culture of Peru.

Seven Interesting (Or Not So Interesting) Things About Me

1. I think astronomy is fascinating. I love looking up at the night’s sky; seeing if I can identify any of the constellations or planets. As a child my dad bought me a pack of glow in the dark stars to put on my ceiling as a gift for my birthday or Christmas or whatever holiday it was. My dad can sometimes get really absorbed with doing things like this, and somehow I ended up with a legit milky way going across my bedroom ceiling and walls. I bet we ended up with a million little stars on my ceiling. Oh, and it is still there–to this day.

2. My dream car is a 1967 Mustang convertible 

Yes, please.

English: 1967 Ford Mustang photographed in Mon...

1967 Ford Mustang  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3. As a child I struggled with learning how to read. My family bought Hooked On Phonics and  I was enrolle in remedial reading classes: while in school, I was taken out of class each week to be tutored how to read one-on-one with an instructor. Growing up I always feared being called on to read aloud in class because I was a slow reader. To this day, I still do not enjoy reading out loud with an audience. When Harry Potter was published in the US my grandmother bought my brother and me the first two books in the series. My brother (a year older than I am and much more brilliant) read them first, all the while I had little interest in them because I didn’t like to read since I was bad at it. Eventually I began feeling left out when my brother would talk about the books to his friends, so I eventually opened up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and it has changed my life ever since.  I wholeheartedly credit J.K. Rowling for my love of literature.

4. I have numerous interests in academia: Religion, Women and Gender Studies, Environmental Studies, Literature, Hebrew, and History all warm my heart.

5. When I have a lot on my mind I either open up a book, journal, or clean. Reading allows me to escape that which is on my mind, journaling helps me process it all, and cleaning allows me to focus and think deeply about it.

6. I can do a mean imitation of Dory speaking whale.

7. I have an obsession for television programs about the paranormal. I have no qualms about spending an entire day on the couch watching Ghost Hunters, Paranormal State, Psychic Kids, Destination Truth, or Paranormal Witness. But I also do not like scary movies and will not be caught dead in a haunted house during Halloween.

No poop in my pants

Last night was the first night since June 12th that I went to bed without wearing diapers, and drumroll please…….I did not poop in my panties. HOORAY Yay!  Whoopie!

You might be asking,   “What happened on June 12th?”  Well, readers, I had my takedown surgery!! IMG_2390

A takedown is the surgery patients have in order to go from being an ostomate to a J-Poucher. “Wait, what’s a J-Pouch?“, you inquire again. Oh! I’ll tell ya! Continue reading