Coming to terms with my recent ulcerative colitis diagnosis is a constant struggle. On my best days, I feel like I can handle anything but on the worst days when I’m flaring and the symptoms are at their worst, I feel demoralized, defeated and just want to stay in bed near the bathroom.
Right now my symptoms are all over the place. I don’t have the extreme bleeding, pain and weight loss that I did a year ago but I still struggle a lot with fatigue, nausea and incontinence. I try not to worry about the big meds and the big hospitalizations, but it’s hard not to think about that possibility when I connect with the online IBD community.
I have to trust that God is in charge of the big picture and if anything major happened that my son with special needs will be cared and provided for.
When life hands me lemons, I try to remember what I can be grateful for, starting with the unconditional love and support I receive from my husband and kids. I’m also really grateful that healthy shopping options have bloomed in my area and I don’t have to drive more than ten miles to get the nutritious foods I rely on for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet such as almond flour, medjool dates, free range chicken and eggs, bananas and peanut butter. Seriously, these are my 5 major food groups many days!
Thanks to social media, I know that I’m never alone.
These recent posts on HealthCentral reminded me to never give up and never stop fighting.
Things can and do get better. I suffered for years and I never thought I would get to a point where my day-to-day life wasn’t unbearably painful. Yet here I am, in remission, thanks to my hospital and medication. Keep fighting and trying different things to improve your health, as one thing that might not work for someone else could work for you!”
— Rebecca Allan, UC patient since 2016
“Every minute, every hour, every day that passes brings you closer to your goal. Closer to healing. Closer to living. Stay strong, fight hard, and look forward to tomorrow! Your journey starts with the first step. Be brave. Keep moving.”
— Sarah Henning, UC patient since 2007
It’s a daily battle for me to stay positive and not get bogged down with anxiety, worry and negative thinking.
One of my favorite stories that I go back to time and again is the old Cherokee story about two wolves.
One evening, an elderly Cherokee brave told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, “my son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is good. It is joy, peace love, hope serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”
The grandson though about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “the one that you feed.”
“Don’t feed the bad wolf” has become an important mantra in managing my mental health. Every day I have a choice to do things that feed my spirit, to eat the right foods and guard my energy output.