I don’t like to think about it.
But I have a big cyst on my pancreas. It’s apparent that chronic pancreatitis is what caused it to grow. It’s freakin 7cm. It was already drained by a special procedure in April this year. After waiting for several months after the initial ultrasound, I finally found out for sure in May that it wasn’t considered to be a cancerous cyst. Thank God! However, now it’s back to almost exactly the same size (ER visit/CT scan confirmed it last month). I have an appointment in December with the GI doctor, so I still don’t know if he’s going to advise having it removed at this point. It would be major surgery, if so. I’ve already decided I’m not doing that. The surgeon that removed my gallbladder in May this year told me that it would be major surgery to remove the cyst, and that it wasn’t guaranteed that I could keep my spleen. I want my spleen. It’s pretty important.
So. Back to my list of health problems.
I have digestive issues, not surprisingly.
I have an autoimmune disease called Psoriasis. I’ve been told that the joint pain and muscle pain I experience is due to Psoriatic Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. In addition to these, I have some sort of problem with sodium balance. I’ve been to the ER twice in the past year and a half for low sodium. Of course, both times were within 3-4 weeks post-surgery, so it may have had something to do with that. But…I’m not sure. For example: I had a bad headache yesterday and as soon as I took a little bit of salt, like the herbalist advised that I do daily (and which I haven’t been doing consistently), my headache went away. Now, that may not mean that my sodium level was low, but it worked. So, I need to take my salt. Just in case!
Occasionally I’ll experience symptoms of numbness and tingling on my head and face and a few other places on my body. I’ve had severe dizzy spells. I’ve had spells of intense joint/muscle pain and extreme fatigue. I’ve had exercise intolerance, where my muscles are so fatigued right after exercising or even light walking that I can’t seem to walk right. It’s jerky and not normal.
I’ve described these episodes to doctors and an herbalist. Dysautonomia was mentioned. MS was mentioned. I had an MRI of my brain that ruled out MS, thank GOD. I had a blood test for Lead toxicity. Negative. I had extensive bloodwork testing for autoimmune diseases earlier this year, as well as extensive thyroid lab testing. Normal, according to the doctor.
On top of all of this, I haven’t been able to get blood tests and other testing I’ve needed because of insurance coverage issues. The medical bills have poured in. It’s been fun.
You know what I decided about a month ago? I decided to exercise anyway, regardless of how strange I felt afterwards. And I started taking Epsom Salt baths every two or three days. I’m not nearly normal. But I’m much better. Not having the weird exercise intolerance I was having, where I was completely useless afterwards. It’s not taking everything out of me any more.
I’m getting stronger.
I choose to believe that. I’m not going to let the fear of what the heck is going on with me?! make me afraid to live a normal life.
You know what else I never thought to address until recently?
It’s been something that I’ve struggled with my whole adult life. I probably struggled with it as a teenager, too, but I don’t remember much of that period of my life.
I never thought of the physical damage overeating could cause. Other than the obvious weight gain that goes along with it…followed by weight loss as I try to control it…only to lose control once again. It has been habitual. Food has been a source of comfort for me, for as long as I can remember.
It is warmth when the world is cold.
It is love when I don’t feel loved.
It is peace when I feel anxious.
But you know what the problem with that is?
Food cannot meet any of those needs.
Food cannot love. It cannot warm me, emotionally. It cannot bring calm to my anxiety. Food is inanimate. Food cannot be the Friend that I need.
Only God can.
Overeaters Anonymous, in one meeting, has challenged me to change.
Suddenly I’m looking at something I’ve struggled with for so long, that I just never could get control over. I’ve tried diet after diet, restriction after restriction. Always failing.
Step One with OA is: “We’ve admitted that we were powerless over food. That our lives had become unmanageable.”
I struggle with admitting I’m powerless over anything. I always think that at some point, I will again have control over my eating, and I will be able to follow whatever special diet I should be following.
I do not have control.
I have to admit that in order to move on to Step Two.
“Believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
Admitting that I have an unhealthy relationship with food and that I’m powerless to change it all by myself was a hard thing to admit. Now that I have, I have to do another hard thing. Believe that God actually cares about this huge struggle that I face, daily. My emotional relationship with food.
I choose to believe that He…cares.
He is going to help me.
Step Three is: “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”
I always think to myself that I have done this.
But I haven’t. I’ve believed in God. I’ve believed that He loves me on some level. But to believe that He cares so much as to help me with this aspect of my life…that is quite a leap for me.
You see, my faith is small. So, so small. But I’m choosing to use my faith, and believe that He loves me enough to care about my problem with overeating.
And what’s more: He cares about WHY I compulsively overeat. And He wants to help me work through those emotions.
This is going to be a journey, for sure. And I think once I’m in recovery, I’ll find that most of my health problems will either be gone or on their way to healing.