Friday, June 9, 2017

honestly - it's been a hard year

This year has been full of brokenness and hard days.

Things really began in December of '16, but 2017 hasn't been easy. We're halfway to 2018 (isn't that crazy?) and I find myself unable to do much but hope the latter half of this year will be easier, because I don't want to imagine what other hard things might be coming.

I'm slowly coming out of a difficult few weeks of extreme illness. Like I have never before been so ill in my life. I know that is not a completely true statement, but goodness I have been sick.

Long story short:

My miscarriage left me anemic. When I finally went to the doctor to find out if I was low on iron I was told my body was so depleted of iron the blood test registered almost none present. My doctor put me on a HUGE dose of iron, which made me really, really sick.


I didn't know the iron supplement was causing my sudden disturbing symptoms.

I felt like I couldn't swallow.

I felt like I had a golf ball in my throat.

My stomach was upset.

I couldn't eat.

I had a massive anxiety attack because I felt like I couldn't swallow and it was the week of Charlotte's birthday, and the kids were really sick ... And I thought: oh dear me this anxiety issue has become a major problem and I should possibly be committed.

Then I lost 6 lbs in 4 days, a tremor developed in my right hand, and my heart was racing.

Oh, maybe not anxiety, I thought. Perhaps my thyroid problems are cropping up again. I called my doctor and asked for a same day appointment. She didn't have room in her schedule and her physician's assistant had recently quit so I was referred to urgent care where I found out that the golf ball in my throat was due to acid reflux and my thyroid levels were perfectly balanced.

Why in the world am I having crippling acid reflux when I have never had a problem with it before? I wondered. And why did I spend a week feeling like this before seeking help?!

Two miserable days later I finally traced the acid reflux issues to the iron supplement my doctor prescribed.

Every day I am off the iron supplement I feel better. (Well, I did until I tried taking my recommended multivitamin. That set me back a few days). The iron supplement destroyed my GI tract. I was only on it for a week, but it was a really high dose and my body did NOT like it.

The only good thing about all of this? I didn't touch caffeine for three weeks and I had hardly any sugar. Before this I would have said, impossible!, to three weeks without chocolate, but when every bite of food makes you miserable you want to avoid eating as much as possible.

Two weeks after my doctor referred me to an IV infusion center for an iron boost insurance approved the procedure and I head in Monday to get my first infusion. And I really, really hope it helps me feel better. And as more time goes by I hope all of the GI issues will settle and resolve. I still have to drink aloe juice 30 minutes before I eat to get food down and keep it down without getting knock me over acid reflux, but I no longer feel like I have a golf ball in my throat which is a huge improvement.

When I think about the stack of issues we are up against right now (B's health and mine primarily, gah it's all such a mess) I get overwhelmed, but in the middle of the swirling chaos that the last few months have brought I see God's presence and help in our lives.

I've written a little bit about going back to counseling at the beginning of the year. I'm still at it. Nearly every week. Yeah ... healing takes so. much. time. But a few things I've learned that have been SO helpful: how to breathe (I'm serious), calm myself enough to stop an anxiety attack (so useful) and use guided meditation when I a) can't calm down or b) can't sleep. It has been so helpful to learn how to manage my anxiety symptoms so I can function fully. Just learning how to use guided meditation (I just use YouTube to find guided Christian meditations, but there are apps) to help me get good rest has been instrumental to my survival during this month of illness.

This has not been an easy, or pleasant, process, but I hope at the end of all these health trials - whenever that comes - I'll be healthier mentally and physically. And in the meantime I am doing the in the deep trenches one day at a time dance, which isn't necessarily a bad thing for a worrier like me. Every day I have to evaluate what I can and cannot do, and the kids are learning to adjust their expectations of what I can and cannot do. It's not easy, but we're all hobbling through life together right now and the kids are learning flexibility and compassion.

This is my third health issue since December - broken finger, miscarriage, iron supplement nearly killed me (I'm kidding - ish) - but having so many issues is teaching me a lot about dependency and vulnerability and how to accept the limitations life sometimes puts on me.

After nearly four weeks of having problems eating / being unable to eat I am glad for the basics: food, having enough to eat, being able to eat, and hopefully soon - enjoying food. Right now I still feel wary about eating, but a lot of the anxiety that cropped up when the acid reflux crashed into my life has subsided.

I am so thankful B is done with school. The last week was pure misery for me; I could hardly function. I still haven't snapped his last day of preschool picture, but I'll get around to it. Maybe.

I've talked to many moms like me - worn out, neck deep in health issues, chock full of anxiety. We're so busy hustling and bustling for our babies and families we push ourselves to the back burner until we fall off the stove entirely and require extensive repair to get all the pieces back in order. Whether you're in pieces mentally or physically, or all of the above like me, you're in good company. There's a lot of us down here on the floor trying to figure out how to be healthier so we can continue caring for the ones we love with our whole hearts.

Don't forget to take care of yourself.


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