As I said in my last post, I was doing really well, but after a couple weeks of this good weather, I started to backslide again. Perhaps this was caused by all of the food I was eating that I should not have been eating…I had started being quite a mouse – nibbling at my roommates’ delicious food, whether some wasn’t scraped completely off a plate, or if it was on the table or in the fridge. Cookie dough, banana bread, baked parmesan cauliflower, peach pie…my roommates are excellent chefs and have great taste in food, which they do not eat fast enough. I never noticed a problem eating these things, but probably eating these things for over a week added up into a problem – the recurrence of symptoms.
Or perhaps the backsliding was due to an infection. This past Monday, I was home from school for a doctor’s appointment (which was canceled because my doctor was sick), but I woke up that morning with pain in my colon. I’m used to discomfort/cramping, but pain is unusual for me, and it came with a fever. I got in touch with my gastroenterologist, and by the end of the day, when the pain and fever were still there, my dad drove me to the ER at the Brigham. We were worried that this was a perforation of my colon – probably just a micro-perforation since I wasn’t worse than I was, but still, something to deal with immediately.
A CT scan showed that there was no perforation (they look for air leaking from the colon), and the bloodwork didn’t show anything too concerning – just a slightly high white blood cell count, which was the sign of a possible infection. They started me on an antibiotic, took a stool sample and blood culture, gave me fluids, and kept me overnight. The next afternoon, I still had some pain but was able to leave.
The stool sample and blood culture did not grow any harmful bacteria, so it seems that this was not an infection, but I’m skeptical of that – why else would I have pain all of a sudden? I guess I’ll never know.
Since that day, the pain has gone away but there’s still more blood and more diarrhea than before Monday. My doctor said that the diarrhea could be due to the antibiotic, and today is my last day on that, so we’ll see. I’m hoping that that’s true, and hopefully the blood is just residual from whatever happened Monday and will lessen soon.
I’ve stayed home from school this week, and it has been a much needed vacation. I’m realizing that school is not a place where healing can happen, and I’m really looking forward to the semester being over. Fortunately, if I’m to miss a week of classes this semester, it is this past week, because of the material covered. And because we have tomorrow off for Veteran’s Day, I have an extra day at home and one less day of school this coming week.
I planned on getting homework done today, but I was not feeling up for it, and I may or may not get any done tomorrow after I am back at my apartment. Fortunately, there is just one assignment that I could be working on, and I emailed my professors to get an extension. I usually aim to get as high a grade as possible, but because of how I’ve been feeling, I am not concerned about this, so once I do get around to this assignment, I will not be stressing out about it. It’s hard to not work on an assignment until the bitter end, but in the grand scheme of things, I know what is most important, and it’s not A’s and B’s.
I leave you with this article from the New York Times, called The Island Where People Forget to Die, about a Greek island called Ikaria where everyone sleeps in, takes naps, works in their garden, drinks wine, eats simply, and visits neighbors. They are all very healthy and many live to be over 100. One native of the island lived in America for most of his life, developed cancer, went back to his home for his final few months, and began to recover, beating cancer simply by living the lifestyle common on Ikaria. It’s a really fascinating article and has made me rethink my healing process. Even before the incident on Monday, I decided to take next semester off instead of going on a co-op. Even if I start to do as well as I was a few weeks ago, I want to affirm my health by having a stress-free semester and spend time doing things like yoga and working a low-key part time job. Then I plan on taking a two-month summer semester of classes and then a standard 6-month co-op starting in July.
For now, though, I’m taking it day by day, which the Ikarians would approve of!