My Stomach Ache Is Breaking Me

I had one of those dreaded completely sleepless nights last night, well, except for the hour or so at the beginning of the night. It was brutal. Not only was I totally restless, but I was in horrendous stomach and joint pain. I was praying for relief at least in the temporary form of sleep. No such luck. I was up the whole night watching Hallmark movies and reading a Mary Alice Munroe book called Summer Sisters. It was a sweet story but I would have absolutely traded that experience for some much-needed sleep.

I finally got rid of my six overflowing boxes of prosthetics and orthotics textbooks and notes that I accrued during graduate school. I held on to them over the past two years because I was leaving the door open to pursue the next step in that career path: residency. However, I’m fully confident now that that’s not a route I want to take. I got in touch with a former professor who connected me with a bright and deserving incoming student who could use a financial break on all the resources needed for the program. I felt good donating all of my many-times-read textbooks (in excellent condition) and class and study notes. It’s like a tiny way I can give back to a program that gave so much to me, even if what I got out of it isn’t what was expected (in terms of a degree and career). I found meaning to live again, distraction for my tortured, post-trauma mind, connections with others and myself, and got the treasured gift of better self-understanding, which has genuinely saved me.

In addition to offloading all those books, we’ve made a good-sized dent in the other piles of storage. It’s bound to be a multi-week (or month) project, but it feels good to finally be doing something about it instead of just burying our heads and avoiding the overwhelming problem.

I’m in such a daze today from being up all night. I’d take the very limiting exhaustion over the continued stomach pain that simply won’t resolve. I’m so bloated today, I can barely sit upright. My belly feels like an angry inferno is brewing inside. It’s so miserable. I don’t feel like moving, laughing, lifting anything, breathing, eating, or sitting. This endoscopy can’t come soon enough; something is dreadfully wrong.

Time to lie on my back and try and breathe through this fiery pain and terrible gut bloat. I’m thankful to have a nice story to turn to and leisurely pace of a Saturday without as many demands as a weekday. I must say, if I still lived in CT where I was close to a doctor I really trusted, I’d be heading in to emergency walk-in hours this morning. My stomach is that bad. Frankly, I’m impressed at my will to carry on with the activities I’m attempting; it’s accurate to say I think most anyone who felt the way I do today would be relegated to the couch or bed, moaning and writhing in agony. My stoicism and determination to “live” life as much as possible despite chronic illness is one of my greatest strengths. I’m not perfect, but I think what I push through on a daily basis, with relatively minimal outward complaining, is pretty admirable. This stomach issue is testing me though and forcing me to stretch the limits of my tolerance and coping skills. I feel it crushing my spirits, with each hour the grueling pain and bloat persists. May I find the strength I need to stay positive; may I soon find relief.

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