The Crossroads Philosophy
After many years of trying my best to cope with this debilitating, all-consuming disease, I have found that the difficulties of trying to deal with each issue concerning Colitis was bringing me to the brink of total frustration.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have sat down and tried to put into words, all the feelings I have been trying to cope with. I have come up with what I call the “The Crossroads Philosophy”. I kept picturing myself in that scene from the Tom Hanks movie, Cast Away. The scene at the end, where he is standing in the center of the 4 roads trying to decide which way to go. That is the way I was feeling almost every day. Once I formulated this philosophy and wrote it down, I found I had some kind of reference or something solid to hang onto. I hope you don’t find this post too long and boring and not pertaining to how you feel. It has gotten me through some tough days.
The Crossroads Philosophy
Those of us with Colitis have 4 roads that we must travel each and every day.
The Diet and Nutrition Road: We all know which foods trigger pain and discomfort and make us sick. It may take eating a particular food a few times before we realize that every time we eat it we get sick, but that can be done with the aid of a food diary or just remembering the last time we had a real “poopy” day. Now what do we do with that information? Are we strong enough to refrain from eating that food or do we decide to give in to our cravings and needs and eat it? I have to admit sometimes the cookie is stronger than my will. The simple truth is that some foods make us sick and some foods don’t. Face it, admit it, and accept it. I repeatedly have to remind myself that no food tastes great enough to make up for the pain afterwords. What we eat can make or break the day or even begin a flare up. What I have to come to terms with, is who is stronger – the food or me?
The Mindset Road: It’s not only what goes into our stomachs that determines the way we feel, but it is what is in our heads that can go a long way towards our health. It is accepted that stress exacerbates our disease. Ok, so now that we know this, how do we help to relieve that stress? Along with trying to maintain positive thoughts we need ways to make our days calmer. Along with visual thoughts, we can do a hobby, read, walk, sit quietly and meditate or just take a nap. Nothing helps a rough day like curling up under a heavy afghan and listening to a book on tape or music, or the rain. Whatever you determine is your best way to relax and listen to your feelings and look towards positive thoughts will help. Sure there are days that seem to get away from us and our frustrations overcome any relaxation techniques that we try, but picture yourself at that crossroad and try to walk down the mindset road of calm.
The Medication/Doctor Road: It’s tough to find a doctor who listens when you speak. It’s tougher to find a doctor who understands when you speak. Even tougher to find a doctor who doesn’t lump you in with every other UC patient. Where I live, there are basically two huge conglomerates of digestive doctors. If you see one in a group and don’t get along or trust that doctor, you are not allowed to transfer to another in the same group. Your doctor is your lifeline to medications and it is crucial to trust and believe in that person. Bottom line is; if you don’t like or trust your doctor, find another one. Lack of trust in the person who holds the means to your medical care causes stress. Remember stress is something we have to avoid at all costs. If your doctor suggests a road of care, follow that road. Don’t miss dosages and follow prescription directions. If something isn’t working, tell your doctor and insist that they come up with something that will work. Be an informed patient. Keep track of your blood tests – I use a spreadsheet. Write down questions you have and insist on answers you can understand. Research meds, research procedures. Know what tests are being scheduled. Go into each appointment with what I call “patient information”. You will find that nurses and doctors will talk to you in a different manner when you have an informed attitude.
The Feel Good Road: It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I could no longer be everything to everyone and that I needed to be good to me. I still fall back from time to time and still forget that I have the option of saying “No”, when the mind and the body is not co-operating. I have a list of things that make me feel good. Sometimes it is doing something for me, sometimes it is doing something for someone else. Talking to my family long distance, looking at old pictures, checking out my new grandson’s pics on Facebook, taking a nap, sitting outside when Spring has sprung and feeling the warmth of the sun on my body. Whatever makes you feel good, take advantage. Sometimes a good cry and allowing myself to grieve for my condition is what I need to do. I do it and get over it and can face the world again. Think about what makes you feel good and do it for yourself. You are the only person who knows what you need to get through all of this.
So now as you stand at your own crossroads, look down each road and decide how your are going to travel it. I hope that you can find health and peace and calm in your life.
This long post is something I have done for me, myself… this is one way that makes me feel like I can pass along something that makes me feel good to y’all.
Presently on: 600 mg. Remicade every 4 weeks
15 mg. Methotrexate/injection weekly
10 mg. Celexa daily