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The Unknown of Living With a Chronic Illness

girl sitting by window

As your alarm clock goes off, you roll over wondering what kind of day you are going to have. Living with a chronic illness means waking up daily filled with uncertainty. Will I be able to run the few errands I had planed or will I be stuck in bed?

Two weeks before Christmas I woke up with my throat on fire. Having strep throat many times, I knew this was exactly what was going on. I ran to the minute clinic where the doctor confirmed I was positive for strep and gave me antibiotics. I figured working in the school system and having a weak immune system, I was bound to get sick sooner or later.

The antibiotics worked fairly quickly but I was down for the whole week with a fever and just feeling like crud. I sorta have trouble relaxing when I am not well. I feel the need to constantly be doing things and getting things done (promise, it's something I am working on this New Year). By the time the weekend before Christmas arrived, the crud had gone and besides feeling exhausted, I felt better.

For some, the rest of this post may be TMI (too much information for those who do not know abbreviations ;) ). But for me, this is just another day in my life. And not only my life, for many other sufferers. Sunday before Christmas Eve, had marked a week since I had a bowel movement. Bowel trouble has mostly been a problem for me my whole life. Leading me to have 2 colonoscopies, stomach studies and lots of other aggravating tests. When I was diagnosed with endometriosis, it all started to make sense. A lot of my bowel issues stemmed from endo.

By the time Christmas Eve rolled around, I still hadn't had any movement. My parents were here visiting and both them and my husband were getting concerned. They ran to the store to get me some enemas and laxatives. Laying up in my bathroom taking enemas was not exactly how I planned my Christmas Eve to go. But I was so desperate. As I laid on the bathroom floor, I prayed this would be what I needed. Now if you ever had an enema before, I am sure you know what happens next. If not, I am sure you can figure it out. The thing is, I still hadn't found relief.

I went about the rest of my Christmas Eve hoping I would eventually go on my own and feel better. I didn't want to ruin the holiday. Christmas Day came and we all decided another enema may be a good idea. As I sat in the bathroom, tears ran down my face. I was in so much pain and so uncomfortable. Hubby and my parents wanted to take me to the ER. I refused. Mainly because I didn't want to ruin Christmas, but also because I was hoping I would still be able to shake this on my own.

Wednesday and Thursday went by, with no movement still. Laxatives, stool softeners and enemas were not working. By Friday, my parents gave me no choice and took me to the ER.

As we sat in the waiting room my leg shook. I didn't want to be there but I wanted to feel better. I had no idea what they were going to do or what the outcome was going to be. About 2 hours later, they finally called me back to a room. My mom came with me. As I got in the hospital gown and laid in the bed, I prayed this would all be over soon.

Someone finally came in to take an x-ray of my stomach. When the results were ready the doctor came in.

"You are full. Your x-ray shows you are impacted." She told me they would do an enema and I wanted to fight with her. That was what I HAVE been doing all week with no success.

To my surprise, this enema was a long tube attached to an IV bag. I quickly went into panic mode. That long tube was going WHERE!? All that liquid was going WHERE?! When the nurse came in to get me set, I wanted so bad to leave. She was a no bs kind of nurse and told me to man up. In a way, that was what I needed. As we started this horrible process she tried to talk with me to keep my mind off it. I looked at her and before I knew it was in tears. However, given the situation, even with a tube as long as a snake up my butt, she made me laugh. When the IV bag was empty, she helped me to the bathroom. My mom, the nurse and I stood there- waiting for the enema to kick in. I began to get nervous because I was feeling no urge to use the bathroom.

About 4 and half hours later, besides having a sore butt, feeling nauseous and stomach cramps, the nurse told me I could get dressed. It concerned me that I was only feeling 50% relief and they were ready to discharge me. With no answer to what could have caused the impaction.

That evening I felt so sick. The next morning there was still no movement since the hospital. My stomach was very bloated and I still felt a lot of pressure. My dad ran to the store to get milk of magnesia, prune juice and that lovely drink they make you drink to clear you out before surgery. I decided to down the 10 oz surgery drink. Again, I felt so sick all day. The surgery drink finally worked later that evening. It was the most relief I had felt in a while.

Unfortunately I am still having trouble. I cannot have a movement on my own without the use of milk of magnesia. It worries me more is going on and that endo could be reeking havoc on my intestines. These last few weeks have been rough with the uncertainty of will I have a bowel movement or not. Will I become badly impacted again? Am I dealing with something more serious?

This is every day life, of someone with a chronic illness. Uncertainty of what could go wrong next is always there. But I am a fighter.

To anyone else struggling, you are a fighter. You are tougher than anything life throws your way. Remember that. Always. <3

Kimberli at the hospital.

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