I’m in an online recovery support group of sorts, and one of the things I notice is people expecting recovery to be immediate upon completion of treatment. Despite the fact that doctors, science, nutrition all suggest that’s highly unlikely. The truth is my recovery includes *substantial* lifestyle changes.
There’s no magic pill. And things won’t be the same as they were anytime soon (for as much as 6-12 months…or even longer…forever). That’s the nature of the beast. But I see people still seeking that “quick fix.” You diagnosed it, treated it, so I should be better, right? Go back to eating and being as before? Wrong. Well, not entirely. It’s right in that things are better. I’m not dying anymore. I’m recovering. And that’s progress…better and better progress every day. But it’s also work. And believe me: I don’t like that. I want to eat my pizza. A cheeseburger. Anything with a jalapeno on it, please! Raw vegetables in a salad! I want my life to go back to what it was in July and early August. But that’s not going to happen. My body has been through months of internal trauma. It will take longer than those months of pain, agony, and slowly dying…to recover. And I have to do my part. And so I spend my reading energy on research into how to heal; I try new things; I’m very careful with myself and my body; I take things slowly (something that is not easy for me!). There are setbacks. There are better days than others. It’s a lot of trial and error.
Someone in the group asked recently how you handle the anxiety brought on by all of this (what with all the spores, and contagiousness, and bleaching and almost dying and trying to avoid recurrence of passing it on and omg what was that are we back to square one??). The mental and emotional impact is as significant as the physical aspect. I have kept up with daily exercise (10,000 steps minimum every day except the days where I was actually dying). I meditate (thanks, Calm app) a minimum of 5 minutes a day. I practice mindfulness, particularly with eating (there’s apps for that, thank goodness). I vent as needed (90 seconds and we’re done!). I practice gratitude (at least three things every evening); I do yoga, particularly poses or sequences good for digestion. I have adopted many Aryuvedic principles and habits permanently. I try new ways of making easily digestible foods that I know have worked. I add new things in very purposefully and carefully. Luckily, although I often complain about it, I actually enjoy puzzling out new recipes that work just for me. I’m fortunate to have the means to do that.
I’m on week 7 post-treatment. Christmas will be 8 weeks. If I make it without a relapse/recurrence, I will have substantially decreased my odds of having a relapse/recurrence (as long as I can avoid any antibiotics!). And that’s what I’m hoping and praying for tonight as I go to bed #grateful for progress; Ingles (the local grocery I have clearly underrated given it carries both LifeWay* Kefir and real fresh kraut…with variety!); and friends who email 77 new recipes for sweet potatoes, since I can clearly eat sweet potatoes, but I definitely need new ideas .
* It turns out that kefir (correctly pronounced kuh-fear in case you’re new to fermented milk like me and/or also need to stop hearing “Dad Jokes” about “reefer.”) is one of those things where the brand-name and store-brand (love you, Food Lion, but no) are distinctly and importantly different.
We were joking back and forth earlier about First Lady Peggy McMaster and whether she should (or if we were her if we would) disclose medical information, like a COVID diagnosis. And here I am once again living that public servant/teacher life and putting all my business out there. One: (although it took me a while) I accept that I gave up any “right” to privacy in 2015 when I ran for office. Two: The other day, on one of my posts, a friend wrote, “those who are paying attention are learning a lot from what is happening with you.” And I hope that’s true. I never knew any of what happened to me could happen. Since I’ve been public with my story, a number of people have reached out to share their own experiences–themselves or loved ones they care for. And I’ve even gotten messages from people whose loves ones have been diagnosed since I started this journey.
I post like this and think sometimes, “Why? Why tell the whole wide world your business?” And the answer ultimately goes back to what my friend shared the other day: people may learn from what I’m sharing. Maybe they’ll just learn they’re not alone. Maybe they’ll realize there’s no shame in struggle. Maybe they’ll learn why it’s so important to ask questions about antibiotics. Or to use probiotics with them (and how to correctly do so–something I legit learned from Facebook). Maybe they’ll learn something about the gut or healing it that they’d not have heard elsewhere. Or maybe some people just want to follow my misery (hey! I see y’all too!). In any case, I have a platform. People read and maybe they get something out of it. Or maybe they just give me that care react to make me feel better. Whatever. Here it all is: open book. And yay kraut.