We're rounding the bend to 2014, and I have to say, I'm welcoming it with open arms.
Yes, 2014 is the year I turn forty. But I don't even care. Because 2013? It was a bit much of a roller coaster - and that's just too much to handle for an anxiety-ridden gal like me.
Highs and lows? I've got plenty. My dad had a successful stem cell transpant, and then went into organ failure, and then fought back like a champ. He's just wrapped up 6 preventative chmo treatments and 2014 will be his one year anniversary of the transplant. It just has GOT to be smooth sailing from here on out for him. It's got to. Got myself a new niece in 2012, and two new nephews in 2013! My oldest niece headed off to college!
Changes? Yep. Mike changed his job twice this last year, creating panic and worry, and now has to travel more. I went back to work full time and I haven't quite mastered managing and balancing life. Aside from that? My brain is not fully cooperational just yet - thinking all the time - I mean who wants to do that?
Challenges? A sprint triathlon anyone? A couple 5Ks, a zombine run, and a 15K in the freaking cold. Done.
And then, for kicks, right before Christmas we tossed in a health scare with Warren. For some time, I thought he was thin and pale. But he's always been thin, and pale - and I tend to overreact to things, so I chalked it up to me making a mountain out of a mole hill. And every time Warren grows taller, he definitely thins out. He began complaining of stomach pain, but kept going about his business. Off to school, off to basketball. He'd catch a stomach bug and move on. Pooping? Never been his thing, but it was getting more infrequent and painful. And who wants to talk to their mom about that? Not an 11 year old boy, that's for sure. Finally, when he used a full bottle of tums in a month and had no relief? We went to the doc - exactly a week before Christmas.
I'd thought constipation could be the cause, and suddenly everything became less about constipation and much more serious when the doc realized that Warren had lost 22 pounds since his April visit. Yeah, the kid didn't have 22 pounds to lose. As he laid on that exam table, I took a look at him, and almost wept. Testing his urine and then his blood, the doc called me at home that evening to say that he had ruled out diabetes and leukemia. He said we urgently needed to see a GI specialist and he'd set up the appointment the next day. On Thursday, we went in to see this doctor, who is amazing. She felt almost certain Warren had Crohn's disease and got him scheduled the following day (Friday) for an upper GI xray and then Monday for a scope - both upper and lower. She wanted to get him feeling better as soon as possible, and didn't want the holidays to hold anything up.
We had a lot of sleepless nights from Wednesday to Monday. Anxiety was shared equally between Mike, Warren and I. Elaine? Oblivious - thankfully - and neighbors took turns distracting her while we wondered what would be next for us. Warren struggled through that drinking upper GI xray thing. Drinking gross stuff when your stomach hurts and you're nervous is a bad combination. But he did it. Because he had to. And Monday's scope only terrified him because of the IV required. God love him. That afternoon, Dec 23rd, she confirmed the Chron's Disease diagnosis and explained to us where it resided - mainly in the small intestine - and how it was affecting all of his GI tract - narrowing in the small intestine and horrible ulcers and fissures in his colon. We went home with a folder filled with reading material, the relief of a diagnosis, and the fear of that same diagnosis.
And so now we go about learning about this auto immune disease. And we focus on healing the damage it has caused and then figuring out the right balance of things to put it in remission. Warren is already so much more like his old self. More relaxed, more happy. The steroids he is on temporarily have given him his appetite, and soothed the inflammation of his GI tract. We're avoiding certain foods that aggravate the sores inside his colon, giving it a chance to heal. I bet you don't know too many 11 year old boys who are sad that they can't eat salad for 2 weeks! Learning more and more, we're realizing in retrospect, how we must have aggravated his stomach issues - forcing roughage to help with the constipation, getting angry when he didn't eat his meal at a restaurant, and pushing him to run that 5K when he kept telling us his legs hurt. Yes, we had no idea whatsoever, but it still makes you feel all kinds of sucky.
People have been awesome and people have been stupid with their reactions to this news. More awesome than stupid, so we'll just roll with that. I'm discovering that I have a new found hatred of reading medical pamphlets - that might be a resolution for 2014 - no medical pamphlets! They are too depressing. In the grand scheme of things? Chrohn's Disease is okay. He'll always have it, and we'll figure out the best way to manage it. Once we get that right, he'll have more energy, less leg joint pain, and he'll put those pounds back on in no time! But the timing? It sucked ass. I can't even sugar coat it. It just makes me more ready to say buh-bye to 2013 and move on. On to better, on to easier, on to just life. Just plain old life please with perhaps less hiccups?
So 2014? Come on in! You can sit next to me. Let's be friends. Okay? And then? Let's just have a typical year - one where I don't have to write about medical dramas or worry or stress. Please? Thanks. You're my new favorite year.