I’m finally feeling almost 90% better now. This past week seemed to drag on as I felt off, but I’m glad that I almost feel like myself again. I’m questioning if the residual uncomfortableness is related to my liver, but I won’t find that out until I meet with the surgeon in a week and a half. And I think that going to Disneyland was good for my mental health and that helped me to feel better.
I’m still being very careful with what I’m eating and trying to take things easier than I normally do. I don’t want to do anything that will make me feel horrible again and being cautious makes me feel a bit in control in a situation that feels very out of control to me right now.
Now that I’m almost over whatever stomach thing I had, I’ve been reflecting a bit on what good things came out of this. Obviously, discovering that there may be a cyst on my liver is something good to learn about. If I didn’t have the stomach pain, I wouldn’t have known until it was worse and it may have been a more urgent situation. And I’m starting to wonder if my stomach pain was my body telling me to get checked out. I know when my mom found out she had cancer, it was because of a suspicious bruise that wouldn’t go away. The bruise had nothing to do with cancer, but it was what got her to the doctor and to do all the medical testing. Maybe my body was doing the same thing.
I’ve been on a pretty restricted diet since last Wednesday. At first, it was just clear liquids (chicken broth and jello) and has moved to soft foods. I’m starting to eat more normally now, but I’m still keeping things a bit restricted. This doesn’t feel like a weight loss diet, but that’s what it is. I’m eating mainly fruits and some vegetables with very little meat. This is not the most restrictive diet I’ve been on, but it’s up there.
But because of these restrictions I’ve been rediscovering foods that I love or that I forgot could be just fine for a meal. I’ve rediscovered cream of wheat (although the exact packets I loved before don’t seem to be in stores anymore). I make it with water and have a banana with it and it’s a pretty filling breakfast or lunch. I’ve had cheese and crackers for dinner one night when I was feeling a bit full and knew I still needed to eat something. And I’ve been looking at making the sautéed vegetables again that I used to have a lot when I was on the cleanse I did last year.
All of those foods are things that I could have had before, but I either forgot I enjoyed them or was so focused on other things that I wanted to eat that they just didn’t come to mind. These are all good and healthy things for me to eat and I need to work on keeping them in regular rotation. While I’m still a believer that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie, there is a difference in how you feel when your calories are from a variety of foods versus a binge of one food.
I’ve also learned how to be gentle with myself. It’s not easy to take things easy, especially when you know you have so much you need to get done. I don’t want to be lazy and sit on the couch all day because that reminds me of myself when I wasn’t working hard at bettering myself. But sometimes, you need to have those days on the couch doing nothing. It was important for me to do that so I could get better and if I had pushed myself I know I wouldn’t be feeling as good as I do now.
And finally, I’ve learned to accept the out of control feeling again that I really hate. Right now because my liver isn’t healthy, I can’t take any painkillers. I hate the idea that I might be in pain and can’t take something to make it better. But I have to deal with that now and it’s been a good thing for me. I may have been taking too many painkillers for what I really need (I usually took 3-4 a week so it wasn’t close to what the maximum I could take would be). I’ve had to tolerate a bunch of needles lately. In the last month I’ve had 3 blood draws, 3 shots, and 1 IV for an MRI. And I’ve got at least one more IV coming up next week. It’s not fun, it’s not easy, and I can’t do anything to change it. So I have to learn how to accept something I can’t fix and make it the best situation I can.
While I wish I could have learned all these things without getting sick, at least knowing something good came out of it makes me feel a bit better about the situation. I know that I may need this positive thinking to continue as I do more tests on my liver and find out what a surgeon thinks needs to happen. Maybe I will learn more lessons from this whole liver situation to make it even seem more worthwhile that I had to go through something that isn’t that great. I know how easy it can be for me to get sucked into feeling sorry for myself (I had that happen when I got sick last week) and I am refocusing my energy on learning what I can from the circumstances I’m in.