I’m writing this post during the first hour of a new year of life for me. I should be sleeping, or perhaps working a bit more on the sermon I will be sharing with Albany Community of Christ in a few hours… Instead I find myself here writing a post, that may not be read by anyone.
Caution-Caution What follows deals with medical issues, if you don’t want to read about illnesses and medical procedures stop reading.
In April 2005 while I was working on my graduate theological studies at Seattle University in the School of Theology and Ministry, I would find myself hospitalized and over the course of a week have many tests performed, learned about various mysteries of my body some of which may or may not be connected to Ulcerative Colitis (UC), a type of inflammatory bowel disease that I was diagnosed with at that time. Over the next six months I would be hospitalized twice more, and have lots of health struggles. The net result was having my spleen removed, me finally being able to swallow pills, and being forced to take time off from my graduate studies and more to just rest and recover. That break led me to moving to Ohio where I finished my graduated studies at Methodist Theological School in Ohio (Methesco or MTSO).
While I was in Ohio and working on my degree my UC would act up, and I experienced a lot of external symptoms. Various medications tried and tests performed to help deal with the pain and other issues I faced. Being diagnosed with arthritis secondary to my UC and some other pain issues. Between side effects of the medications tried, stresses of school, the physical ailments, I struggled a lot. I found it hard to focus, I was irritable, worried, over burdened. I placed my trust at times in the wrong people, and found myself hurting not only physically but also emotionally and spiritually. But I made it through my studies, concluding them with an amazing internship doing something I found fulfilling, challenging and worthwhile, serving as a chaplain intern at the Cleveland Clinic.
About a year and a half after graduating from seminary I found myself moving back to Oregon to be near family to support them and let them support me as we all mourned through life and the various struggles we face.
My UC still caused issues, and it still does. At times it is better than others. In 2012 the third colonoscopy of my life showed my colon in a much better state and only a small bit having issues rather than the entirety as had been the case it had been in 2005 and 2008. However 2013 ended up being a year of flares, and struggles to get them under control and keep it under control. 2014 has been better so far. However I struggle with some side effects of the mesalamine I have been taking for my UC. When at a level that seems to keep UC under control I am often nauseated, among other things. Recently my medical providers recommended me reducing the amount I take, while my level of nausea I encounter is much lower, I have been feeling a lot of various forms of abdominal pain, and so may be going back up, however as the post title indicates “The journey continues.”
You see I don’t fit the standard official literature which states get the UC under control and the non colon issues such as the arthritis should be better to. So my gastro sent me back to the rheumatologist regarding my pain issues. I’m glad he did, as the rheumatologist did tell me in his years of practice he has seen some who fit the standard line, and another group that like me doesn’t seem to fit. While sometimes it is nice to be unique, knowing I’m not alone in not fitting the mold was comforting in some way (not because others suffer, but because well I’m not some lone freak). We also decided to try a new (for me) medication. Tomorrow (Monday) the medication should be arriving at my pharmacy. Hopefully the medication will help both with UC primary (colon stuff) and secondary (arthritis pain and more) issues and thus improve my quality of life. Assuming the meds do come in tomorrow I get the wonderful joy of giving myself 4 shots in one day, then wait 2 weeks and another 2, and then 1 every 2 weeks…) And in December or January I will most likely have my 4th colonoscopy, so will be able to see how it is looking and doing.
I guess it is time to close my eyes and rest a bit, so I can awake and share the Good News and worship with Albany Community of Christ.
Thanks for reading,