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Way Back Machine Activate! The Mess to Clean Up

Updated: May 31, 2023

Visual art journal selfie done shortly before I went to the doctor.

A look back:

At one point while she was dying, my mother told me I would have a mess to clean up after her death. I didn’t foresee that the mess would be me. My mom died of lung cancer on June 22, 2016. Four weeks before that, my symptoms started.

As the weeks passed after her death, my intestinal issues worsened. After six months, I cut out alcohol and though it helped, it wasn’t enough. The next step was to change how I ate. I went on a mostly plant-based diet with fish and eggs included in the menu. My symptoms got better, but then something stressful would happen and they would get worse again.

I sought the help of an herbalist. She kept me in a place where I could function. To clarify, I did not want to approach Western medicine if I could help it. I have an aversion to the allopathic side based on personal experience AND I witnessed many sick relatives who dealt with their ailments exclusively through Western doctors--much to their suffering.

I wanted to figure out my issues and heal them. Next step was to limit my sugar and cut dairy. As a result, I dropped forty pounds. By then, I had taken up pole dancing and almost rocked a six-pack (if the angle was right). People told me I looked really good, but they didn’t know how tired I was and that I was struggling.

Those who did see though, encouraged me to see a doctor. Still, I wasn’t ready to do that. I am not a person who will do what she doesn’t want to do for the most part.

In the middle of my symptoms. Pole dancing seemed to actually help me feel better through this time.

Winter 2019:

After I suffered a concussion during pole practice, my symptoms grew worse than they had ever been. I often had to leave my massage clients during our sessions to get to the bathroom. Then in February, a man stalked me in a parking garage.

Luckily, I got out of that situation, but at the price of post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from the time when another stalker attempted to rape me at age 19. As a result, my symptoms exploded, literally and figuratively, and finally I saw no other option than to seek out a diagnosis from a medical doctor. Still, it took me a couple of months to make that appointment.

I was certain I had Inflammatory Bowel Disease. My new doctor agreed with my assessment. She set me up with a gastrointestinal specialist. The specialist also agreed with my self-diagnosis, but set me up for a colonoscopy just to cover our bases. Little did we know what would come next.

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