My back injury was what it was. The fact that it continues to restrict me and affect everything I do is not OK. I am aware that it is potentially a way that I hide from all the things I don’t like to deal with in life…you know, responsibility, and, um, you know, responsibility. (Bloody hell I’m eloquent at 2 am!)  But it is certainly not a conscious choice for it to continue holding me back from participating in my life to the fullest. However, there is a school of thought (which I guess I kind of do actually subscribe to) that says everything in our lives, good, bad, and ugly, WE have attracted. So on some level, I have attracted this injury and its longevity. I guess I need to work on ceasing to give energy to said injury, and instead, consciously attracting healthier somethings into my life.

But I ain’t there yet. Back injury aside, I swear that I am the harbinger of ridiculous and unidentifiable diseases. For the last two weeks I have been bitch-slapped by something that may or may not be parvovirus. It started with the skin all down the back of my arms and across by back hurting. You know the way your skin hurts when you have the flu? Times that by 25 or so, and that’s where I was at. It lasted about 5 days, and a Saturday night visit to the ER (always entertaining), and a few blood draws confirmed that it was not septicemia. I could have told you it wasn’t septicemia. But my sister is a nurse, and she was concerned that, because I had recently gotten a tattoo, I might be septic. And she was right to be concerned. My symptoms were awfully similar to textbook. But I’ve been septic before, and I know how that manifests in my body. I also know how quickly it (and every other malady) goes from 0 to 60 in my body. The last time I was septic, I went from first feeling a sore throat which I knew was the onset of strep throat (later confirmed to be strep group G), to being in shock in the back of an ambulance in….wait….count ’em…..8 whole hours!!! A week in the hostpital, IV and oral antibiotics and painkillers. Oh, it was such good fun. NOT!

Clearly I get easily off track here. So, I was not septic, but I had skin that made my sheets feel like sandpaper when I tried to lie down to sleep. Right. So. That started to settle down after about 5 days. Then I put some lotion on my legs one morning, about 2 days later, which immediately started to sting moderately. Did I stop? No. Why listen to signals like that? All over my legs. And all over my arms. Arms did not sting, just the legs. Within an hour, rash all over my legs (but not my arms!?!) that was clearly blood vessels under the skin having broken. Fabulous. Then there was a weird spot that showed up in my lady bits. We won’t talk about it in detail. But suffice it to say it was weird enough that I went BACK to the ER. And when the doctor has you up in the stirrups, the last thing you want to hear is, “Wow! I’ve never seen anything like that before!” Great. I’m not looking to be a guinea pig for medical science, ladies and gentlemen. Just want to know WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN MY HOO-HOO!

Then the kicker. Hands and feet started to swell up. Then wrists and ankles. Then elbows and knees. Thankfully it stopped there.  Didn’t really hit my shoulders or hips. But the swelling got so bad I could barely walk, I couldn’t make a fist, nor could I completely extend and straighten my fingers. Doctors visits. Blood tests – I’m sure they could have fed a vampire village with all the blood they took out of my body. Biopsies. Doctors saying things like, “Well, I doubt that it’s cancer, so I don’t think you should worry about that” while in the stirrups…terrific! The thought of cancer hadn’t crossed my mind yet, but now that you mention it, it will be SO easy not to obsess!

(A dear friend of mine subsequently told me, “You probably shouldn’t worry about it being from massive head trauma, phantom limb syndrome, Ebola, Marfan syndrome, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimers, dwarfism, gigantism, or otherisms for that matter. Just so you don’t focus on it not being from cancer. If you need any other suggestions as to what it’s probably not, let me know.” God bless her!)

After 6 days, the swelling is finally starting to go down somewhat. Most of the blood work came back…inconclusive, really. Indicative of a virus. But in the mean time some other tantalizing tidbits came up. A liver that is not quite cirrhotic. What. The. Hell? I’m not a heavy drinker, nor have I ever been for longer than a couple of months at a time, and those short spurts have only happened 2 or 3 times in my life when I was not dealing well with, well, life. So drinking really doesn’t account for it. Shitty food very well might – and THAT came as a huge shock to me.

So the consequences of my unhealthy relationship with food may be far more terrifying than wearing a size 20. I may have damaged my liver. And as far as I understand it, liver tissues don’t really regenerate with time the same way that some other organs do. For instance, I was a smoker for many years. I know that, having quit, my body will actually start to reverse some of the damage I’ve done to my lungs over the years. It’s a slow process, but it’s headed in the right direction. However, my understanding is that liver tissues do not regenerate the same way lung tissues do. I could be wrong. I hope I’m wrong. But it’s pretty scary to contemplate that I may have done irreversable damage to one of my vital organs because I didn’t value myself highly enough to take care of me in a healthier way than by eating.

I hope that I am at least staunching the flow. If I have done irreversable damage to myself, then it is what it is, and I can’t change the past. What I can do is take better care of myself in the future. Staunch the flow. Do no further damage. Take care of myself. Value myself highly enough to make better choices. Love myself. Treat myself, pamper myself, love myself in ways that do not involve putting something in my mouth. And the things that I do put in my mouth need to be low on the processing scale, high on the natural scale. More salads, chicken and fish. Fewer Oreos, chocolate, and candy.

I am worth taking the time to prepare something that is rewarding to eat, instead of reaching for whatever is already packaged in the cupboard. I am worth cleaning up after making myself something nutritious and delicious instead of grabbing something with just a wrapper I can throw away, no muss, no fuss. I am worth taking the time, the effort, and the planning. I am worth it.

I am worth it.

That’s what my health depends on, and I am worth it.