The Diagnosis (part 1 of 2)

This week I am celebrating (?)  my Diagnosiversary, one year after having been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. This is the first of two posts about that experience.

One year ago today was the day before I was going to have a colonoscopy. If you are not familiar with all that entails, I will spare you the details and merely mention that there’s little you can eat before one, or before the upper GI exam I was supposed to have. It also was our anniversary, and the fact that I could only eat lemon Italian ice was making me a very cheap date.

I had started experiencing scary symptoms about four months earlier, and had dutifully submitted to all the tests that doctors had lined up for me, learning from my ultrasound technicians that I have exceptional anatomy, and praying that my blood tests would discover something easy to treat like a parasite.

You see, healthy little me had been throwing up and in a lot of pain, and I was tired of it. I also was not eager to learn that I had some catastrophic illness, which is why after months of digestive weirdness I was in the peculiar position of praying for a tapeworm. Whatever the problem was, I wanted it to be something solvable, something separate from myself that I could eliminate and forget about.

Answers were coming, but I was mostly concerned about the sedation I’d undergo en route to those answers. I had been sedated once before, when I had my wisdom teeth out, and had vague recollections of making jokes about Band-Aids to the nurses, thinking I was the funniest person in the world. I didn’t remember anything else, but knew that I was awake the whole time and unable to remember. Fifteen years later that idea still bothered me. Awake, but not awake, asleep, but not asleep.

Like the good worker bee I am, I pushed those thoughts out of my mind and trotted my starving self off to an audition! (Because what else would you do when you’re fasting and about to get news that will change your life? Sing in front of people, of course.) Later that night I was supposed to sing at mass. Music ended up being nixed for the liturgy, so we went to mass and sat in the pews.

I agonized over whether or not I should receive communion. I was still twelve hours of prep away from my tests. This wasn’t going to make or break my examination. But still, I’d been told not to eat, and I know that there’s nothing wrong with abstaining.

Where we were sitting, who presided, and what I wore, these things I remember about that night, but I can’t remember if I decided to take communion or not. Knowing as I do now, that I would try to make sense of all of this with words, with writing, I could kick myself for not recording what decision I made that night. I was at a time in my life when I desperately needed to be fed, both physically and spiritually. I want to have the facts over which I can layer symbolism.

Instead, I remember a short liturgy with no music. I remember the movie we watched that night. I remember I went to bed early, knowing that the sooner I was asleep the sooner it would be morning, the sooner this would all be over with and I could get on with my life, however my life might be changed.

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5 Responses to The Diagnosis (part 1 of 2)

  1. Kathleen says:

    I’ll be waiting to hear more tomorrow.

  2. Pingback: The Diagnosis (part 2 of 2) | Felice mi fa

  3. Pingback: The Diagnosis (part 3 of 2?) | Felice mi fa

  4. Pingback: 7 Quick Takes volume 27 | Felice mi fa

  5. Kevin Nolan says:

    To appreciate how other persons have dealt with this same challenge, I would recommend that you read some of the books by Dr Rachel Remens. See <>
    In particular I would recommend “Kitchen Table Wisdom”.
    In addition to her skill as a wise healer she also has dealt with Crohn’s disease most of her life. I acknowledge that she is bit eclectic in her approach but she draws on the wisdom of her Judaic upbringing. Her insights into how persons cope with illness are quite impressive.

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