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I will not look back on 2017 with any great fondness. I’ve been ruminating all day long on what was good about the year, and I came up with my family, my pets and my job. While I know this is more than a lot of people have, it has been a painful and difficult year for me. There weren’t many highs (pink hair and curls?), and there were far too many lows (my health).

I’ve never had a year that gave me this many kicks in the teeth. Without my support system, I wouldn’t have made it. I have three good men (husband and two grown sons) in my life. Hubby and I celebrated 28 years of wedded bliss this year. I think we are closer now than we have ever been, and without his solid, loving presence in my life, I would surely have given in to depression this year and floundered. My two sons have been both friends and loving support system. With my husband on the road 5-6 days of each week, I’ve leaned heavily on my boys, and they’ve stepped up in all the ways that I needed.

I have two sweet cats who make me smile and keep me company, their love is unconditional. They have seen me through some tough times, cuddling when I needed that extra love and devotion to get me through a rough night.

Luckily, I have an interesting job that pays me well, and keeps me intellectually stimulated. I have a boss who has been supportive and patient this year. In a strange twist of fate, my boss was also diagnosed with diverticulitis this year, and she spent a few nights herself in the emergency department. Without my family, my pets and my job, this year would’ve been a total bust.

Hands-down, the worst part of 2017 was my health. In mid-August everything went to hell. The serious stomachaches I was having every so often turned into a living nightmare. A life-long IBS sufferer, I figured it was just more of the same. Perhaps it was more out of control than usual, but I thought it would resolve itself. It didn’t. I ended up in the emergency department one night where a stupid ER doctor thought I had something infectious. He put an IV in my arm and left me to suffer with diarrhea for seven hours until my body finally ran out. That was one of the worst experiences of my life, childbirth included. They gave me nothing other than the IV to replenish fluids. Said stupid doctor figured I needed to clear whatever it was out of my system. I only went to emergency because I wanted something to make it stop. The pain was incredible. They finally gave me morphine for the pain at dawn and then sent me home.

A visit to the gastroenterologist followed, then in rapid succession, a colonoscopy, an upper endoscopy and a CT scan. It wasn’t until I had the CT scan that they found I had acute diverticulitis. I lost twenty pounds over the summer. I don’t recommend the method I used. A round of strong antibiotics followed. Things got a little bit better, but then my issues came roaring back again. I called the gastro doctor again and begged for an answer. Another CT scan showed the diverticulitis was still active; the oral antibiotics hadn’t worked. I was told to go to the emergency department again (a different hospital this time), and I went in stupidly assuming I’d get an IV drip of something strong and come home again. FIVE DAYS later I did. I was admitted for five long, scary nights.

I took this selfie the day before I was admitted. I look at it now, and the pain on my face is so plain to me.

I went alone to the emergency room, and I was terrified when they said they were admitting me. I was put on an extremely strong IV antibiotic every evening, and yes, it gave me diarrhea. Was it easier to bear because I was in the hospital? Sadly, no. It was still a nightmare. I was put on an all-liquid diet.

When I got released, I was put on a low fiber, low residue diet. I’m still pretty much on that one. Every time I try to get creative or add something back in, I have issues. I’m still down 15 pounds. I needed to lose it, but not the way I did. I eat mostly chicken and some pork, hardly any red meat anymore. I have lots of white rice, white potatoes, hardly ever any pasta. No tomato sauce. I never eat fruits or vegetables; they are one of the things that don’t sit well. Too much fiber goes right through me. I know it’s not a healthy diet, but I’m still just trying to eat whatever doesn’t make me sick again. I’m totally off of any nuts or seeds. No one told me to do that. It’s my choice not to purposely aggravate my diverticulum.

My health seriously altered my life this year. It fucking aged me. The constant pain and stress have put lines on my face, and they’ve made my hair fall out faster. I became bitter and angry in some aspects, and I freely admit I wasn’t always pleasant to be around. Again, my guys have been patient and understanding. I have little patience any longer with people out in public. I find myself short-tempered and impatient, more so than usual. On the other hand, it’s made me appreciate the good days more than I normally would. It’s also freed me to do what I want and not worry about the consequences so much. I truly don’t care what anyone else thinks now. I’ve withdrawn from people and from life in some aspects. I go out to work and to grocery shop. Most of the rest of the time I’m home reading, watching TV, relaxing or trying to spend time with Hubby when he’s home. That’s all that I can handle some days. Yes, I stopped blogging. I found I didn’t have anything new to say. If every post was going to be me crying about how unwell I felt, there was little point in posting. So I withdrew. I’ll be back when I have something nicer to say. I promise.

I’ll be up tonight celebrating the incoming New Year, and yes, I’ll be kicking 2017 in the ass as hard as I can when it passes out the door.

Image courtesy of Pinterest