In 1898

After I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis circa de 1998, I’ve probably spent more time than the average person thinking about what my life would have been like had I lived in 1898. Back then, dehydration was a very serious issue. Had a tried to forge the Oregon Trail, it probably would have killed me.

Today’s medicine has made my lifestyle 95% similar to the average person’s (I’m changing all instances of “normal” to “average.” Normal is a relative term). It boggles my mind that now I can have an entire organ taken out, and still be okay – I’m hoping I’d return to a solid 70% average lifestyle. An entire major organ, gone! And I won’t be dead!

The human body is an amazing thing.

Recently, I’ve spent a lot of time comparing whether or not people were healthier in 1898 versus today. (Sorry mom, this is actually where my thoughts have been, not researching options). I’m not evaluating based on longevity, as it’s proven people live longer now. There are fixes now for what was then life-threatening – my condition for example.

I’ve read articles about an upcoming prediction of a “cancer epidemic,” which is what’s spurred this thought line. Why are we all getting sick? Or, have these sicknesses always been around, and we are just now getting to a place technologically that we can accurately diagnose it?

In 1898, I wouldn’t suspect Ulcerative Colitis would have been accurately diagnosed. Would the symptoms have still been there? Did it even exist? Is Ulcerative Colitis a response to new chemicals and foods that aren’t “normal” to my body?

Then I think about the future. My “best surgery” today has only been around for 10-15 years. I will have to live with it for hopefully at least 60 years, should I be so lucky to live that long. That’s a long time to believe in a workaround for your body, that isn’t proven to last. There has to be something better that has yet to come along. On the other hand, there is a cure for colon cancer: remove it. Not such an easy feat for other organs with cancer. It may be awhile until research circles back to improve colon cancer’s solution.

Those that have recently asked “how I’m doing?” probably got my spiel about how right now I feel like I’m trying to get rid of all hope. I was corrected in that I’m not trying to get rid of it, I’m trying to refocus it. Right now, I’m hoping for an alternate solution I haven’t heard of. I don’t like modern medicine’s solution, so I continue to hope and search for something else.

In order to feel confident in having the procedure done, I don’t think I can have any hope left in alternate situations. I won’t be removing all faith, I’ll just be redirecting it to many places: faith they removed all the cells, faith the procedure can be carried out as planned, faith that my body accepts this new workaround, faith I can still live like a 20-something, faith that my body can sustain the new internal system until I’m 90, faith changes I make now will prevent future cancers and illnesses.

I’m now paranoid that everything I do and touch will give me cancer, and that I’m getting arthritis in my elbow and knee. Hello, hypochondria. Maybe we should all be so concerned. Maybe this is a blessing that this cancer is so controlled, and a wake-up call to myself and everyone I know: we aren’t indestructible. There are consequences. Make changes now.

Last year, I endured a trial that was as a wake-up call shared with my close friends and family. A “story of warning,” as one of my friends put it. Maybe it was a test of strength and character. Maybe I handled it so well, that I’ve been given a new and harder trial to carry out. I’m serving a as another wake-up call and story of warning to tell my friends and family, one I can be more open about. The quote from my last blog now sits framed on my nightstand: God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers.

I spent most of this morning doing heavy research into what facility I want to visit. I’ve narrowed it down to MD Anderson (Houston) and Mayo (Minnesota). Hoping to make a final decision and set-up an appointment today.

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Author: Clarissa A.

The older I get, the less I know.

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