If you’re reading this, I have survived hell week (well, three weeks?) and am safely on a plane to Nepal by now. As I have discussed in what is undoubtedly exhaustive and annoying detail (sorry about that, kind of, but you can’t say you’re surprised) here on the blog, things have been…busy. While I’ve definitely felt like I’m spiraling out of control some days, the fact of the matter is that every essential box on my to-do list did get checked off before I left, so I guess I’ve #stillgotit. I know you are breathing a deep and cleansing sigh of relief as we speak. This post is just sort of a hodge-podge of updates, revelations, and random insight that will hopefully wrap everything up from the past few weeks. That way, when I get back, I can just inundate you with endless Nepal pictures and stories. Sound good? Great.
This week, I did finally get some test results back, which brought good news and bad news. I was being tested for Celiac disease, which required me to go back to eating gluten. Long story short: I went gluten-free about 2.5 years ago at the suggestion of my doctor to help my stomach issues, but I didn’t really realize how diligent I needed to be about it (example: I always ate gluten free food and never EVER cheated, but I didn’t take some of the precautions necessary to prevent cross contamination, like using different colanders for food, because I just didn’t know I needed to). After my gall bladder randomly failed for no apparent reason this spring (no gall stones), my surgeon suggested I might need to look into more comprehensive testing to see if all my digestive problems were all linked or just bad luck. That required me to go back to eating gluten for 6 extremely long weeks, which is why I kept talking about feeling sick and having digestive problems. I was constantly running to the bathroom in full on panic mode, had terrible nausea and headaches and exhaustion, and just generally felt terrible. Long story short – it seems all my random digestive issues are all bad luck. I do not have a clinical diagnosis of Celiac disease, just what my doctor referred to as a serious gluten sensitivity. That basically means that when I eat gluten, I feel extremely sick and it causes a physical reaction in my body, but it does not cause long-term damage the way Celiac does. That’s the good news! The bad news is that I do have gastritis, some bleeding, and inflammation throughout my digestive tract and they don’t know why. There’s always no way to know why my gall bladder up and failed, why I have had such major reflux issues (requiring surgery a few years ago), or what might happen next. My doctor thinks the current issues could be a result of having to eat gluten for those 6 weeks and not being on a strict enough gluten-free diet before, but he also placed me on Nexium to help resolve the issues in the mean time. So, it’s been back to gluten-free for me for about 2 weeks and I’m starting to feel a lot better. I’ll have a follow up in November and we’ll go from there. Sorry if that is way too much information, but I hate vague blogging so I wanted to tell you guys what’s up as soon as I knew!
The entire past few weeks has gotten me thinking about how I think of myself and how I frame certain situations. I think there are several factors at play, some of which I have addressed in comments on previous posts. For one, it is hard for me to let go, relax, or say no to certain things in part because I have always defined myself based on the things I accomplish and achieve. For better or worse, that was the emphasis in my family and where I grew up – people were defined by what they did and how well they did it, and not really who they were as people (not to say that that didn’t matter, but it came across as being of secondary importance. For an example of this at work, please refer to Donald Trump). As a result, I have a hard time finding value in “Danielle the person” if Danielle the person is not out actively doing and achieving things. I would hate myself if I didn’t care about my job and then just went home and laid on my couch til I went to sleep. That’s just a big part of who I am.
But on the other hand, of course, there has to be balance. No one can achieve everything, and I know that, logically. There may come a point when I am disabled or otherwise incapable of “achieving” things that have traditionally defined success for me, and then what will I have? Nothing. So I have to figure out how to be engaged and passionate about what I do without making those things who I am. And that’s easier said than done, at least for me.
I also realize that some things I have been stressed about, such as freelance obligations or my schedule at the barre studio, are made exponentially worse by my extreme anxiety with saying “no” to things. I know my responses are not rational. These situations in themselves are probably not that big of a deal, but having to tell people “no” gives me a literal panic attack. I have had multiple situations this week when I am asked to do something that I know I cannot do, but I feel paralyzed by this idea that I have to do them or I am a horrible disappointment to the people around me. I think that anxiety is what is really making the situation unbearable, and not my schedule itself. In the past, there have been many times where I have taken on what is probably too much and I should have said no, but I didn’t and just suffered through and survived. Well, this time, my back is against a wall because of work obligations and I truly have no choice but to say no – and I have no ability to do so. I need to learn how to set boundaries in a healthy, meaningful, and productive way without taking my stress out on the people around me, so I am working on doing that slowly and am trying to get better at asking for help when I need it. Trust me, AJ is forcing me to practice. I started by saying “no” to making dinner the other night, so maybe I can get used to this after all.
I’ve continued running these past few weeks, although not quite as much as I had hoped due to time issues. Still, I’ve gotten out there and enjoyed it each time, and I have not felt like I was dying. I’ve decided on my next big running goal and we’ll talk about that when I get back from Nepal (spoiler alert: It’s not a marathon), but for now, I’m content with running for fun and bringing the joy back to it.
The Next Two Weeks
I’ll be in Nepal for nearly two weeks with NO phone service or Wi-Fi! It’s a little scary, to be honest, since even in Nicaragua where I had no internet, I could still talk to AJ on the phone for a couple of minutes a day. In Nepal, there’s nothing where we’ll be! While I had hoped to get a bunch of posts ready for you guys while I was gone, that didn’t quite happen, but it won’t be totally radio silence. I do have some posts scheduled that I’m excited about! Still, there will be no live updates or Instagram posts or anything until I come back and the proverbial photo flood begins. Prepare yourselves.
LEAVE A COMMENT: Any big revelations or life updates that you want to share with me?!