I Am The Captain Of My Soul

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[headline_arial_small_centered color=”#000000″]There Is No Bad Day[/headline_arial_small_centered]

[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]But First Things First, We’re Hungry![/headline_tahoma_small_left]

We stopped at a Thai Restaurant for one last hurrah before making a plunge into the abyss of social exile and extreme dietary weirdness for the rest of our lives.  That’s what it felt like anyway.  And that Thai food tasted sooo good.  I ate a ton of it.  I cleaned my plate.  And then another plate.  I thought I might pay for it in pain and bloating…but I couldn’t resist!  I was overwhelmed.  And it was my last time.  I dare you to try to resist eating the whole plate on your last night of Panang Curry in your entire life.  It’s no easy task!  Especially in a weakened emotional state.

But that was it.  After that meal I was done.  I was going to follow my new Dr’s orders to the T!

That night the whole family was gathering again for movie night.  They loaded the countertop with Peanut M&M’s, Regular M&M’s, five varieties of microwave popcorn, cheddar, kettle corn, caramel corn, regular butter, the works.  Then there was the massive Costco-size leftover pumpkin pie, and the maple frosting covered pound cake.  Oh yeah, and of course a token small plate of carrots and celery which nobody touched.

All of it was off-limits for me, even the carrots and celery because raw hard veggies were still too tough on my system.  Whatever!  I don’t need to eat that junk anyway!  I already had my last hurrah.  I’m just going to watch the movie…I’m not even hungry.

 

[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]90 Minutes Later…[/headline_tahoma_small_left]

After sitting there immersed in the smell of caramel corn and candy, watching everyone chow down on all the ‘goodies’, I rationalized making my way to the kitchen for just a look to make sure there was nothing that had magically appeared that was legal for me to eat now.  I was getting a bit hungry now after all, certainly there was something over there OK for me to eat.

Nope.  Nothing.  Bummer!  Well, I haven’t ‘officially’ started on the Dr’s recommendations anyway, just one little bite of that amazing smelling maple covered pound cake isn’t going to hurt any worse than the Thai food I already ate anyway right?

Moments later a thin little slice of the gooey, sticky, mapley goodness had made its way into my hand and on its way to my mouth.  Mmmmmmm.  Sugar.  Oooohh, that tastes good.

Hmmm, just one more little slice like that couldn’t hurt.  Mmmmm.

You know how the story goes from here I’m sure.  Soon I was scraping the bottom of the popcorn bowl for the last of the caramel drippings.  Pumpkin pie?  You bet!  Oh who cares anymore!  Bring on the M&M’s!!  What?  All the regular chocolate are gone?  Oh whatever!  One more night of peanuts isn’t going to kill me. Well, maybe those are a bit crunchy for my weakened guts…nahhhh.   Mmmmm…peanut M&M’s.  So crunchy, so peanutty, so…chocolatey.

It’s a slippery slope.  And I slid all the way down.  I had a hunch I was setting myself up for some pain…but hunches can be so annoying sometimes, who needs ‘em?

By the time I got to bed that night, my bowels were already locking up.  Uh oh!  This may be a long night.  I popped a couple pre-emptive Percocet, but it got worse.

I may have slept for an hour or so, but mostly I tossed and turned in agony.  About 2 AM everything I came rushing out my mouth in violent convulsions.  Miserable!  Drained…emotionally and physically.  I still had searing pain in my abdomen with every contraction.  It was a fitful night.  But I knew at that point I had to make a serious change.  That pain and vomiting sealed the deal for me.  There was no question in my mind the sugar and refined foods were harmful for me.  I would be a total fool to keep believing the medical doctors after what I just experienced.  I may be a fool, but I’m not a total fool!

After an entire day of nauseous weakness and fasting, I ate my newly prescribed food that next evening:  Cooked, soft organic veggies, with organic meat.  That night I didn’t have any bloating or bowel pain so I didn’t need any pain pills and I actually slept.  Well, that’s an improvement!  But the next day still void of energy, life looked incredibly bleak.  That day we sent Abe to Utah eight hours away to stay with his cousins for a while, even until Christmas if needed.  Nan was going to lose it left alone with him for another week, and I was much too weak to help.  My sister’s service saved us again.

 

[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]Continued Depression[/headline_tahoma_small_left]

Now alone in despairing thought, I desperately needed some outlet.  I wrote this in my journal:

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Sunday November 25, 2012 – Thoughts on Life

It seems daily thoughts of death are on my mind lately.  I find myself silently wishing I were dead instead of still here on this miserable plane of existence.  How is it that my view on life can be so drastically different some moments than others.  I must be experiencing some level of depression and hopelessness.  The thoughts of wanting to die are so opposite of my deeply held belief that this is a truly amazing life.  How do I reconcile the two?  Or how do I get rid of the thoughts of wanting death?

Lately I have been so challenged to see the good and the beautiful all around me.  It has become so easy to see the difficult, the annoying, the frustrating, the painful, the challenging.  And it has become increasingly difficult to direct my thoughts to the positive aspects of life and my situation.  I wish I could say it were opposite of that, but that’s the reality.

So what can be done?  What can I do?  What will I do?  Well, I’m going to start by making a list of all my frustrations and annoyances.  Then I’m going to attempt to write a positive thing or two about each one.

Frustrations and Annoyances Any Positive Things?
I stink and I lack energy to shower. I am humbled by this situation.  I am learning patience.
I’m grossed out every time I empty my ostomy bag.My feces is all black for 2 days. I’m grateful that I have an ostomy bag instead of burning pain in my colon and rectum.
My stomach hurts consistently. My stomach doesn’t hurt as bad as my butt used to hurt.
My appetite is very weak.Almost nothing sounds appetizing.I don’t know what to cook or eat.I’m overwhelmed by my restricted diet. I have the opportunity to learn to cook tons of healthy and delicious things.
I’m annoyed at all the supplements I’m now taking. I’m grateful to have supplements and I’m hopeful that they will help me.
I’m still on an IV and completely dependent one month after surgery.Surgery didn’t seem to solve my diet issues, apparently I have dietary limitations regardless of my colon. I’m grateful for the IV nutrition that is giving me nutrients in this time of recovery.
I am not able to be the parent I want to be. I’m gaining such a deep desire to be a good parent.  I will be a better parent than ever once I’m recovered.
I can’t run, I can hardly walk. I’m gaining a much deeper appreciation for health and vitality.
I want food but I lack energy to make it and I don’t even know what I can eat that won’t make me sick or bloated.I’m kind of MAD that I can’t eat the things I used to eat, like waffles, pancakes, cereal, yogurt, cheese. By learning to eat more healthy I will live a longer more healthy, good feeling life.  I will be blessed by learning to eat what is nutritious rather that just what is easy and tastes good.

What do I have that’s amazing?  What is so worth living for?

My beautiful wife Nan and four amazing children.  God has so richly blessed me with these relationships that are eternal.  I want to be here to love them, serve them, and enjoy this life with them until I am old.

There is so much life yet to experience!  So many places to go and things to see and do.  I want to learn to surf.   I want to see the world with my family.

There are so many people here on earth for me to serve and bless.   I feel that I have light to share and service to give to the world.  It would be a shame and a loss if I didn’t share hope, goodness, light and inspiration with millions of people.  There is so much good to be done, and I can be an instrument in that.  I want to be healthy and well in order to do that.

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It appeared the night may never end, and pain may last forever.  But writing drew the truth from within and acted as a lever.  It pried me from the grasp of fear, and overwhelmed despair.  It lifted me, it comforted, and filled life with fresh air.

There’s a little poem that just popped out for you 😉  I guess I was in ‘poem mode’ as I recalled William Ernest Henley’s immortal poem ‘Invictus’.  It has become a part of my soul and he spoke my feelings best.  His poem gives me courage consistently in dark times.  The truth of the last two lines could not be more empowering, especially knowing he wrote it while recovering from leg amputation from tuberculosis.

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Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

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