Good News, Bad News, and What We Don’t Talk About

13 Sep 2022

Last Wednesday was a day of celebration in the Wednesday household. My younger daughter passed her driving test. Not only did she pass first time, but with flying colours. It was a triumph, and we were all thrilled!

While my daughter was driving around Cambridge, I was in hospital, receiving some bad news.

I need to back up a little way.

A while back, I became aware something was wrong, and it’s a wrong we don’t like to talk about. We all have a digestive system. Food goes in at one end, is processed and then comes out as waste the other end. We all love food. We talk about food, write about food and share food. The other end – not so much. Nobody likes to mention it; it’s just not nice. So, when something goes wrong, it’s embarrassing; it’s humiliating, and we’d really prefer to ignore it.

It's the sort of thing, however, that should never be ignored because it could be serious.

After three weeks, therefore, when it became obvious this problem was not going to go away, I phoned my GP. The doctor phoned me back the same day, booked me in for blood tests the next day (a Saturday), and before I could turn around, I was in the hospital awaiting the (ahem) procedure. Our NHS is wonderful!

Everyone who has had “the procedure” knows exactly what it is, and most other people can guess. It’s a – draws in a deep breath – colonoscopy.

Now, as an aside, if ever you need this done, my advice is, don’t eat anything for a week beforehand. In fact, don’t eat anything for a month beforehand! Your insides need to be squeaky clean, so you drink something the day before to ensure you have absolutely nothing left inside. By the end of this, I’m sure I was eliminating food I ate next year!

On the day, the lovely team of people were reassuring. It wasn’t cancer. It was probably an irritation caused by stress. I was given a prescription for a steroid foam (no – you don’t want to know how it’s administered – you really don’t) and sent away.

Last Wednesday, at my follow-up appointment, it was not such good news. It’s not just irritation, it’s ulcerative colitis – and it will never go away. I have it for life.

They gave me a leaflet, and it made grim reading.

The thing that struck me most, however, were words from someone who lives with the condition. She says, “Be self-aware and find out everything you can. It’s easier if you can simply see it as part of you – and deal with it in a positive way.”

That’s exactly what I say to all of us who live with depression and bipolar disorder. It was still, however, hard to read.

I’m slowly coming to terms with it. I hope to manage it so my life is not severely impacted, but I must be prepared for flare-ups when things will become more difficult. When I think about it, I still get upset.

So, I’m working on acceptance and positivity. Writing about it here is a start.


A Moodscope member.

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