I'm feeling actually... sort of... GOOD! I feel the old Han-nah coming back. I'm starting to feel like myself. My dad and I took a walk around the neighborhood tonight, and I feel tremendously blessed to be able to enjoy the cool fall air, and to be able to walk without my joints bugging me! Just a few weeks ago, I could barely make it up the driveway because my joints were so stiff, I had so little energy, and was so very sick.
I'm still having sharp pain a time or two each day, but it is usually lasting for less than an hour and is very manageable with the pills -- so, so much better, praise God. The pain specialist did come back and suggest a low-dose antidepressant that would probably help with the pain. Since the pain seems to be going away, I'm reluctant to add into the mix another med I'd need to go on and eventually taper off. I decided to hold off on taking it, but it's nice to know what the next step might be should this continue or worsen again. The doctors all continue to iterate that this is quite rare, mysterious, unexpected, and unusual. Hopefully it is going away for good!
The doctors recommended that I plan to take it easy and lie around for another week. I asked them if I'd hurt anything by going back to school next week. They said I wouldn't, but I could expect to feel very tired. I plan to talk with my advisor and Campus Life tomorrow, see what they think, and email my professors. Tentatively, I'd like to try to just make it to class this coming week, then try to see if I can catch up after that. We'll see what my advisor and professors say. At this point, I really have no clue what I can expect - if I'll be able to finish the semester or not, if I can finish some classes but not others, if I can still graduate in May... but I'll leave that in God's hands. He will give me the grace to deal with whatever outcome, and I'm confident He will glorify Himself through this situation.
The doctor did unequivocally state that I have to hold off on the weight lifting for several more weeks... sad day. I mean, I was hoping to beat my previous deep squat record before Thanksgiving. And what will become of my biceps of steel?? In reality, long-term, I'm looking forward to hopefully enjoying greater energy, nutrition, and an arthritis-free existence that will allow me to work out again!
More happy news: I am able to eat anything I feel like eating! Salad, fruit, ice cream are probably my favorite things right now -- for the last two years, I've been unable to eat those foods. I pretty much lived on simple carbs and chicken. Sometimes I lived on a completely liquid diet. Every now and then, I'd just try to be normal, go have fun and eat out or eat stuff outside my "safe" foods, but they always made me hurt and feel sick. I mean, even chicken and rice made me sick. Even when I did get hungry, everything I put in my mouth made me feel bad. By this fall, I could hardly keep enough food in me to take my meds. I'm incredibly thankful to be able to eat again! I still eat pretty slowly, and I still feel a little self-conscious when I eat, for some reason, but it's getting better.
Possible overshare for those of you who are interested: managing Squirt (my ileostomy) is no problem or trouble at all. If you have any questions about him or anything, please feel free to ask. I know it's a lil' gross, but if you're curious, feel free to ask. I don't care. ;) He is much easier to deal with than ulcerative colitis, and I'd be perfectly content to keep him for the rest of my life. To be able to
b) process food,
c) not have to constantly run to the bathroom, and
d) be free from the constant pain and feeling sick, dizzy, and tired
is simply unbelievable. Unbelievable. I can't even express it. It may sound stupid, but please don't ever take stuff like that for granted, folks. I don't think I even realized how sick I felt all the time until I started feeling better after surgery.
Well, I'll continue posting updates, so if you want to, keep checking back in. Please pray that there will be NO more need for hospital visits until my next surgery (tentatively, sometime in December)!
Please continue to remember my family. They have been through so much and are so very exhausted - physically and emotionally - at this point. Pray that God will just allow them to rest and be restored - body, mind, and soul. Pray also that God will somehow use my illness and surgeries to deepen their knowledge of Jesus.
I know I keep saying this, but each prayer and comment and note and call and meal and flower and visit is so encouraging. Thank you, truly.