Shit Happens: Real Talk about Serious Health Issues

I told myself I wasn’t going to talk about this here. “It’s too private,” I thought, “and it’s entirely too embarrassing and uncomfortable. …no. Fucking. Way.”

But you know what? That’s selfish of me. What if someone out there is afraid like I’ve been? Too embarrassed to see a doctor and talk about what’s going on, too afraid of receiving terrible news. What if someone reads my words and, as a result, looks after his or her own health? It hasn’t been too terribly long since I would have been (genuinely) willing to die before seeing a doctor. Embarrassment and shame do voodoo on the psyche. But I’ve recently got some awesome people in my life (you know who you are, and you know how I feel) – and this community is priceless. Fucking priceless. And you have lifted me up, encouraged me and offered me a world of new perspectives. Shouldn’t I try to do the same?

Shit happens, and the sooner I learn how to roll with it better, the more chill my life will be. And I’m a chill dude, man. It’s one of the few things I like about myself: I’m chill as fuck. So yeah, why not spill my embarrassing health issue – that shouldn’t be embarrassing at all, because it’s the human body and sometimes it fucks up, or we fuck it up – and maybe, just maybe, being candid about it will help someone. The more willing we are to speak openly about the things that scare or embarrass us, the better prepared we will be to move forward and heal. Knowledge is power, but it takes communication to gain that knowledge. Let us communicate.

If you’re squeamish, back away now. Back away. And if you’re not, then you’re about to see another layer to the title I used.

~

I have a lot of health problems. I’d say each of them is not a big deal, but stacking them all together gives me really bad days sometimes. But I’ve learned to deal, push it out of my mind, compartmentalize the fuck out of things, and keep on keeping on. Granted, I’m not always very good at it, but for the most part I try not to dwell on things.

Lately I’ve been seriously kicking ass. For me. I’ve been on a really good track to improve my life, and I’m getting good feedback and results. Personally, professionally, whatever. I’ve been hesitantly optimistic.

Did I say I’ve been kicking ass? I have been. Fuck it, I’ll own it. I’m nowhere near where I need to be. I’m only just beginning. But we all have to start somewhere.

Only now, my ass is kicking me. Yeah. You read that right. Are you ready? I’ve given more than enough intro, and now I’m just stalling. Let’s go…

~

My latest health issue started about three weeks ago. Or at least, I think it did. (I’ll explain that part shortly.) I went to the bathroom. I had to, you know………………fuck, I’m so embarrassed. Fuck it. Fuck it. Let’s do this. I had to shit, right? Everyone has to shit. No big deal.

Except, there was blood.

It was only a tiny amount, though. And it was bright red. It’s not the first time that’s happened, so I’ve read about it. It’s a hemorrhoid. Simple, whatever. I pissed the fucker off, and it bled a little. Little bastard. Case dismissed.

Except, it got worse.

Over the course of a week, the tiny bit of blood grew into a small amount of blood, which then grew into a semi-scary amount of blood. Only semi-scary, though. At this point, I knew I should see a doctor. I was semi-scared, for fucks sake. But who the fuck wants to go to their doctor and say, “Yo doc, there’s blood coming out of my asshole! What’s good, homeslice?”

Yeah, not me. So I ignored it and told myself that it would go away. The thing is, you remember that bit I said earlier? That “I think it” started three weeks ago? Yeah. That bit right there. For much longer than that, I’ve been having…problems…going…to the bathroom. It’s either one or the other: I can’t go, and it hurts like a bitch…or it’s like a motherfucking faucet. Either way, I’ve been having severe abdominal cramps. Mhm. So it has occurred to me that whatever this is…could very well have started much longer than three weeks ago. Fuck, I hope not.

Anyway. I fucking ignored it. Because that’s what I do. I stick my head in the sand and pretend the bad shit isn’t happening. And I carry on smiling and laughing and cracking smartass remarks in very poor taste. Because that’s what I do. Deny, deny, deny. And carry on not taking care of myself, dumping shitty (haha that’s punny) food in my body, wallowing in bed and wasting my life away.

And now I’m paying for it. Even if it’s nothing, I’m suffering at the moment, and most likely because of my abuse of my body.

So the next week, you’ll never guess what happened! You’ll never guess! You guessed it, didn’t you? Yeah. Shit got worse. (Heh. I did it again. SHIT got worse. Get it?) It got to the point where I’d have an urge to shit. My body’s telling me I gotta go, and it makes my abdomen rumble and cramp, and it’s urgent. It feels urgent. I go to the bathroom, and what comes pouring out? Shit?

Blood.

Just. Blood. Copious amounts of blood. And it’s not as brightly colored anymore. It’s still relatively bright, but I tell myself…”just give it a bit more time. This is nothing. It will go away. You’ve just really really pissed Hank off.” (That’s the name of my friend’s asshole, but I’m stealing it.) I pissed Hank off, nothing more. No fucking way will I go to the doctor about this. I’ll fucking bleed to death first.

So the first week, I ignored it as best I could. The second week, I became terrified. The amount of blood filling up the bowl scared me. And it wasn’t bright anymore. I was barely shitting at all. For the most part, when I went to the toilet, it was Only Blood. The third week (this one), I had to start lining my underwear. Yeah. That fucking bad.

Yesterday, I went to the bathroom three times with that problem. Oh. And coupled with the blood loss, I’ve been experiencing significant dizziness, drastically increased fatigue, some disorientation, etc. Very woozy, all the time, and I have little to no appetite.

I called the doctor.

I had made a promise to call the doctor yesterday, and not only did I have to keep it, but I had finally gotten scared enough to seek treatment. The doctor got me in right away. The nurse said she’d call me back..she called me back within five minutes and asked if I could be there in fifteen. I texted my boss and left.

I told the doctor everything. He asked some questions pertaining to pain (location and severity), color of the blood, shitting schedule, etc. After I’d answered all of his questions, he said,

“You need a colonoscopy.”

I cried a little. Just a couple tears, and I practically whispered, “What about other tests first, like a stool sample?” (I’ve been researching…) And he calmly, quietly repeated,

“You need a colonoscopy.”

He sent me across the street to the hospital, to test for anemia. I bypassed admissions, no check in, no paperwork, and went straight to the lab where I was seen ahead of everyone and immediately. I don’t mind saying I cried all the way out of the hospital and all the way home. The urgency did more to scare me than anything else.

I got the results of the blood work today. In a bit of good news, I was told I haven’t gone anemic. Whew.

I have a colonoscopy Tuesday morning. I have to be there at 5 AM. And because of the prep that has to be done beforehand (drinking a tanker truck of vile liquid and subsequently shitting your brains out for hours on end), I’ll have to take both Monday and Tuesday off work.

I’m scared. Yesterday, I was really fucking scared. I shed a lot of tears. And then I got immense encouragement, which I am endlessly grateful for.

~

Here’s where I’m at now:

It could be lots of things. I could have a tear. I could have irritable bowel disease. I could have Crohn’s (don’t think so on that one). I could have angry polyps or some shit (ha). I could have colon cancer. (I watched one of the most important people in the world to me slowly die of colon cancer. He was diagnosed at 44 and passed away at 46. It wrecked me, and I’ve lived in terror of it ever since.)

Simple or complex, odds are very good that it’s something treatable. In which case, I get it treated, I heed the wake-up call and take better care of myself, and I go on about my life – more mindful than before.

And if it’s terminal, which my mind can’t help but wonder, then that will be alright, too. I’ll sell my house, quit my job, try to raise some funds, and I’ll travel and adventure until I drop dead with a smile on my face.

I can wallow in bed, feeling sorry for myself, or I can live. I choose life, regardless of the test results.

As for today, I’m going to my storage unit after work to pick up my camera. I said I’d do that today. It will be good for me. It will give me more reasons to get out of the house. Go find something beautiful and interesting, photograph it. Get back to what I used to do: finding something beautiful each and every day.

And hopefully some time next week, I’ll find out exactly what’s going on and what the next step is.

~

If there’s something you’re scared of, something you don’t want to face, especially if it’s something that presents a danger to your mind or body, it’s worth the risk to say something.

The doctor is not going to laugh at you.

Real friends will not laugh at you.

You will be encouraged. You will receive help. You will feel better. And you will know that shame and embarrassment are merely other forms of fear.

You’re worth it. There’s too much left to do. Your story doesn’t end here.

There are mountains to climb, oceans to swim, photographs to take, trains to ride, planes to jump out of, people to embrace, stories to hear, stories to tell, raucous belly laughs at vulgar jokes, souls to touch, music to dance to.

Confide in someone, be encouraged and seek help. Go to the ass doctor. Go to the gynecologist. Go to whatever doctor grabs your nuts and makes you cough. Get a finger stuck up your ass. Have satan’s claws shoved up your ladybits. Seek. Help. Now.

Your story doesn’t end here.

Now let’s dance.

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79 thoughts on “Shit Happens: Real Talk about Serious Health Issues

  1. Excellent message. We all need to be aware and vigilant about our health. I can imagine how difficult it had to be to write this, so I applaud your bravery in telling your story.

    You’re right-real friends will encourage you, and hang with you every step of the way.

    You already know.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thanks for sharing this. I have a very high risk for colon cancer and have to get checked out regularly (which is abnormal for my age but the risk is too high) so I don’t mess around with my shit. Or maybe I do? Like I don’t touch it but I have to mess around with it to make sure it’s healthy (as in look at it closely etc etc), I digress. More people have died from colon disease because they were embarrassed than most other diseases I would think. It’s a shame, so thanks for sharing, people should not be embarrassed about this stuff and the more we share about it the less embarrassing it is. Best of luck and I’m sure it’s something treatable or hopefully minor.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Craig. Age certainly deters people as well – you hear all the time that you don’t need one before 50, sometimes 40. I’m 35, and I’m probably past due for one.

      It was hell to talk about, but it seemed important to do.

      Thank you…and I hope you stay healthy. Good on you for staying vigilant.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah I’m 26 and have to get checked regularly because of genetics. For me it’s more of a ‘when’ I get colon cancer not an ‘if’ so need to be sure to catch it early and get it hacked out (not to be too morbid, it’s actually a pretty light topic in my family because pretty much all of us over 30 have had it and are still kicking ).

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, that is pretty much awful. I’m sending good thoughts your way. Hopefully it’s something easily treated, like an aggravated tear or something. Sending lots of love. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Dear Steph , dancing with you and for you 🙂
    And for me too 😉
    We got the alert , we acted on it ( yes , after too much dithering and denial and hoping for “it will resolve by itself , it’s nothing” ) , and now you are doing a very positive job of alerting others to pay attention when something is not quite right and getting it checked out .
    Nothing that ever happens with our bodies is shameful specially not to doctors , no we are not bothering others or being inconvenient ,and no we should not wait until it is convenient for everyone here and on the Moon to take a few hours to go to the doctor’s .
    Good wishes and a big big hug (no touch … it’s a thought hug 😉 special for non-huggers 🙂
    (the scared and dithering Turtle)

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Very good point about inconvenience. I’m bad about that, too…I don’t want to inconvenience anyone or become burdensome. It’s not a healthy perspective.

      Thank you and no more dithering. We’re in it together!

      Thought hugs! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m one of those people who doesn’t think matters of health are TMI, and even I think you’re brave to post this, especially your contradictions in knowing something was wrong and pretending it wasn’t. I have been there. It’s bound to be scary. I have had some scary medical procedures, even painful ones. But I am still here. 🙂 Modern medicine and all that good stuff 🙂
    I can safely say I’d be suffering and dying now if I’d put it off any longer, because I totally relate to lying to myself and thinking ignoring problems will surely fix them. So human.
    Glad you’re scheduled for investigation of your colon, and I sure hope it’s an easy fix. (((gentle hugs)))

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Joey and hugs…I’m so glad you’ve been attentive to your health. Gah, I didn’t want to post this. But I felt I needed to precisely because I was ashamed to.

      Thank you for your encouragement. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  6. No health problem should be considered embarrassing. It is what it is, and human beings, as much as we like to think of ourselves as indestructible, are fragile as fuck. It’s good you’re getting this looked at, no matter what it turns out to be. Good thoughts comin your way. 😊

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Good luck with it, Steph. ❤️ And thanks for sharing, I hope it encourages someone to go handle their business! I’m awful about putting things off forever, but 2016 is slowly becoming the year I get most of the crap that’s been bothering me checked out.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m very similar, in that I ignore issues, but I’m afraid of answers. My husband has a fair number of physical pain issues, and I also feel like I need to be the strong one. Which makes my ignoring or downplaying of things completely ass backward!! But I make it make sense in my head! Lol

    Thank you so much for sharing! I totally agree – if we just be real and speak about things, maybe it will not only help ourselves build acceptance and courage to continue to seek help, but maybe others, too.

    I wish you luck, Steph! 💜

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Kay! I was terrified of answers, too. But now that I finally got scared enough to go to the doctor, I’m feeling a strange sense of comforting calm about Tuesday. I’m ready for answers so I’ll know what comes next. Maybe it’s something super simple. Either way, wake-up call. I keep having those. I should probably wake up. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. they pulled out the normal stuff
        for my age, I’m 62
        There was stuff in my stomach
        I’m still waiting to hear the results
        The Dr did say he didn’t see anything to usual
        But you never know
        The fear was mostly in my head
        when I made up my mind to do this the rest was easy
        We all over think all the Dr stuff
        If you let go like you’ve been doing Toasty
        It all will be good,ok
        Sheldon

        Liked by 1 person

      2. There’s a lot of truth to that – it’s mostly in our heads. There’s often very little actual foundation or veracity for our fears.

        But hey…maybe we’re figuring out this life thing, eh?

        I’m glad to hear it’s mostly okay. I’ll be glad to hear it’s ALL okay.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. ❤️ {{{HUGS}}} ❤️ And you might want to open the bottles a bit before you get weak from not eating. Hubby was working and I almost didn’t get that last bottle of yucky stuff you need to drink open. The drinks the hard part, the colonoscopy is forgettable. You really don’t remember it. I’m old and have had two with nothing wrong. 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HUGS! Thank you, Carol Mae! That’s a fantastic idea about the bottles. I already struggle with things like that because of arthritis issues that make my hands weak and painy sometimes. So I’ll definitely break the seals before I get even weaker. That is a fantastic tip!

      I’m looking forward to it. Not necessarily the crapping my brains out part, but even that…whatever. I’ve been through worse. I’m looking forward to the test. Since I’ll be knocked out, I’ll never know if they looked upon me in disgust. Who. Cares. I’m anxious for answers. I hope hope hope I don’t have to wait long for them! ❤

      Like

    1. Haha! So much ass talk lately. I just told my boss something is a “pain in the ass,” and I nearly choked because of the turn of phrase I used. 😀

      Thank you so so much, Daisy. That really means a lot to me.

      Like

  10. Good luck, Steph! Hope all goes well, and it’s something not too serious. Even if it turns out to be something more than not too serious, sending encouragement and a virtual hug. You can do this, and no matter what happens, we’re all here for you (yeah, I know that doesn’t help when “here” is somewhere on the world wide web, but maybe knowing we’re out here is enough).

    Liked by 2 people

  11. OK, I really should tell you my colonoscopy stories, because they’re kind of funny. In brief, the prep is way harder than the test. That was hard for me because I’m always cold and I was absolutely shuddering after downing glass after glass of icy cold salt water. Next time I’m mixing it with clear broth and drinking it warm.

    I will share that, after my last one, the hubs walked in to me telling the doctor an elaborate story about a giant burrito. Fast forward to going home – the kids wanted to eat corn dogs so I started looking for them – in my purse.

    Oh, and the next day I was at work, and went into my purse and found a big handful of…exam gloves? I texted the hubs and he responds “yeah, that was hilarious.” Apparently on my way out I started looting the place. HAHAHAHA

    Once you get home you will take the BEST NAP EVER. Promise. And hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. YES PLEASE DO THIS.

        Oh, after the colonoscopy, they don’t let you go home until you…break wind. I guess they want to ensure they didn’t leave anything up there? That is why the hubs had to come up later. No way was he gonna hear my bowel tuba play a Sousa march.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. You kill me with your story telling. I’m dying here. But, your message is crystal clear…take care of your health and trust that it will work out. You can’t worry about the unknown. Hell, the known is both scary and enjoyable. I’m happy you went to the doctor and can’t wait to hear how you’re fine.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Even if you are a fitness professional. Even if you have no symptoms that you are aware of.
    Even if you are in fantastic shape. Even if you eat so tight that people roll their eyes at you, you can still have issues. I had colon cancer. This might be you, it might not be you. Thank God you are getting checked. Whatever it is, you will at least know the facts.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I have a serious, chronic, incurable disease that has made me doctor phobic. Too many bad doctors, not enough treatment options. So I get it. Definitely get it. And I am SO GLAD you went anyway. Even if it turns out to be nothing I’m glad, and you will be too (in fact you’ll be doubly glad if it’s nothing!). I want to say I’m proud of you without sounding condescending. Is there an expression for that? Good job.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jay – doesn’t sound condescending at all. I appreciate it. 🙂

      There are way too many bad doctors and poor treatment options for so many issues. I’ve all but given up on solving my autoimmune issues. I don’t think my current diagnoses are correct, and they only wanna throw drugs at me – drugs that are not helping.

      So sorry to hear that you struggle and fear doctors, too. It makes tough situations even more difficult.

      Like

  15. I was thinking , you were recently on a number of powerful medications. Perhaps this problem could be a potent side effect related to that?
    In any event, you have my best wishes and I hope all goes well for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi and thank you. 🙂

      I’ve been wondering about that. I’ve taken myself off all of the new meds (except one to help me sleep), and this started immediately subsequent to stopping them. Makes me wonder….

      Thank you so much for the perspective and the well wishes.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Been there. Turned out to be nothing – anal fissure (which sounds suspiciously like there are fish swimming around in my anus – probably pirhanas, hence all the bleeding). The colonoscopy itself won’t hurt a bit, but the bowel prep will suck unholy balls. Get some Sprite to wash down the evil stuff you’ll have to drink. Seriously, sip the evil stuff, don’t breathe in, sip the Sprite, then breathe. Kind of like a chaser after a shot. It’ll go down more easily and you’re less likely to puke it back up. And make sure you’ve got whatever you’ll want to munch on after the procedure already at home so you don’t have to go to the grocery store or anywhere else in public immediately after – you’ll be starving after not eating for 24 hours. Hang in there, and keep us posted.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Emily. I really appreciate you sharing and offering tips. I don’t actually have anything to drink at home but water and almond milk. So I’m super glad you mentioned that. I need to take care of that this weekend.

      I’m gonna try holding my nose and chugging. What do you think? 😀 Probably a mistake, huh?

      Thank you again…and I’ll definitely give an update.

      Like

  17. Very brave for posting this Steph and I know all will be well.
    I had this self same thing happen to me and ended up having to go to the doctor and being checked out and all was well. He told me that if it was cancer the blood would be very dark and it was much more likely to be something entirely different. I must confess I have not had any issues since I stopped a great deal of my medication and I began to eat healthily so for these reasons I am confident it is something but nothing that troubles you and they will be sure to solve it and all will be well.
    Sure a little bit of embarrassment but how bad is that compared to piece of mind?
    Best to you.

    Cam 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, you’re absolutely right. Thank you so much for sharing. The good news is that…for now…it has stopped. Stopped a couple days ago – now there’s just abdominal pain that hasn’t gone away. I know I need a serious dietary overhaul, and I did come off all of my psych meds. Interestingly enough, this all started almost immediately after doing so!

      And you’re right – the only thing I’m really dreading is drinking the foul liquid. The rest of it, I’m actually okay with. I want some answers. It’s a good place to be. I’m frankly quite shocked I’m not nearly paralyzed with fear and nerves. But I’m pretty chill and pragmatic about it. It’s a nice change for me. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. STEPHELLANEOUS i hope all is well. Thank you for sharing. health is important! hense why I post about ways we can make ourselves healthier. Feel free to check it out. I will follow you to see more posts like this.

    Britt
    millennialsurvivalblog.wordpress.com/blog

    Like

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