I have Gastroesohageal Reflux Disease (GERD). I had asked my doctor if she could switch me from Prilosec for to Zantac about a year and a half ago and it’s been down hill ever since. I’ve been having the worst stomach pain for over a year but hoped it would go away on its own. It did not. A few weeks ago, I finally went in for an upper endoscopy and a colonoscopy on the same day.
When I awoke I was surprised in my groggy state to learn they took several biopsies of my esophagus and stomach, as well as 2 polyps from my colon. The reason being was that the doctor had found severe burns in my stomach, moderate burns in my lower esophagus and the polyps looked suspicious. Anxiety and stress does a lot of harm to the body apparently.
The next day as I tried to eat, I could feel every spot where they biopsied as the food passed along its course. It was quite painful
The results came back 2 weeks later that all the biopsies looked okay except for the polyps which were pre-cancerous. The doctor said I really needed to lower my stress and anxiety, eat healthier, and to start taking better care of myself.
His words echoed in my head,”take care better care of yourself.”
Self-care. It’s a foreign concept to me. I’ve nearly always been the caregiver. What is self-care all about anyway? I began to scour the web for information on the topic, but wasn’t finding pages with concrete ideas that I could personally relate with.
I am someone who is struggling with anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. A few suggestions I came across were: making time to exercise for at least a half hour a day. Treating oneself to a facial or massage. Sitting in front of a mirror and saying positive affirmations to oneself like, “you are attractive and worthwhile.” I tried the mirror thing it just felt felt weird and contrived. These particular suggestions didn’t feel like they fit for my damaged self.
I believe I’m stuck at the very bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I still suffer from horrible insomnia, I’m eating improperly, and on really bad days I’m even dehydrated. It seems like I’ve traded self-care for faking my way through life so people can’t see how broken I am. (Bad shit does that to ya)
I gave it some more thought and figured I’d start my self-care goal out a little more basic. I’m going to start working on taking my medication the doctor gave me as it’s prescribed (okay, well maybe not the Zoloft). After all, I don’t want my stomach to keep getting burned.
For anyone else out there like me, wanting to change and learn how to care for themselves but not sure how? My advice would be to start small. Start at the bottom of the pyramid. Self-care doesn’t “have” to be some time consuming or expensive endeavor as I once thought. You can pick an area with which you’ve been struggling and decide to make one tiny change that you can do everyday to care better care of you.
Go ahead and give it a try because you deserve it and you are worth it!