Well I suppose that’s a good question. The short answer is that my body has been stressed out enough for long enough that the check for me to chill out has come due. The long answer is slightly more complicated and a little gross so read on at your own risk.
I’ve had a substantial GI bleed since May of 2019. Because of my weird-ass bodily unfunctions, bleeds aren’t entirely abnormal for me – I’ve had known but unnamed gastrointestinal issues since I was a teenager. But this bleed was consistent and heavy – think getting your period out of your butt – and after a few weeks I went to see my GI specialist to see what was up. My doc was concerned but chill, scoped me immediately, and gave me steroids with the suggestion that I slow down a little bit.
I took those steroids (on a trip across the country 🤦) and things started to improve, but after a month and a bout of food poisoning the bleed returned. That was the beginning of August, which was…hectic: Worldcon in Dublin, my grandmother died, and then I started school. I made it through the first week of classes by the skin of my teeth: I couldn’t eat anything solid and I was taking the highest dose of my pain killers every day and passing substantial amounts of blood more than a dozen times a day. So, to the ER I went. The day before Labor Day. It was the right and the wrong choice. I needed a level of care that our local hospital couldn’t give me.
After four days, several procedures, several sets of lost labs and no answers, I checked myself out. The procedures confirmed that I had pancolitis – inflammation and damage to the entire colon – but nobody could agree what was causing it. I went home with a pile of pills and tried to recover. After six days it was clear that I wasn’t getting any better so I headed to a hospital in Manhattan that my doctor recommended. It is a much better hospital.
I’ve had half a dozen procedures since being admitted and have now been diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. It’s nice to have a name for the mystery that’s been stalking my stomach for the last decade, but the diagnosis doesn’t actually come with concrete answers just yet. I needed a blood transfusion on Wednesday and tonight I’ll start an infusion of immunosuppressants that will hopefully reduce the inflammation and shredding of my colon which is still ongoing.
The last two weeks have been really rough. I’ve been in a lot of pain, and honestly, I’ve been really scared. I’m still scared. No matter what after all of this is done I’m going to have to make some life changes. I don’t know when I’ll be out of the hospital, I don’t know when I’ll be able to go back to school, and I don’t know how I’m supposed to just….go slow.
So, that’s it for now. I don’t have a bow to wrap things up with. I’ll do my best to keep ya’ll updated as things happen but uh, things are messy and hard and probably will be for a while. If you’d like to help from afar, my partner Sara put together a small GoFundMe to help with small incidentals (we’re going to need to order out more because I am literally too weak to open our fridge) or if you’d like to visit me (at the hospital or at home) please reach out to Will.
I am deeply, deeply grateful for all of the love and support and cat photos that you’ve all sent my way. I look forward to sending it all back to you as soon as I can.