Welcome to the sixteenth day of the 2020 Love Blog Challenge! Today’s prompt is Forgiveness. Check out the announcement post for all the prompts and rules this month. You can still join the link-up for Friday’s topic, Vulnerability.
Earlier this month, I wrote about authentic blogging.
Last week, I wrote about vulnerable conversations.
In the spirit of both, here is me, authentic and vulnerable, as I share the worst mistake of my entire life.
I Made My Crohn’s Disease Worse
I can be incredibly stubborn at times.
It’s not my fault. Just meet anyone on my mom’s side of the family, and you’ll see that I’m actually quite open to changing my mind. I’m even willing to admit when I’m wrong!
But I do have a stubborn streak that dangerously intermingles with my pride.
Thankfully, time and experience have tempered both traits over the years. This is in large part because I’m still paying for the last time I was stupid and stubborn and too prideful to ask for help.
The year was 2013. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), I could remain on my parents’ health insurance until I turned 26, which happened in June 2013. After that, I would need my own health insurance… But insurance companies denied coverage to anyone with a preexisting condition. That wouldn’t change until 2014.
I was working two jobs. My first job actually paid just enough for my expenses (and savings), but it didn’t offer any benefits. I needed a second job for health insurance. My second job offered crappy coverage (that would no longer be allowed in 2014), but it was better than nothing.
My parents’ health insurance only covered out-of-state care for emergencies. Otherwise I needed to visit in-network doctors in South Carolina.
I lived in Ohio.
My crappy coverage didn’t cover specialist care.
So I didn’t see a gastroenterologist for my Crohn’s, for a really long time. My August 2011 colonoscopy had been clean, and my July 2012 follow-up appointment was fine, with my lab work all being normal.
But as I slowly killed myself working two jobs, my health slowly deteriorated.
(Shocking, I know).
My arrival of symptoms was slow, to the point that I barely noticed them. I only recognized one symptom as an issue–my inability to gain weight. But I figured that as long as I wasn’t losing more weight, I was fine.
I wasn’t fine.
I only called off sick from my first job if I had a bad cold. When I suffered from abdominal pain, I would call off sick from my second job, but still put in a full day at my first job, just from my apartment.
I would go to both of my jobs when vomiting, as long as I wasn’t throwing up more than once per hour. (This was always Crohn’s, never a virus, and yes, I know the difference).
Believe it or not, I honestly didn’t realize how sick I was. Like I said, the symptoms were incredibly gradual.
But I was still smart enough, with my history of Crohn’s, to know that I should see a gastroenterologist at least annually. And yet, I didn’t.
I didn’t because I couldn’t afford to 1) take time off work 2) pay for it.
Also, I didn’t see a gastroenterologist because I was too stubborn and too prideful to 3) ask Dan or my parents for help.
And because of that, my Crohn’s slowly deteriorated, leading to the long-term damage I’m still dealing with today.
That is why I need forgiveness. I caused potentially irreparable harm to myself because I wouldn’t ask for help. I am unable to be the full partner to my husband that I aspire to be, all because I couldn’t ask him for help before we were married.
That is why I need forgiveness. That, and my failure to see a gastroenterologist in 2014.
At least my mistakes in 2014 are easier to forgive.
When I finally had my own health insurance through the marketplace, I was focused on finding anyone to prescribe me hormonal contraception before my wedding. (This task was so difficult that I burst into tears on two separate occasions after yet another medical practice told me they weren’t taking any new patients). Not getting pregnant was my immediate concern. I figured after the wedding, and after our three wedding receptions, I would have time to choose a new gastroenterologist.
Except then my mom was diagnosed with cancer.
And then I was in the ER for a stomach virus. (See, I told you I know the difference).
And then my grandmother entered hospice care.
In a single week, my grandmother died, my twin brother got married, and my husband lost his job.
2014 was a year of incredibly high highs (marrying Dan!) and the absolute lowest of lows.
And again, I didn’t know I was that sick. Not until Thanksgiving, when I spent days throwing up, and an emergency visit to my gastroenterologist revealed I had lost 12 pounds since May.
In 2015, I finally moved to Georgia and started seeing my current gastroenterologist. My colonoscopy and MRE revealed severe inflammation in my small intestine.
And even though my small intestine has improved somewhat since then, I still have inflammation, plus a stricture in the section where the inflammation healed.
Forgiving myself has been hard. I’ve spent years sick, dealing with pain and fatigue, because I was too stubborn and prideful to ask for help. I’m not living the life I want to live, because I didn’t prioritize my health.
True repentance, Christian or otherwise, isn’t just asking for forgiveness and moving on. It requires heartfelt regret and a commitment to doing better.
Forgiving myself for not taking care of my body in the past means I have to take care of my body today.
I can’t undo the mistake I made many years ago, but I can avoid making the same mistake again.
That is why I let myself rest. That is why I focus on healing, even when I want to do so many other things. It’s the only way I can move on from my transgressions in the past.
Meet Your 2020 Love Blog Challenge Hosts!
Brita Long is the pink and sparkly personality behind the Christian feminist lifestyle blog, Belle Brita. On her blog and social media, you’ll discover more than authentic storytelling–she’s brutally honest about pursuing a fulfilling and joyful life even with Crohn’s Disease and depression.
Laura is a part-time artist hoping to go full time some day. She has a little black bucket list book filled with adventures. She writes with the hope to inspire. She’s known to be quite the workaholic sometimes. She’s an INTJ-A, and she believes a cup of hot tea can solve almost anything. Laura embraces perseverance. She’s spent a lot of time emerged in self-discovery practices over the last several years, and finds she is still learning as she goes. She is here in the blogging world because she believes the buzz about self-care, wellness, and self-love needs to be heard. You can also find her writing over at www.blogfivebiz.com chatting about blogging and business stuff.
Charlene is a 30 year old wife and fur-mama living in Portland, Oregon. She’s a follower of Christ, watcher of SciFi, reader of fantasy, singer of show tunes, and lover of her husband! She uses her blog, Enduring All Things to help couples build a marriage that will endure whatever comes their way.
I still carry a great deal of guilt with me for my health struggles, but I’m trying to let it go. I’m trying to give myself grace for my need to rest, my need to heal. It’s the only way to forgive myself for pushing my body too hard in the past.