Apologies, but I'm feeling the need to interrupt this week's programming (i.e. all the travelling tales) with an update. The results are back, and the specialist is 95% sure that I have Crohn's disease based on the symptoms I've had, biopsies taken, the presence of granulomas in the cells (whatever that means!) and the inflammatory markers in the stool sample I also did just before the colonosocopy.
Surprisingly, I feel totally at peace with the diagnosis. Right now, it just feels so great to actually HAVE a diagnosis.
So, where to from here?
Well, the specialist wants me to take a course of Pentasa (a specific anti-inflammatory drug that is used to treat inflammatory bowel disease) for the next 2 months and then go back to see him at the end of March to see how things are going.
The specialist was in himself very positive and even took the time to mention that Steve Redgrave (the 5 time gold medal winning British Olympic rower) has inflammatory bowel disease and look what he managed to achieve.
It was a good conversation, and I got to ask lots of questions, about diet (which doesn't need to be restrictive although I have a fair idea of the things which tend to make me feel worse anyway), and out whether it will definitely get more severe over time (which it won't necessarily, and it is possible it may go away altogether).
I thought about it a bit over the course of the afternoon after the phone call, and wondered why I didn't feel more gutted or concerned given that I know there are people who have Crohn's who have had a pretty miserable time of it and who continue to do so on an ongoing basis. But I also realise there are so many points on the spectrum with any specific condition or disease and I feel pretty far down the lower end of the spectrum right now.
And besides that, there are these things I know that I know that I know. My God is a great and powerful God, he has my back. He is also a God who heals if that is what is his will. And if it is not, I think of Paul who spoke in the Bible about having 'a thorn in his side' or a handicap and begged for it to be taken away. Instead the Lord said to him "my grace is enough, it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness". And Paul chose his response "now I take my limitations in stride and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size. I just let Christ take over. And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become".
Every difficult situation that comes our way brings with it a gift. That gift is the choice of how we will respond. We can either let it take us down, drowning in the misery of 'woe is me' or we can choose to let our light shine in spite of the circumstances. I still believe my body is an incredible gift from God, flawed though it may be. Let's face it, we are all flawed in different ways, some just more obviously than others. But one day I know I will be with Him in a perfect, healthy body for all eternity. Any troubles I may face in this life, are not even the blink of an eye compared to what is to come.
Thank you God for this precious gift of life held in this unique body. I am fearfully and wonderfully made.