When you’re unhealthy, you’re completely out of commission.
On July 21, after three days of experiencing the most excruciating stomach pain I’ve ever had, I was rushed to Buffalo General’s emergency room by my doctor.
When I got to the emergency room, my mind immediately jumped to the worst case scenario. I started to panic and envision everything that could go wrong, as I full-heartedly believed the nurse practitioner who briefly mentioned the possibility of appendicitis.
In the midst of my panic, I was able to take a step back for a moment and realize I wasn’t helping my case; my mind was my own worst enemy.
My anxiety was only serving to increase my pain, as anxiety can do for most people — especially people with colitis, a disease whose symptoms are exacerbated by stress and anxiety.
The entire experience was a wake up call to remind me that our health (physical, mental and emotional) is the most important thing in life.
Getting carried away envisioning the worst opened my eyes to the importance of choosing the alternative path; seeing the glass as half full — deciding not to worry before there is something to worry about — choosing not to jump to the worst case scenario.
I realized that regardless of what I told myself, regardless of the perspective I chose to have on the situation, the outcome would be the same — I either had appendicitis or I didn’t.
My anxiety wasn’t going to change my diagnosis — but it did change the symptoms I was experiencing in the moment by making them worse.
Hours later, after a few different tests, I was discharged from the emergency room and diagnosed not with appendicitis but with Colitis.
I was bummed upon hearing the diagnosis, as it meant that I had a few more foods to add to the already existent list of foods I can’t eat. And just like I did when I got diagnosed with Celiac, I gave myself a moment to mourn the loss of some of favorite foods that are now my enemy: nuts, seeds, caffeine, raw fish and alcohol.
But it only took a day or so for me to put it in perspective and realize in the grand scheme of things, I’m alive and healthy.
I have since shifted my focus to reducing the stress and anxiety in my life.
I have also found myself enjoying every moment of health and wellness more than I ever have.
Our health is a gift we often take for granted up until the day it is compromised and we’re left to realize how incapable we are of going about our day-to-day lives without it.
When we don’t feel well, we can’t perform well at work, home or play. When we’re sick, we can’t enjoy things in the same way we can when we are healthy.
Unhealthy changes everything.