"This time could have killed you, K.C."
My doctors are usually pretty serious - they're doctors, after all - but we laugh and joke during most of my appointments, and usually take bets on what my blood tests will show (I always win.) So when he sent the nurse out of the room and flipped a chair backwards to get face to face with me, I knew he meant whatever he was about to say.
"If you'd have come in earlier, I'd have put you in the hospital. What the hell is going on?"
I know that, I said. That's why I'm here now. Then I proceeded to tell him all of it: the custody battle that just ended, the hours I was working running three companies, the days juice & vegetable fasting to make it through, missed workouts, and whatever else there was to say. He asked when I was relaxing, having fun, doing activities that weren't for my daughter or someone else - I laughed. My friends have been coming to work events to see me.
I suppose that explains why I've been in GI distress for about a month, with a few days of near system failure thrown in for good measure. In case you don't know - Stress has a profound effect on Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Any inflammatory disease, really. And I've been on a long-term stress kick.
I told my doctor about all the positive changes I've made in the last few weeks - quitting one of the jobs, going back to yoga, actually scheduling some concerts and events, focusing on G-Free Foodie and the things I really want to do.
Captain serious-face said: "other people need to relax, K.C., you have to. Or you won't make it."
OK. I get it. I'm listening.
This is the part we don't talk about, the part where those of us who hold the world together for everyone else start to fall apart. The part where stress tears us down, and we fill the voids with food or wine or vodka or whatever (remind me to tell you about how alcohol hits your system differently when you're in GI distress. That's some info you might want to remember at your next tailgate party.) I'm lucky enough to have a group of friends that I can share these moments with, so we can remind each other that we're all still here and we're all ok. It's a battle I have with myself over and over - but I'm a recovering overachiever, and I get better every day. So, here's what we should be saying to each other, I think:
You are enough, You are amazing. You don't have to burn yourself down, and when you do, it's OK. We all do it. Let's just work at taking care of ourselves. And then we'll make the perfect chocolate soufflé.
My friends threatened to resuscitate me and and punch me in the face if I die, because there's no dying allowed.
I'm pretty lucky to have people who love me that much - especially because I know they can resuscitate me, and they totally would.
All the love -