Six weeks out from my hysterectomy, and I have some real benefits! The hysterectomy solved some major health problems. Since my surgery, I no longer have hormonal headaches, backaches, pelvic pain, shoulder pain, leg pain, or buttocks pain. Whoo-hoo! So why am I not celebrating? Because the H Pylori infection has me all tied up in knots.
Today I went one step closer to treatment by getting a shot of penicillin. I’ll have to go next week to get another one. But I’m supposed to take an additional antibiotic, and that is where I am having trouble. You’d think that after having major surgery I’d be able to take a medicine that’s supposed to heal me, right? Well, that doesn’t appear to be the case as my pill is still sitting on the kitchen table next to a bottle of water.
An aversion to unfamiliar medicines — and foods — has been with me for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories is of running to the bathroom to spit the “pink medicine” in the sink when my mom wasn’t looking. It was several days before she was on to me.
I didn’t learn to take a pill until I became a teenager and was saddled with cramps so strong that I would have had to down the entire bottle of Tylenol to relieve the pain. I did this by cutting the pill into eight sections and then swallowing each section. Slowly I worked my way up to being able to swallow half a pill at a time, and then finally a whole pill.
Then I got older, and pharmacies started printing those information sheets about the drugs you were prescribed. Who actually reads those? Well, informed citizen that I am, I read them. I can’t even remember how many prescriptions I have filled and then thrown out because I was to afraid to take the meds. Off hand, I know I’ve filled prescriptions for muscle relaxers, an anxiety medication, antidepressants, various antibiotics, medications for restless legs syndrome, vitamin D, cough medicine, and inhalers — that I ended up throwing away because I could not (would not) get up the courage to take them. I was 18 years old with a sinus infection and had a freak out session in my parent’s kitchen when they finally washed their hands of me and figured that if I was sick enough, I’d take my medicine when I was ready.
Twenty years and I still haven’t changed. Therapy hasn’t worked. Counseling hasn’t worked. For you Princess Bride fans, let’s just say that I’m on the verge of entering the Forest of Despair. I feel: guilty, anxious, scared, disappointed in myself, disgust with myself, shame, fatigue, hopeless, desperate and depressed.
I feel the way the Psalmist must have felt as he wrote Psalm 55…only in my case, my enemy is my fear.
Psalm 55 – My Version
1 Listen to my prayer, O God.
Do not ignore my cry for help!
2 Please listen and answer me,
for I am overwhelmed by my troubles.
3 My inner thoughts and fears shout at me,
making loud and wicked threats.
They bring trouble on me
and angrily hunt me down.
4 My heart pounds in my chest.
The terror of death assaults me.
5 Fear and trembling overwhelm me,
and I can’t stop shaking.
6 Oh, that I had wings like a dove;
then I would fly away and rest!
7 I would fly far away
to the quiet of the wilderness.
8 How quickly I would escape—
far from this wild storm of self hatred.
9 Confuse this enemy in me, Lord, and frustrate my plans,
for I feel violence and conflict within my heart.
10 Its walls are patrolled day and night against invaders,
but the real danger is fear within my mind.
11 Everything is falling apart;
hopelessness and despair are rampant in my thoughts.
12 It is not an enemy who taunts me—
I could bear that.
It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me—
I could have hidden from them.
13 Instead, it is myself—my own anxious, paralyzing thoughts.
14 What good fellowship I once enjoyed with my family
as we walked together to the house of God.
15 Let death stalk this vile fear;
let the grave[b] swallow it alive,
for evil makes its home at fear’s roots.
16 But I will call on God,
and the Lord will rescue me.
17 Morning, noon, and night
I cry out in my distress,
and the Lord hears my voice.
18 He ransoms me and keeps me safe
from the battle waged within me,
though many still oppose me.
19 God, who has ruled forever,
will hear me and humble them.
If I did have wings like a dove, I would fly far away from myself and this inner turmoil. But since I can’t get out of my head, that’s going to be a job for the Lord to handle. Please God, handle it.