Food poisoning, appendicitis and a big change in plans.
Today would have been the first day of my Camino trip —walking 550 miles across Spain to the end of the world. My flight out would’ve been this afternoon and after arriving and getting settled in, I would have begun my walk on Friday.
But oh, how plans can change in an instant.
My training had began and I was all ready to go. I had researched and planned for 6 months for this journey with the intention of having the experience of a lifetime. I knew that during the walk I would have plenty of time to contemplate and process where I was at in my life and what my next steps could be. I was hoping this time would give me insight and clarity about my future without Klink. How do I want to live? Where do I want to live? What do I want for myself? I would have plenty of time to think as I walked.
My body had different plans it seems.
Two weeks ago I ended up in the ER—this was after a 5 day stint with food poisoning where I never left my bed—only to find out my appendix had then ruptured. This little culprit and it’s aftermath gave me another 4 days in the hospital on oral antibiotics (and dilaudid thank god) to try and wipe out the grapefruit-sized infection (or what we affectionately started calling “the nebulous bad juice”) that was intertwined through my colon, intestines and ruptured appendix (which they couldn’t remove because of the infection). The surgeon also wanted to know if the infection came first and caused the rupture or the rupture caused the infection and so I am now recovering at home with a heavy dose of antibiotics and the hopes it will eliminate it. A CT scan today will decide the fate of the appendix (pretty sure it’s removal) and then the next steps.
So, I’ve checked myself into the repair center.
I’ve pulled everything I can from my bag of tricks to support my body and help move this bad boy outta me — detox baths, essential oils, herbs, electrolytes and bone broth, etc — but it’s slow going. I don’t think I ever remember in my life being so sick and I am trying to honor my body and not push myself through this. Not an easy thing to do for someone like myself. I’m a problem solver, a fixer, a solution-orientated person who likes to figure things out. To nap during the day, never get out of my pajamas and only accomplish brushing my teeth and turning Netflix on and off after binging for several hours is somewhat foreign to me.
I feel like I am lost in time.
I can’t help but think of how Klink must have felt all those years during chemo, radiation and all the other infections and complications he had. Never being able to get his energy back, feeling lethargic and beat-up—just waiting to go to bed in hopes that he’d wake up in the morning to a feeling of improvement. I can truly understand now how he fell down the hole of discouragement after years of illness. It amazes me how he never gave up hope that tomorrow would be a better day for him.
My memory of his experiences puts my situation into perspective and I am grateful that my days are getting better. Unlike him, I know this is temporary and that eventually I will heal and recover. My health is of the upmost priority for me and it’s because of Klink’s experience that I am taking the time I need to recoup without the guilt, and give the ‘fixer’ side of me a break.
So there will be no Camino this fall.
I sit here not in a state of sadness or discouragement that I cannot go—the Camino will always be there and I will have another opportunity—but rather in a state of now what? As my body improves, my head is getting clearer, and I am able to process the situation I am in.
I had a plan, and now I don’t.
One could say “everything happens for a reason” or “it’s meant to be” and I would respond to that saying those are the most adulterated and misused phrases on the planet and to please tread carefully when you say them to others. I struggle with these responses because telling someone ‘it’s meant to be’ or that ‘it happened for a reason’ when they have experienced a painful loss, diagnosis or experience only adds to their pain and suffering. They are now forced to question why the benevolent Universe would mean to cause them harm or search for the reason they were chosen to suffer. What may have began as a way to comfort or make sense of a challenging situation has, over time, turned into a meaningless cliche that only adds salt to the wound.
Was my ruptured appendix meant to be? Was I meant to be sick for a reason? Was I not meant to go on the Camino right now? Perhaps. Or maybe it’s just a random life experience that doesn’t need to be analyzed and justified. Maybe it’s just how life works and it’s how we react and respond to challenging situations that give life it’s meaning.
Not the other way around.
My mom sent me a get well card and in it she wrote, “Sometimes a setback is actually a setup for something better.” I like that and I’d have to agree for the most part—except this situation is more of a shift than a setback. I wasn’t defeated and I didn’t go backwards, it was just a blatant stop. I do believe truly though that the setup for something better is always happening in any given situation and I am looking forward to what unfolds next.
I know the Universe is always orchestrating on my behalf and it always has my best interests at heart so maybe this unfortunate experience was just nothing but absolute perfect timing. Could you imagine if this had happened when I was out of the country, walking in some small village hundreds of miles from a doctor or hospital? The outcome would have been dramatically different, if not fatal.
So… my plans have changed. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last. I spent over a decade in uncertainty and came out understanding a whole lot more about life and how to adapt to its unpredictable ways. This is mild in comparison. As much as I was looking forward to my Camino experience to process and explore my options, I am certain my answers will come to me regardless of where my feet hit the earth.
Time to adjust my sails. I trust I’ll know my next steps when I am ready for them.
Breathe Deep & Live Well,
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