You better slow down

Those four words kept gnawing at me, but I refused to listen. “I don’t have time right now!” was always my rebuttal.

You better slow down.

I heard it over and over but I just kept going. I had to, I told myself. Things needed to be done. Arrangements needed to be made. People needed to be taken care of. Boxes weren’t going to pack themselves.

There was no time to slow down.

So I kept going and going and going until I found myself laying on a gurney with needles in my arms, sick to my stomach from drinking the chemical chalky shake they said I needed. “Take a deep breath in and hold it,” the computer voice told me as the gurney moved my body into the machine that would take photos of my insides to help determine what was going on with my (lack of) health.

The nice lab tech who felt bad for sticking me twice took this photo

You better slow down.

I didn’t listen until I had no choice. It works that way, you know. You can ignore it for only so long before forces outside or maybe inside make you slow down.  At that point it was too late to slow down, it was more of a complete stop.

So I stopped.

I stepped away from writing, didn’t get on social media and stayed home to binge-watched every show about Gypsy Rose Blanchard I could find. I was obsessed with her story.

When there wasn’t anything else I could find on her I started watching shows about medical diagnosis. I found several programs illustrating the different treatment women receive compared to our male counterparts. I even learned that medicine in general studies male bodies, as if the female body is the same.

The words I started hearing changed from “You better slow down” to “You are in charge of your health”.

I will admit I went through some anger before I got to that conclusion. My sister was told she needed a heart valve repaired, but they sent her home to “rest for a month” first. I cried when I wondered if they would have said the same thing to a man. Perhaps she didn’t need to die at home alone of heart failure?

I made the decision that it was time to get a proper diagnosis for myself. A few years back, when I was experiencing the same issues with pain in my gut, my doctor pushed on my abdomen and said I most likely had diverticulitis.

I had no direction, no guidance and no definitive diagnosis.

This time, after two weeks of pain and trying to follow the suggestions WebMD advised, I ended up in Urgent Care on a Sunday morning. I received two shots and was sent home with two different antibiotics.

By Tuesday morning I had had enough. The drugs made me feel worse and I still had no idea exactly what was going on. I called my primary doctor and insisted on tests to determine exactly what I had.

Acute Sigmoid Diverticulitis was the official diagnosis.

The good news is all other systems are functioning at 100%. Other than some tiny pockets that have formed in my intestines that literally brought me to my knees in pain, I am one healthy 60-year old. 

You are in charge of your own health.

Those are the words I am listening to now. I have an appointment next week with a nutritionist and I am going to do what it takes to heal my gut and get my life back.

Because in all honesty, I don’t want to slow down. I’ve got too many introspective adventures ahead to slow down.

Reader Comments

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you, Barbie. This has been the first morning I actually had the energy to write. It felt good. I am so ready to get my life back! Thanks for all of the daily messages of encouragement over these past few months. X

  1. Anonymous

    You can heal that with whole food nutrition and it’ll most likely never come back, however, I know there are necessary RX needed at first. Thanks for posting, a great reminder to listen to our body and gut instinct.

  2. Amy Kennedy

    Wow! I am so glad you are on the mend! And I totally agree you have to be your own advocate! I have a few family members who are nurses or practitioners, and it has literally saved lives in our family to have them. That makes me so sorry for the person who has no one watching out for them! I often relate it to taking my car to the fix it shop… I have no idea what they are talking about, and I am literally at their mercy. So grateful for the places like Web MD where we can do a little research.

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you, Amy. I am so relieved it is something I can fix with my diet.

      It is so important to have or be a patient advocate. It is hard enough to understand our options let alone do it while under duress.
      Thanks for reading, my friend. XX

  3. jodie filogomo

    Not to make it any less than it is, but I’m glad that’s the diagnosis. I was getting a little worried it was something else.
    And we do need to slow down . I have that urge to get everything done and not waste a minute. Yet how many times have I been pushed down because of a migraine or neck immobility?? We can be our worst enemies. But we are getting smarter with these birthdays, right??

  4. Lisa Spiegel

    I’m so sorry Loretta!! It sounds so scary!! I may have something that could help you. Please let me know if you’d like to know more.

  5. Rebecca

    What can I say? You are a special and very driven woman. The key is now you know when to stop the train and take a breather. It’s like my hubby quotes from Al Gore (not a real fan), “When you toss a frog into boiling water, it hops out. When you toss one into warm water and turn up the heat, it just sits there and cooks”. We all do it until we get a kick in the butt. Love you!

  6. Juliet

    Good for you for pushing to get the results you needed. The medical community is so frustrating to navigate – and I see men receiving the same shrug of the shoulders. If you aren’t able to advocate for yourself or someone isn’t able to step in they so quickly dismiss and forget you. Diverticulitis is no joke and I hope the nutritionist is able to get you on the track to wellness. You’ve been missed and I hope you’ll share more on your wellness journey.

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Juliet, thank you so much. It has been frustrating and I am so glad to finally have an official diagnosis. I am looking forward to hearing what the nutritionist says and will definitely share! Xx

  7. Jessica A Jannenga

    HI Loretta
    So glad you went to see what was wrong and found out! Nothing worse that wondering what is going on with your health. I hope you feel better soon. I can relate about stomach issues as I have had them most of my life, GERD and Gastroperesis can take a toll. Do take care.
    BTW, I watched all of that show Gypsy and found it fascinating and unbeleivable too!

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you Jessica. It is so frustrating when we don’t know what is going on! I am glad I figured out the issue and look forward to healing through food.
      Wasn’t that such an interesting story?? I read about it years ago but didn’t know there was a documentary and then the HULU special.

  8. Katie Clooney

    First of all, I thought the first photo was a stock photo because of that brilliant smile of yours! So glad that they have a diagnosis for you and you are on the road to recovery! Great post, btw.

  9. Andy

    Girl. You have been through so much recently. Your body is definitely talking to you! Take care of yourself…there’s only one you, and this world needs you in it, happy and healthy and shining your light!

  10. Phyllis Lerner

    As you know I have had numerous health issues over the last few years. I have always diligently researched any medical condition but all that knowledge meant nothing when facing a sexist medical community. However I stand strong as my own health advocate. It’s the main drive behind my wish for all women to know their bodies to counter the care or lack thereof that we receive. I’m happy you now have a real diagnosis and you can continue pursuing your passion to write.

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      I do know, Phyllis and so agree with you. We have to speak up for ourselves. When I told my doctor’s PA that the 2 antibiotics prescribed made me feel terrible, she told me to basically buck up and just take them. I was so insulted. I told her I would like it to be added to my file that I am allergic to these meds and insisted on her sharing it with my doctor. What a bunch of BS it is!

  11. Hilda Smith

    I know I left a message on your FB, but I have been following your journey over the past few months and you have had so much to deal with. It is hardly surprising that your body finally reacted. Stress, worry, grief all impact on us physically and mentally. And so many of us do not slow down and rest. What are we like? We wait until we collapse….. We are not Superwomen… we have earned rest and relaxation.

    I need to take my own advice!
    Hugs xxx

  12. Lauren

    I’m so sorry you’ve had so many hard things to deal with recently, Loretta. But I’m glad to hear you were able to get a diagnosis for your medical issues, and I have to say I’m really inspired by the way you took charge of your situation. I’m not a naturally assertive person (by a long shot!), but I’m grabbing a hold of the takeaway here … “You are in charge of your own health!” Thanks for sharing this!

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