I even surprised myself a little with this turn around. I'll explain. You know that sinking feeling something is off and no-one knows you better than you. Well, this past month I went through the usual tests, doctor appointment, bloodwork and CT scan. Nothing remarkable, so for good measure, we decided to do a good old fashioned fecal test. Proof is in the pudding or in my case, proof was in the poop - which has been the case for me, many times before.
The fancy way to explain the poop test. The fecal elastase test is a test of pancreas function. The test measures the levels of elastase, an enzyme found in fluids produced by the pancreas. Elastase digests (breaks down) proteins. So, where are we? Well, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is when the amount of enzymes released by the pancreas is inadequate for the proper digestion of food and absorption of nutrients. This is where I am today. All signs pointing towards EPI.
The reason I said I surprised myself this time. When I heard the test results on Thursday, it was a basement day. I've written about my basement days. It was end of the world, my pancreas was letting me down, I caused this damage to my pancreas, this was it, oh woe is me, I was in the basement. I was sad and scared. Now, don't get me wrong, I am sad and I am scared, but I have hope. This is how I surprised myself. I am surprised how quickly I was able to move out of the basement and towards hope. I did not wallow in the fear, in the anger, in the sadness, I pushed through and came to conclusion, I am hopeful.
I believe we all have layers of hope. It's a lot like the metaphor of peeling back the layers of an onion. You learn a little more with each layer as you go a little deeper. I'm not sure how many layers of hope I have, but I know I'm not out of them just yet. When I was discharged from IU, I was discharged with digestive enzymes, because we didn't know how "Little P" was going to function. If he was going to work at all. I've kept the bottle of enzymes all these years. It is in the cabinet with the rest of my medication. This has been my touchstone for gratitude. When I felt "oh woe is me", I would see that pill bottle and think to myself, it could be worse, you could have to deal with those every meal every day of your life.
Well, that is where I am today - what my future is looking like - dealing with those, every day for the rest of my life. I thought those digestive enzymes were my final layer, an end point, but guess what, I pushed through, and realize I have another layer of hope. Hope the research and progression on the pancreas continue to evolve. Hope that this change will provide me an opportunity to grow and become healthier. Hope that EPI will one day be a thing of the past. Just hope. Hope happens to have two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. YES! 100% YES! Anger that things are the way they are. Courage to make them the way they ought to be. If this isn't exactly what I am pushing through right now, I don't know what is. I have the courage to be hopeful.
Once we choose hope, everything is possible.