"This illness is to fatigue,
what a match is to a nuclear bomb.
It's an absurd mischaracterization!"
~Laura Hillenbrand

January 23, 2008

Tummy Flare

(c) M. Pruitt 2008
"Candy Hearts" Needle Felted ACEO
created as a request from an eBay customer

Oooooo...... Owwww..... Yucka! It's been quite a long time since my stomach has flared up!

For a year or so, it seemed to flare about every 2 months, but it's been much longer than that this time. But, though it's been a long time, it doesn't make it easier to accept!

What is a "stomach flare"? Well, with my autonomic system not functioning correctly, my stomach doesn't receive the correct messages to empty. This is a constant problem and I deal with it through adjusting the types of food I eat and with medication that stimulates my stomach to empty. On most days, this is enough to remain comfortable.

But occasionally it gets worse. Sometimes it's because I ate the wrong things, and sometimes I have no idea why! When it flares, I get a lot of pain and nausea. Sometimes it lasts a day or two and sometimes it extends so long that I have to ask my doctor to order IV fluids for me here at home.

I deal with flares by taking pain meds when I can't stand the pain anymore, and nausea meds. The pain meds have to be avoided as much as possible, because they slow my stomach down more. The nausea meds make me feel totally wiped out and sleepy - in fact the side effects often last 24 hours or more.

It's also very important for my body to stay very hydrated. Hydration keeps my blood volume up which helps with the tachycardia and getting blood back to my head. Hydration and blood volume are also controlled by the autonomic system, so this is why sometimes I need to get IV fluids.

So, of course, I would greatly appreciate all of your prayers. I know I'll get through this spell, like I do every other one... but it sure is uncomfortable.

You may be wondering how I could post such a cheery picture when I feel so icky! Well, I decided to open this post with this new needle felted ACEO because I live like this - a foot on each side of the fence. One foot on the side of joy, peace, contentment and love - and one foot in pain and physical yuckiness.

It's not that I don't struggle with emotions brought on by the physical distress - I often do. But, read my last post! I was sick and alone and needed a hug. God met me, right where I was, and touched my heart, allowed me to create, and even sent extra hugs through friends!

I guess it's a strength of Hope. Hope in God's goodness and a hope that all is not lost - even in the midst of pain and suffering! I have these verse on my computer desktop right now and they continually renew my mind and my emotions through this roller coaster of symptoms.

Psalm 42:4-5

These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go with the multitude,
leading the procession to the house of God,
with shouts of joy and thanksgiving
among the festive throng.
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I WILL yet praise him...


  1. Melanie,
    I REALLY like how you explained the almost 'two faces' of chronic illness. I always call it a co-existence of grief and gratitude at the same time, but I really LOVe what you wrote. Can I quote you on MY blog? :) I'm sorry you are in the hole AGAIN. The psalm was just what my heart needed too, so thank you for sharing that with me, and connecting me to you through that. Much love, Em

  2. YES! You can quote me in your blog Em LOL! You sweetie!!! I'm glad it touched your heart - and you've just hugged and warmed mine!

  3. Your artwork is amazing! Love your spirit.