My Story - Part 2

Prior to my run in with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I’d had a long history with haemorrhoids. The first time I noticed blood in my stools it scared the hell out of me, mainly because I’d lost my father to complications resulting from bowel cancer just a few years before. I knew that cancer ran in my family, so I got myself off to the doctor asap. I described my symptoms and he told me that in all likelihood I had nothing to worry about; the type of bleeding I was experiencing was no doubt the result of haemorrhoids, and nothing more, but still, best to get a colonoscopy and check it all out. So get one I did, and as predicted everything was fine. Whilst the surgeon was performing the colonoscopy he banded the haemorrhoids that were causing the bleeding, and I was good as new.
Until a few years later when the bleeding started again. I headed off to the doctor, although not as fast this time, and got the same diagnosis. I was kind of busy at work, so I put off having the surgery for a little while, and based on the amount of blood I thought I was losing there wasn’t much risk. I had the surgery, and the banding on my haemorrhoids stopped the bleeding once again.
Then a few years later I started bleeding again. It didn’t come at a good time. I was busy at work; I was in a new role that was demanding a lot of my time and I was under a lot of pressure. I was also trying to finish the edit on my book, which meant that I was working seven days a week. I didn’t have time to take a week off from work to sort out some pesky haemorrhoids. Besides, I knew from last time that it could wait, so wait they did.
Initially I had only been bleeding every now and again, then it started happening every time I went to the toilet. But that was OK, I was OK. Then the bleeding got more severe. At first I’d only need a few sheets of toilet paper to remove the blood, however now I needed a whole lot more. But I was still OK, I’d been dealing with this for months now, and it was still just a little blood loss (it wasn’t). It wasn’t having an impact on my life, I was still functioning normally.
The thing is, I probably wasn’t functioning normally. I wasn’t making rational decisions; the rational thing would have been to stop what I was doing and get myself better.
So why didn’t I?
The problem with long term exposure to things is that you start to build up a tolerance to them. I got accustomed to losing blood every time I went to the toilet. It became normal and I lost sight of how bad that blood loss had become. It got to the point that I would continue to bleed even after my bowels had finished doing the business, and that definitely wasn’t normal.
But still I continued to put off my surgery. It had become normal for me to lose blood when I went to the toilet, and here’s the fucked up thing, I even allowed time for it now, time for the bleeding to stop after I had gone to the toilet. I’d become desensitised to the dangers it represented, and compared to everything else in my life it just wasn’t that important. For some reason that I still can’t workout, I chose to prioritise everything else in my life before my health.