20 Things I Wish I Could Tell My 20-Year-Old Self Shrinking Hemorrhoids & Growing Faith

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Shrinking Hemorrhoids & Growing Faith

If you read my article “How Hemorrhoids Made Me Fit, Healthy, and Sexy,” you’ll know how I manage my condition. Now, seeing how a severe bout of hemorrhoids has strengthened my faith in God. Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it? Here’s the thing.

In early 2009, I was shocked to see how the recession ate into my RRSP savings. I know people who face the prospect of delayed retirement because of losses. what can I do? I had two options: keep losing money and worrying, or (take a deep breath) throw myself into home buying.

I’ve dreamed of owning a house for years, but the cost of living in Toronto is so high I don’t think I can afford it. Even though an uncertain corporate job income barely met my financial needs, I felt buying my first home was the right choice. In fact, it was my equanimity at the “unnaturalness” of taking this giant step that led me to believe it was part of God’s plan for me.

I don’t like to rush into important decisions. I emailed a realtor friend with my finances, my wish list, and my wish list. I doubt he’ll find anything for me, but I’m determined not to buy more than I can afford. In early March, we sat and chatted. My friend brought two sample checklists to show me. Two months later, one of them was my first home. I keep praying, “Lord, I don’t want to keep renting while I turn around (big round numbers).” My deadline is 7 days before my birthday!

Borrowing $25,000 from my RRSP for a down payment and renovations, I set about clearing out 20+ years of accumulated property and buying flooring and a kitchen for my new apartment. Everything went quickly and smoothly with the help of my realtor, family and friends.

The next “miracle” was that almost all the renovation work was completed within a month. The old floors and kitchen were removed. New bamboo floors installed and a custom designed IKEA kitchen. Bathrooms and kitchen are tiled. I even had the whole place professionally painted. This is great! This is expensive. Am I taking it too far?

Before I worried, I ran into a more pressing problem. I have backorders on my kitchen countertops. Plumbers insist on installing kitchen and bathroom sinks as a job. That means I’ve had no water for three weeks, except for the tub water!

By July, I had two sinks, the renovation was complete, and I could really enjoy living in my new home. My south facing unit is bright and has a beautiful view of the river. Nestled in a park-like setting among lawns, trees and gardens, my home occupies a peaceful corner of the city.

Summer is super busy. I work full time and unbox and organize things at home. I’m too tired to cook nutritious meals or get a lot of exercise — though every now and then, I think about: you should go for a walkor, try the gym downstairsor, eat more salad and fruit, not just chips, biscuits and beer.

All the excitement and stress – buying a home, renovating, moving – plus my recent poor lifestyle choices – has taken its toll. In October, I had a severe bout of hemorrhoids (I’ve had them since my 20s). Usually, after a few days of eating plenty of fiber and exercising more, the veins constrict, the bleeding stops, and the pain goes away. Only this time, nothing helped. The days turned into weeks and I was still suffering.

I ended up going to the doctor and got prescription creams and suppositories. I was paying attention to what I was eating and started exercising and walking. After 10 days, the bleeding stopped and the pain subsided. Finally freed! But within a few days, it started again and got worse. After taking three courses of medicine, the doctor said that the next step is surgery. Ouch! Scary just thinking about it. There must be another way to treat this condition!

I started praying, “Lord, have mercy on me. Help me. Heal me.” I found Bible verses about healing, wrote them down, and read them every day. My favorite is Matthew 8:1-3, where a leper approached Jesus, knelt down and said, “Lord, if you want, you can make me well.” Jesus touched him and said : “I want. Get well.” He is. Later in the same chapter, a Roman army officer begs Jesus to heal his sick servant. Jesus said he would come to the man’s house, but the Romans said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my house. Just say a word from where you are, and my servant will be healed.” Jesus’ words to the Gentiles Confidence marveled, and praised him for it. He healed the servant. Other scriptures that have helped me are Psalm 6 verses 2-3; Exodus 15 verse 26 and Exodus 24 verse 25. Before it happened, I began to proclaim “Thank you Lord for healing my hemorrhoids,” trusting that He would.

But I don’t just sit and wait for it to happen. I continue my internet research. Instead of desperately buying expensive “magic bullets”, I made up my mind to try everything that was reasonable and affordable. Some things that helped me include:

– Sitz baths – fill a large tub with warm water, add some epsom salts, and soak my butt for 20 minutes twice a day

– White Oak Bark – One website recommends soaking this mixture in sitz bath water

– Herbal Supplements – Of the few supplements I’ve tried, Butcher’s Broom has been the most helpful

– Fiber – I take psyllium fiber 3 times a day.Inulin fiber is almost as good, and easier to take

– Diet – I changed what I eat and how I eat (see my article “How Hemorrhoids Made Me Fit, Healthy and Sexy” for more details)

– Workout – I started working out 3-4 times a week at my apartment gym with a daily walk at lunch time

When I had my annual checkup in early December, I had lost 8 pounds and was in great shape. I feel better and look good. Most days I have very little pain and the bleeding has all but disappeared. I started to believe and declare that by the new year I will be 100% healed.

Looking back, I realize my fleeting thoughts throughout the summer—that I should have eaten better and exercised more—was God’s way of trying to get my attention. He is not a killjoy and he has my best interests at heart. He knew my chronic illness would flare up and he wanted to help me avoid it. But I didn’t listen. When it got to the point where I was in excruciating pain and ready to do whatever was necessary to stop it, God helped me find the information I needed. And working on changing my eating and exercise habits that will heal my hemorrhoids and get me healthy. I learned that if I didn’t respond to God’s gentle “push,” He would apply increasing pressure. tough love. I wish I had listened sooner! But, because things got so serious, the changes I was forced to make became a permanent new way of life.

However, I have a confession to make. I am not perfect. Two or three times, on the weekends, I overindulged (chips, ice cream, pastries, alcohol) and my hemorrhoids flared up again. Constipation leading to difficult bowel movements and pain in the colon reminds me that this won’t go away – it will go dormant. Under the right conditions (eating foods that cause constipation and not getting enough exercise to keep your digestive system functioning), bleeding and pain may recur.

These relapses make me thank God for not completely curing my hemorrhoids. I believe he can. But he knows I can be lazy and self-indulgent; sometimes I may not be as careful as I should be. At family gatherings, we enjoy a large meal with a variety of food, accompanied by wine or beer, followed by a rich dessert and coffee. Or after get off work, when I’m too tired to exercise. It’s easy to fall back into bad habits, so I’m grateful for these reminders to get me back on track.

Now, because I have paid a terrible price, I am convinced of the need to eat a balanced diet with more fruits and vegetables and less dairy, meat and saturated fat. I know I have to stay active – take daily walks, take the stairs, exercise. It feels so good to be stronger and healthier. Being in balance promotes physical, emotional and spiritual health. This means I can enjoy a “purpose-driven life”. (Note: This quote comes from the book “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren.)

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