Idiopathic pancreatitis. It came back and put me in hospital for a few days.
The pancreas is an important organ that makes different kinds of hormones and also produces chemicals that help with digestion. Mine doesn't behave very well. In the past two years, it has become inflamed twice, for unknown reasons (that's what makes it idiopathic).
Having an attack of acute pancreatitis is painful. It also makes you sick. It's a very uncomfortable wait until you finally make it to a hospital and they give you the anti-sickness medication and the morphine...
The only treatment for acute pancreatitis is not eating or drinking until it settles down. They keep you hydrated with a i/v drip.
Thankfully, my pancreas settled down quite quickly, as it did last time. It does, however, leave me with lasting pain. Not the kind that needs morphine, but still constantly there and constantly uncomfortable.
Being in hospital is a very stressful experience in itself. In a bay of just four women, there is always something going on. You constantly get monitored (blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar levels, blood tests, ...) and so do the people around you. There is never a good stretch of time when you get left in peace, even at night. After four days, I needed to come home for a decent night's sleep.
Add to that the fact that you are attached to a drip and are feeling ill. You are in a totally artificial environment, pretty much stuck to your bed. If you're lucky, you can see the sky out of the window at the other side of the room. Nothing to connect you with the Earth. Nothing to remind you of the fact that you are one breath with the air, the trees, the green.
After a few days of that, I felt totally wired. I couldn't relax. I had another couple of terrible nights' sleep because I just couldn't calm down. The combination of disconnection, very limited food, and the restless environment just knocked me off centre completely.
I'm home again now. Still in pain and needing to rest, but also doing things. I have calmed down considerably. Still, my connection is tenuous at best, and I haven't picked up my meditation practice again.
The great thing is, though, I know exactly what to do. Last time this happened, in August 2011, I came home even more shattered. The hospital stay had been longer, and I had very little idea of what was happening to me. After a while, I managed to get myself back into a routine of spiritual practice. Starting with my breath, I gently wove my soul back into the web of life.
Yesterday, I launched my first online course, The Magic of Connection. It is a 9-part meditation practice that takes you along exactly the path I took two years ago. The launch has been brewing for a long time, and I am very pleased to present it as my free gift to the world*.
This time, I will be following the course along with my first subscribers. I know it will help me to find my feet again. I know it will help me find my joy of being alive, despite the pain. It's done that for me before.
If you would like to try it out for yourself, click here to subscribe.
*With thanks to Alex, my husband, for writing the software that delivers the course.