Monday, March 22, 2010

Why I've Been M.I.A.

I am aprehensive about getting personal on this blog because I hate turning anyone off, but I can't really help sharing at this point.  So if you'd rather not listen to personal posts while on The Soap Bar, I'd suggest coming back when I've got some soap pictures up in a couple of days.

You guys have been my connection and my friends, what can I say?  You've helped me through my rough patches when I was nervous about opening a retail shop for my little business and then you all were so supportive when I had to close it 14 months later. 

A lot of my regular readers know I have Crohn's Disease which I was diagnosed with 6 years ago and before February, I had some bad days and some good ones.  Sometimes, I'd get a few bad days in a row, but not too often.  On my birthday (July 11th) I ate a Subway sandwich and became instantly crampy... then doubled over, had to close my shop early and forced myself to drive home without hitting anyone (me = big dummy) and to get through the pain without going to the hospital.  I knew it would pass... literally.  I thought it was a bad piece of meat or maybe the sandwich was too big because I ate the whole foot long.

The following day I felt worse and my sister-in-law who's a doctor in San Fransisco, told me to go to the ER.  She never suggests that.  They did scans and X-rays and gave me an IV for steroids, pain relievers and other fluids.  Told me I had Crohn's Disease (really, geniuses?) However, the new news was that I had ulcers and inflammation in my stomach and small intestine.  Most of my issues had been in my colon.  They sent me home with a prescription for prednisone and a pat on the back. (Thanks, $12,000 later - yes, I have insurance, but I saw the bill and I paid a pretty penny for that 4 hour visit!)

To make a long story as short as I can, I was on steroids for 4 weeks, was well for 2 months, got really bad again, got on steroids again for 4 weeks, but this time, when I weaned off of them, I got a migraine from hell that lasted almost 2 weeks!  I was paralyzed.  Dysfunctional.  Dirty.  Unmovable, unreasonable, unavailable.  It sucked.  When that headache subsided, I can't tell you how undead I felt, how amazing life was when the pain lifted. 

I hate pain more than anything.

Then the following day the migraine lifted, my Crohn's pain kicked in.  Hard.  It felt like the migraine was passing the wand to the Crohn's in one of those relay races.  I guess I was lucky that it didn't happen at once, but how weird?  Since that day in early February, I have not been well.  I can have a few good hours, but I have not been living my "normal" life since.  I do have to say that it is amazing timing that the shop closed in the nick of time.  I would not be able to man it.

I said, "When one door closes, another opens".  I still believe that.  I do not believe, however, that pain and suffering is that door, because I wouldn't have chosen door number 3, thank you.  But perhaps the store closing is what was meant to be for me to deal with my illness so that I can then move on to other things.

Laughter is contagious and so is down in the dumpedness, so I'm not here to cry to you.  Sadness pushes people away and I'm not going to do that.  I'm updating you on my boring ins and outs because I think you deserve to know.  I haven't lost interest in your soap, the soap, all SOAP! I love it more today than the day I started this blog.  I can't keep up with it with all my down days and sleeping which I seem to have no control over lately.  Yeah, the sleeping is kind of getting in the way with life.  Yesterday, I went to lie down for a 5 minute nap and woke up 4 hours later and then I woke up did a few things, laid down again and fell asleep for 2 more hours, then went to sleep at 2 am and slept until 10 am.  Think I'm getting enough sleep?  When I am awake, I need to take care of life which is filled with too much and sometimes I'd just like to avoid most of it and bury my head in the sand.

My mother used to call me an ostrich when I was 12 years old.  I'd like to think I've evolved since then, but maybe for passing moments, I''d like to be 12 again with no responsibilities and no money issues, because I know stress effects this disease quite a bit.

I don't know if I feel stressed and I know I don't act stressed.  I don't look stressed.  I do have this incredible ability to hold feelings inside and think inwardly, feel inwardly, process inside before I deal on the outside (funny, why do things sometimes just blurt out of my face?).  So I suppose there is that.

I have to apologize to you all because I am not a writer.  I don't think ahead and form sentences properly or think ahead and edit my work.  I am just blurting and that's what this blog is.  A place for me to be me.  My husband is a wonderful writer.  He reads my blog and makes a pained face.  Grammatical errors, tense confusion..... it goes on.  I try.  I write the way I think.

So I write to you in hopes that you understand my absence and that you stick around because I am here and I will continue to bring you the soap.








Heather@Twin Birch said...

Dear Jo,
I'm so sorry that you've been going through so much horrible stuff. It's so good to have it out there so that you can open up to all of the love and admiration there is in this world for you!

You have always been an amazing inspiration and you still are. I suffer from migraines. I'm lucky. I can manage them with a horses dose of ibuprophen as long as I catch them when the halo starts. I can't imagine having to be a mom, business chick, & all of the other things with pain beyond pain. Just care for yourself and know that we out here care for you as well. I wish you immediate (if not sooner) relief.

lots of love,

Morgan Street said...

Oh big hugs to you Jo! Take the time to get better and don't worry about us. We're fans for life and will be here when you're feeling "normal" again.

Much love


Holly said...

Oh Jo, I'm so sorry you're on this painful road. Big hugs to you. I agree with Sharon, we're fans for life. Your blog was one of the first blogs about soap and I just soaked it all in when I was thinking of getting started. I'll never forget your little karate chop video with you in all your soap making gear! That is the fun and zest for soapmaking that I feel! Get better,and know that we aren't going to leave you in the meantime. We are fans of YOU so if this is your life and you want to talk about it, we're here to support you! (((Hugs))) Oh...and I like the way you write. I feel like we're friends having a conversations. :)


Christy said...

I'm so sorry that you've been having a tough time. I have Crohn's myself so I understand completely what you've described. Take care of yourself and find out what works best for you.

Love the blog!

Unknown said...

Hi Jo, I just read your blog, well first of all say that it is really easy to know how you're going, because I have no disease, and I know it's easy to give advice especially when you're not in the "skin" of that person.
Only one thing: you're right "when one door closes, another opens" is true, have faith, hope and patience I would say. Take advantage of the few moments you can have a day when you're feeling good all, those moments disfrutalos and give thanks (to God, the universe ....) by these moments, as truly as anger slowly enjoying more time. Jo just that, nothing more.
I will remember you and try every day to send my little "energy".

Patrice-The Soap Seduction said...

While I've never experienced the pain you're enduring, I know how you feel and the ups and downs you constantly encounter. I lost my husband almost 3 yrs ago to Sickle Cell Anemia, and he was in constant pain til the day he died. It's wonderful that you have such a loving and supportive husband because you need that right now more than this soap making thing, this blog, and everything else...Feel better! Your blog buddies are thinking of you:)

Anonymous said...

Jo, first off, you are a WONDERFUL writer, and don't you forget it. Secondly, I'm heartsick that you're feeling so ill most of the time. I have a scary little affliction where I feel like I can't breathe and I'm about to die, but I don't know what sets it off, and it doesn't happen all the, anyway, I imagine myself going through that constantly which helps me to sort of understand what you're going through.

I'm sure that I speak for all your bloggy friends and fans when I say I wished fervently that there was something I could do to make your pain and suffering go away forever.

Love and hugs!!!

Cocobong Soaps said...

For what it is worth, Jo...nothing lasts. Everything is always changing, constantly. Our pain comes and thankfully, our pain goes again. It seems like so many of us have pain in our lives to deal with. To know we are not alone in our pain won't make it go away, but it will dissolve the prison cell that this awful pain puts us in.
And don't ever believe anyone who says you can't write. You write with such heart and that's why your readers love you. Really.
Hugs upon hugs for better days to come

kat said...

I feel for you, Jo. I am sending positive, healing energy your way and I hope you receive it. Just because you are having a valley in your life and you talk about it doesn't mean you're spreading misery and negativity. Sometimes it's necessary to reach out for support. I struggle with that myself. I know I've been dragging people through my personal mud lately..

There are a lot of people who care about you and want to do what they can to support you and maybe by posting this, you'll have a hand in healing and easing your pain.



Anonymous said...

Hang on, it will eventually go away, the pain, and you will be able to replace it by soaps !

I just hope you get better soon because pain sucks. Take care, and sleep as much as your body needs to

egassner said...

Hope you start feeling like YOU again Jo! Lord knows I wish I had an actual excuse for my departure from bloggy land!

Donna said...

This is one of my favorite soap blogs -- we'll wait. :)

Good luck with your illness, Crohn's is a bitch.

FuturePrimitive Soap Co. said...

I don't know what else to write other than I know I love you and I care for you like I do any other best friend.
Please please be well, or at least well enough to not suffer as you have these past few months.
We're all with you, right here, right now and always x

Jennifer Young said...

Thank you for being so open and for sharing all this Jo. I agree with the person that wrote nothing lasts... it is all just fases... moments... this too shall pass. For whatever reason, you have to deal with this right now. So sorry. Send you positive healing vibes. Take good care of yourself and get well. xo Jen

Carrie Garvin said...

Nothing can make life more miserable than pain- everyday pain- migraines, etc... I really don't know how you do it all ---you are really something else.

I hope you find good health, and feeling well sooner than later- life will certainly shine again!

Big hugs

Clare Marie said...

Please don't feel your filling us in is going to put us off following your wonderful blog .. Surly it only makes us feel closer and able to support you through this tough time {{Hugs}} And for the record, I think you express yourself very well!

Like all your other friends and followers I'll be thinking of you and sending best wishes for this pain to ease up and let you feel alive again ♥

Dreaming Tree Soapworks said...

Oh Joanna, please know you are not alone and one of the ways of coping with such a chronic condition is reaching out. I sympathize with you on so many levels, I have MS and the am in the same boat as you (good days, bad days, flare ups, steroids etc). I do believe when one door closed another opens, the shop closing may have been a blessing in disguise for you to have the ability to care for yourself, and your family, while still doing what you love on your terms! You will find a place of wellness balance. In the mean time Jenn and I are sending you all our positive healing vibes and love! Oh and we'll be sticking around we love your blogs, we love your humor, and your body goodies :)
Meghan & Jenn

Celine@Soaperstar said...

Take care Jo, do whatever it is you need to do to live your life... those who read your blog will still be here, no matter what.

Erin Napier said...

Jo, big *hugs* to you. I can even imagine what you're going through but I can see you're one tough lady. Do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself. xx

Helene said...

Thank you for sharing, your blog is one of the best out there. I look forward to reading it along with your pictures and comments. I hope your are feeling better soon.

Teresa said...

Dear Jo,
I applaud the courage it took to write this "personal" blog.
You are an integral part of what makes many of us little people feel like a part of a bigger and sustaining community.
With humble gratitude, love, light and healing....

firefly said...

It's okay, we like to hear your personal stories too! I hope you get better. We understand, and are all wishing for you to get well soon!

Natural Aroma Handmade Soaps said...

Sorry I'm a bit late responding to this but we've just been though a cyclone and haven't had any power for the past 3 days. I'm so sorry to hear of everything you've been though lately, I so hope you'll be feeling a lot better very soon. I love your blog as does everyone else, so whenever you're ready to write we're all ready to read and by the way you ARE a wonderful writer. I sure wish I was 1/2 as good as you. All the best Joanna, take care and get well soon. Big hugs

Oya's Daughter said...

Making soap, honestly, is one of the best ways for me to deal with my own condition and to be there for my son. So I can fully empathise with everything you say here...and yes, sometimes the world has to give us the message "Stop; wait; listen" because this thing called Modern Life doesn't always give us the time to do so.

Do take care as you are able.

flo said...

I follow your blog from the other side of the world and I just love it..I wish you a good luck.

madpiano said...

Big Hugs - I am so sorry to hear that you are not well. I love your blog and your soaps and I agree with the others, one door closes and another one opens. I don't have much to add that hasn't already been said, take care and I hope you feel better again soon !!

Kim said...

Just hugs...big big hugs to you. This is your blog, so write whatever (and however) you please. I hope you start to feel better soon, missy!

Anonymous said...

Sad to hear this is really giving you hell. See if you can find time to investigate some of the natural supplements I mentioned quite a while ago, which may ease the pain and also help rebuild things. Sorry I took so long to post, we are still operating on our emergency power generators and likely to be for the next 3-4 weeks due to the massive damage north or us from the cyclone. Luckily most in the city areas have power restored as I don't think they would survive 3-4 weeks of it straight.

Amber said...

I am so sorry I couldn't comment until now. Things have been weird around here and please know that I read this post several times since it first went up.

I just want you to know how much I admire your strength in the face of these pain issues (and all the other things you've gone through) and through I've said it before, you really are quite an inspiration to me.

I feel absolutely honored to call you my friend.