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Issue 31: Just Two People Who Like Warm Rolls

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The final scene of “As Good as It Gets” begins with Jack Nicholson suggesting to Helen Hunt that they
 

Woman About the Internet

April 12 · Issue #31 · View online
I am a writer, mother, and decent human being living in Seattle, Washington. My monthly newsletter pairs perfectly with the everyday and the End of Days. I think you're swell.

The final scene of “As Good as It Gets” begins with Jack Nicholson suggesting to Helen Hunt that they take a walk to clear the air. When Helen points out that it’s four in the morning and dark outside, Jack replies, “well, there’s a bakery on the corner, it’s bound to be open soon, then we’re not screwy, we’re just two people who like warm rolls.” 

This pregnancy continues to be my warm roll, repackaging what is broken and confusing into a neat assortment of symptoms that people are used to accommodating:
I’m exhausted. I can’t lift that. I need a restroom. I’m in pain.
I was given the indelicate gift of two chronic diseases. For the past twenty years, I’ve lived with Crohn’s Disease and for the last eight, I’ve struggled with Ankylosing Spondylitis, a form of autoimmune spinal arthritis (it’s about as cheerful as it sounds). In short: my immune system doesn’t know how to behave itself and aside from a limp that comes and goes, these illnesses are invisible. In pregnancy, my overactive immune system has quieted, most likely as a natural way of keeping this baby firmly intact. Minus a scary ER trip that led to some expensive testing and monthly visits to a slew of specialists, my seemingly broken body has done a very normal thing for once in its sordid life.
Years ago I participated in a drug study for Crohn’s that required me to use two methods of birth control and take monthly pregnancy tests. After yet another cycle of proving that I was not with child and thus and cleared for my regular infusion, a nurse wondered out loud why anyone with my assortment of health issues would ever want to have a baby. At 25, I didn’t think to report her. Now, at 33, I would set her on fire.
Methods I’ve attempted to soothe my chronic pain and digestive issues include but are not limited to: IV immunosuppressant drugs, steroid therapy, painkillers, surgery to remove 14 inches of my colon, every prescription medication under the sun, acupuncture, supplements, teas made with dried insects, topical creams, juice cleanses, diet overhauls, and too many nights wasted combing the internet for undiscovered cures. I’ve been prayed over and sat for Reiki sessions. I’ve tried massage and therapy and giving up (I do not recommend giving up). An acupuncturist once suggested that maybe all of my issues would correct themselves if I just got pregnant. A gastroenterologist once informed me that I had “failed every drug in the toolbox.” But of course, there will always be more drugs and more surgeries. More ways to worry and hope.
In three weeks I’ll be cut open and pieced back together again. The problem with trying to write about illness in any sort of neat way is that just when you think you’ve found the perfect ending it can always come back. When I first learned I was pregnant, it took months of tests and ultrasounds before I accepted that maybe my body was capable of doing something both entirely normal and supremely magical. For now, that’s enough to see this thing through. 
We’re not screwy, we’re just two people who like warm rolls. 
I love you and you are deserving of great things.
xo Drew
Need to catch up on an issue? Explore the archives right here. Some of my other writing lives here. If you’d like to follow me on Instagram, you can do so right here. I also hang out on Twitter.
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