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Shrinking Hemorrhoids & Growing Faith
If you read my article ‘How Hemorrhoids Made Me Lively, Fit & Sexy’ you know how I dealt with my condition. Now, find out how a massive outbreak of hemorrhoids increased my faith in God. Sounds incredible, doesn’t it? Here’s what happened.
In early 2009, I was shocked to see how the recession was eating into my RRSP savings. People I knew were facing the prospect of retirement because of their losses. What could I do? I had two choices: keep losing money and worry, or (deep breath) take home ownership.
I dreamed of owning a home for years, but life in Toronto is expensive and I never thought I could afford it. Despite an uncertain business career and an income that could barely meet my financial needs, buying my first home felt like the right thing to do. In fact, it was my ‘peace’ to take this big step that convinced me that it was part of God’s plan for me.
I don’t like to rush into making important decisions. I emailed a realtor friend and laid out my budget, my wish list and my payoff list. I doubted that he would get me anything but I was determined not to buy anything beyond my means. We sat down together in early March, just talking. My friend brought two examples of the list to show me. Two months later, one of them became my first home. I prayed, “Lord, I don’t want to turn (big number) and still rent.” My due date was 7 days before my due date!
With $25,000 borrowed from my RRSP for a down payment and renovations, I began cleaning out 20+ years of accumulated furniture, and buying the floor and kitchen for my new condo. With the help of the seller, family and friends, everything went quickly but smoothly.
The next ‘miracle’ was that almost all the repairs were done in one month. The floors are old and the kitchen is torn up. New bamboo floors and an IKEA kitchen fitted. Tile was installed in the bathroom and kitchen. I even got professionally painted everywhere. It was fun! It was expensive. Was I getting in over my head?
Before I got worried, I had a bigger problem. My kitchen counters were back order. And the plumber insisted on installing the kitchen and bathroom sinks as one job. This meant I was without water, except in the bath, for three weeks!
By July, I had both sinks, renos done and I could enjoy living in my new home. My south facing unit is bright and has a lovely view of the river. Nestled in a park-like setting among lawns, trees and gardens, my home is in a peaceful corner of the city.
Summer was very busy. I worked full time unpacking boxes and fixing things at home. I was too tired to cook a healthy meal or exercise too much – although every so often, the thought would come: you have to goor, try a lower gymor, eat more salad and fruit, not just chips, cookies and beer.
All the excitement and stress—buying a home, renovating, moving—and my recent unhealthy lifestyle—took a toll. In October, I had a massive outbreak of hemorrhoids (a condition I’ve had since my 20s). Usually, after a few days of eating more fiber and exercising more, the veins will shrink, the bleeding will stop and the pain will go away. Only this time, nothing helped. Days went by and weeks went by and I was still struggling.
I finally went to my doctor and got some ointment and suppositories. I watched my diet and started working out and walking. After 10 days, the bleeding stopped and the pain subsided. What a relief! But within a few days, it started getting worse again. I used three courses of medicine and the doctor said the next step was surgery. Huh! Just thinking about it was terrifying. There had to be another way to treat this condition!
I started praying and said, Lord, have mercy on me, help me, heal me. I found Bible verses about healing, wrote them down and read them every day. Another thing that was very popular was in Matthew 8, verses 1 to 3, about a man with leprosy, who came to Jesus, knelt down and said, “Lord, if you want, you can make me whole again.” And Jesus touched him, and said, I will. And he was. Later in the same chapter, a Roman officer asked Jesus to heal his sick servant. Jesus told him to go to that man’s house, but the Roman said, “Lord, I am not worthy for you to enter my house; Jesus was amazed at the faith of the Gentiles and praised him for it. He healed the servant. Other scriptures that helped me are Psalm 6, verses 2-3; Exodus 15 verse 26 and Exodus 24 verse 25. I began to declare “Thank you Lord for healing my hemorrhoids” before it happened, I believed that He would.
But I didn’t just sit around waiting for it to happen. I continued my research on the Internet. Rather than buy myself an expensive ‘miracle cure’, I was determined to try everything that was reasonable and affordable. Some of the things that have helped me include:
– Sitz baths – fill a large tub with very hot water, add Epsom salts, and soak my back for 20 minutes twice a day.
– White oak bark – one website recommends adding this mixture to sitz bath water
– Herbal Supplements – I tried many, Butcher’s Broom was the most helpful
– Fiber – three times a day I took psyllium fiber. Inulin fiber was almost perfect and very easy to take
– Diet – I changed what I ate and how I ate (see my article ‘How Hemorrhoids Made Me Healthy, Fit and Sexy’ for details)
Exercise – I started working out 3-4 times a week at my condo gym and going every day during lunch
When I went for my annual checkup in early December, I had lost 8 pounds and was in good shape. I felt better and looked better. For several days, I felt little pain and the bleeding almost stopped. I began to believe, and declare, that I would be 100% healed by the New Year.
Looking back, I realized that the fleeting thoughts I had over the summer – that I should eat better and exercise more – were God’s way of trying to get my attention. He wasn’t a spoilsport, he had my best interests at heart. He knew my chronic condition was about to explode and wanted to help me avoid it. But I didn’t listen. When it got to the point where I was in severe pain and ready to do whatever was necessary to stop it, God helped me get the information I needed. And committing to making changes – in the way I eat and exercise – that will heal the hemorrhoids and I will be fine. I learned that when I don’t respond to God’s ‘advice’, He presses me harder. Tough love. I wish I had listened to him sooner! But, because things got as bad as they did, the changes I was forced to make changed my life forever.
I have a confession to make, though. I am not perfect. Two or three times, on the weekends, I drank too much (chips, ice cream, pastries, alcohol) and my hemorrhoids flared up again. Constipation caused bowel movements and the pain of a painful colon reminded me that this condition does not go away – it sleeps. Under the right circumstances (eating foods that cause constipation and not working enough to maintain the digestive system) bleeding and pain can return.
This resumption of gratitude made me thankful that God did not cure my acne. I believe he could. But you know I’m lazy and amuse myself; that there are times when I am not as careful as I should be. In family gatherings, where we have large meals with a variety of food, accompanied by wine or beer, followed by desserts and coffee. Or when I get off work, when I’m tired and don’t feel like exercising. It’s easy to fall back into bad habits, so I’m thankful for these reminders to get me back on track.
Now, because I have learned the hard way, I am convinced of the need to eat a nutritious diet, with lots of fruits and vegetables, and little milk, meat and saturated fat. I know I have to stay active – walk every day, take the stairs, exercise. Being strong and healthy feels good. Staying balanced promotes physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. And that means I can enjoy living a ‘purpose driven life’. (Note: this phrase is taken from the book “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren.)
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