More Belly Woes

Virtual colonoscopy? I don’t recommend it. It’s uncomfortable and embarrassing.

I had an unsuccessful/failed regular colonoscopy in April. My doctor was trying to investigate what he called “thickening” where I’d had the diverticulitis on my last CT scan. I woke up from that colonoscopy to hear he hadn’t been able to scope me.  The internal scarring from the diverticulitis was so bad he couldn’t advance the scope. He then ordered a virtual colonoscopy.

I had heard virtual wasn’t bad, just an x-ray of sorts and I could drive myself home afterwards because they weren’t knocking me out. None of that was true. My son ended up driving me because I was so sick.

The prep was a disaster. I have never been that sick. I won’t go into details, but I had an overpowering, intense nausea and violent diarrhea. I got three hours of sleep and was up and visiting the bathroom again at 4:20 a.m. I was dehydrated, had a migraine and the chills. A step on the scale showed I was down seven pounds just from last Friday! That was all water weight lost.

The test itself was fairly fast once they took me in. Waiting is always the worst part for any sort of procedure. I was awake the entire test and that was the stuff of nightmares. A rubber catheter with a balloon attached was inserted in a place it shouldn’t ever go. Then it was inflated and air pumped through the entire colon. Yuck and ouch.

Images lying on my back and images lying on my stomach, and they removed the torture device and I was free to go.

I get the results from my doctor in a few days. I’m home resting today, and I think my belly is finally calming down after 24 hours of extreme upset.

One More Day

My antibiotic is finished. My bloodwork is normal. Today is my last day home. Tomorrow I return to the rat race. I do not want to go. 

I do not want to return to deadlines, stress and a huge volume of W-O-R-K on a daily basis. I’ve been able to read, rest and write. All that will fall by the wayside when work returns to sucking the life out of me. 

I used to love what I do. Now I’m not sure if it’s too much or not. I’ve enjoyed being home even as sick as I’ve been. I can breathe. Work is just that – work. 

I like my coworkers. I just hate the idea of working and the reality of my job. It’s been divided across three people since I’ve been gone. That’s how BIG my job is. It’s always been too much work for one person. I wonder if the stress contributed to my health issues. 

I know I have to return. I have student loans and a mortgage. I also carry the family’s medical and dental insurance. I have found myself wishing and wondering what if. 

I wish that I had been better at web design and could’ve found a way to work from home. I have a degree in it, but we couldn’t afford for me to start over from scratch. Building a business and building a client base would have taken time, money and talent that I didn’t have. 

I wish I could afford to retire. The closer I get, the more I’m ready. I am not a traveler, even less so since the digestive issues that have caused me to lose thirty pounds in a year. I just want to rest and relax. 

I will miss the quiet, and the calm and the comfort of being at home. I don’t want the stress and the expectations and the discomfort of work. Here I can put my feet up, I can nap, and my family is familiar with my digestive issues. These issues are not always group appropriate or group-friendly. 

I will try to enjoy my last day at home in my cluttered, messy house. I’ve been too sick to do anything about the messy inside and out, too. Even with the clutter, it’s home. Home that I will miss. Home that work will take me away from. 

I used to say that work was where I went to stay sane. Now I’m not so sure anymore. 

Psyllium Anyone?

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Psyllium is the main ingredient in Metamucil. My gastroenterologist suggested I begin taking psyllium tablets to help my belly issues. The tablets are supposedly more palatable than the powder form of psyllium. I used to drink Metamucil powder (the orange flavor) for my IBS. It’s been a while since I’ve used it.

Diverticula (or pouches on the intestinal wall) form because of age and because there’s not enough fiber in the diet. The “itis” part comes when those pouches get food stuck in them and an infection starts. That’s diverticulitis in my layman’s terms.

I have never been a healthy eater. As a stick-skinny pre-teen, I was an extremely picky eater. My older brother used to tease me relentlessly, insisting my mom just feed me birdseed since I ate like a bird. My mother usually served meat, potatoes and a vegetable. There were lots of pies, cakes and cookies. She enjoyed baking.

After I got married, I served meat and potatoes and I gradually learned to eat and enjoy some fruits and vegetables. I had to be careful with fiber because of my IBS. Healthy food always seemed to race right through me. I did great with Weight Watchers Selection Plan (similar to Richard Simmons’ Deal-A-Meal program). You ate based on the food pyramid and had so many selections of dairy, meat, fruit, vegetables, breads and fats/oils that you had to eat each day. It forced me to eat a variety of foods.

As I aged and endometriosis and IBS both took their toll on me and my digestive system, variety got to be more of an issue. I transitioned to more of a straight meat and potatoes diet with only an occasional salad. When diverticulitis reared its ugly head, I was put on a low fiber diet, and there I’ve stayed.

My GI doctor changed my probiotic. I’m now on the generic form of the Phillips’ Colon Health probiotic. My primary care doctor put me back on a multivitamin when I expressed concern over my limited diet. I now take two Flintstones gummies daily. Now I contemplate adding in the fiber capsules. Another change for my system, and probably enough to put it into fits until I adjust again.

What’s that old expression? Youth is wasted on the young? Then there’s Health is wealth. I do believe that health is wasted on the young. I took good health and feeling well on a daily basis for granted. Now that feeling well is more of a day to day thing, I wish I’d taken the time to appreciate what I had when I had it.

Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. – Joni Mitchell, 1970

Resolutions and Ramblings

Everyone always resolves to make this year a better one. I’m no different I suppose. I’ve already started the new year with a bang. I watched the ball drop, stayed up to read, and started the year with a stomachache at 2:50 a.m.

While the rest of the family drifted off to bed (hubby at 10:00 p.m. [we joke that he’s 80 instead of 60], my boys at 2:00 something and 3:00 something), I had to stay up until things settled. I took my 6:00 a.m. blood pressure pill at 5:00 a.m. and went to bed at 5:30. Sad, huh? Still I had a nice, warm, sleeping hubby to cuddle up with. Beats the cold bed I have most nights.

I was up at 8:30 to feed the cat, back to bed, then up for good at 11:36 a.m. today, and I’ve already argued with my youngest son over the trash. Yay, 2018! Off to a great start here.

Still it could be worse. Alive and breathing, right? My oldest son is out shoveling and clearing the cars so we can go visit my mother in law. At least that’s one thing I don’t have to do anymore (shoveling). Wait. Maybe diverticulitis has a positive side after all. I just have to look for the silver lining.

As for New Years resolutions, I’m not sure I made any for 2017. I usually just hope for the best. I probably resolved to sleep more, swear less, be nicer to others, and lose weight. Pretty standard fare. The only one I managed was losing weight, and the diverticulitis diet is not one I’d recommend.

For 2018 I’ll resolve to eat better. A tender tummy demands that. I’ll also resolve to move more. A dear co-worker has already said he’ll get me out walking with him at lunchtime this year. Even if we only go occasionally it’s better than what I do now. I will try to be nicer to those I love or care for. That’s a good resolution. I can’t abide most other people so I’ll resolve to just ignore them more. Less lashing out with comments under my breath or actual middle fingers in the air. I can be an adult, right?

2018 has to be better because 2017 sucked so badly. My oldest son kept asking me last evening if it had really been that bad of a year. Yes, for me, personally, the year was awful. Car accident and health decline. Those last six months of belly upheaval really overshadowed any good that might’ve been there.

2017 is gone. 2017 is done. And here’s the brave and happy face I’ll put forth in 2018.

Happy New Year, everyone.