Good morning! I’ve decided to use my blog not only to writing, music, and other facets of entertainment, but, also to share my journey. I’ve had significant health problems for almost two years. Initially, my rheumatologist diagnosed me with systemic lupus (SLE) on June 19, 2013. However, the medication wasn’t working and I kept getting worse and developing new symptoms. So, after second, third, and fourth opinions, my neurologist believes instead I have fibromyalgia.
In April 2014 I visited yet another rheumatologist who I hoped would be familiar with autoimmune disorders. Following an extensive intake during my initial appointment, I found a place where the doctor also listened to me. Based upon my blood work, the doctor believes I have Sjogren’s Syndrome. She also made the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and pre-lupus. I’ve never heard of pre-lupus, but, hopefully it stays in the “pre” category.
Thank you for listening, each week I will have a new installment chronicling my journey- Which is now more frustrating than ever. I test positive for ANAs in my blood, but, the lupus tests are negative. There are several varieties of autoimmune disorders, with different caveats and health variations. Learning to live with the unknown has become my routine.
I realize I’m getting into an almost taboo subject. Very few girls want to talk about how they fart, much less poop. (Unless you’re Jenny McCarthy) But, I’m learning people sometimes have trouble with their digestive system and the end result (no pun intended) is not always comfortable. I'm on a mission to encourage conversations and sharing my journey in hopes to help you.
Since I was a kid, I’ve had trouble with my stomach. I used to wake up in the middle of the night and puke all over the place. (my grandma calls it “urp”, as in, “are you gonna urp?”) My poor mom cleaned up more than she ever wanted to. Maybe it helped her develop the strong stomach it takes to work in the medical field. I don't know what brought it on, I was just a kid, but, I dealt with more nervous stomach than I ever wanted. Fast forward to adulthood.
Several years ago, I developed what Denver doctors finally diagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I had problems eating again and things advanced from there. I developed the lower tumble rumble and strong cramps. Then, all hell busted loose. For years, I could be going along just fine and all of a sudden, I had to GO, and I don’t mean pee, I mean the real deal I’m gonna fill my britches if I didn't get a bathroom. I only had about 2 minutes between the gurgle and securing my hind end on a toilet, behind a tree, or in a sink (as in Bridesmaids…love Melissa McCarthy) At the time I was going through immense personal stress and also couldn’t eat because of ulcers. I lost several pounds and not in a good way. I also messed up one of my best pair of panties, because, well, one time it was like 9pm on a curvy, winding, climbing mountain road on my way back home and I had nowhere to stop. So, it happened, I really did it, I was shi…. not in the street, but, in my pants, in the car, while driving. Talk about distractions, lucky I didn’t hit an evergreen or a bear. I changed that whole saying, “does a bear sh%^… in the woods?” yep, they do and so did I.
Irritable Bowel is no fun my friends, at all.
Moving ahead like several years and finally crossed the hurdle of divorce, moving, financial issues, blah blah blah. Life got really good. And, I got back into physical fitness, gained some pounds and some muscle. Increased my endurance, ran 5K races, then, got into triathlons. I was on a roll until a brick wall called autoimmune disease stopped me fast in my tracks. The cumulative hit and miss of health problems finally all met each other and took root. Bastards.
I had various symptoms, and we’ve talked about those before, but, I developed something new….constipation. So, was the IBS back in reverse? Was it not fair that I only got one end of the colon stick before? Well, now I had the other to contend with. Folks, after dealing with this for a few months, I can tell you, that absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, we as a society way underestimate how good a righteous poop can be. It just normally makes its’ way through the body and out like it’s supposed to. It feels amazing, so cleansing. Am I right? I know I am.
I went from going maybe every 3-4 days…and people, I’m eating, so, all this stuff is just squatting in my lower intestines. Finally, I could go every day, it’s a miracle, truly. The other saying about a weight being lifted? Yea, that too, again no pun intended.
How did I manage this success from a 3-4 day schedule to almost daily? I added probiotic supplement, Greek yogurt, and dried apricots. I found my magic formula.
So, you say, why not eat more fruits and vegetables? I do. Daily, I eat from a variety of apples, bananas, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, melons, baby carrots, tomatoes, celery….you name it- I eat at least 4-5 different fresh fruit/vegetables every day. But, the combination of roughage just didn’t do it for me. I had to reach into a different way of dealing with my digestive system. It's why I began turning to things like dried fruit, chia seeds, and the probiotics.
Seriously, living daily with a digestive disorder can be more than uncomfortable, it can be almost debilitating. But, you could possibly do something about it. I don’t have all the answers, but, I know if we open up conversation, we can help each other learn new things about our bodies and achieve an awareness of how to ease the symptoms of allergies, autoimmune disorders, fibromyalgia, you name it.
And, seriously, you gotta poop.