Posts tagged ‘IBS’

Blog Sabbatacal

Sorry to my faithful blog readers. I’ve been on blog-sabbatacal. Taking some time to soak in life and all things summer. But don’t you worry, I’ve got many blog posts planned for the future. I mean I can’t not talk about things like…

  • This new “butt station” desk toy that my hubby bought me
  • Mooning fish in one of my first experiences at the lake
  • My experience with a blocked small bowel at a family reunion last weekend
  • Introducing a new co-worker to our IBS/constipation talk during lunch
  • My garden… and then my pile of dirt
  • New recipes with fresh foods
  • And my …. colonoscopy …. THIS FRIDAY!

Yep, much to divulge so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy this picture.

Now THAT'S what you call good friends

I ran across this lovely toilet setting at a cute little cafe in Carbondale, IL. This was what the womens’ bathroom was like. And guys always wonder why girls go to the bathroom together. It’s so you don’t miss out on the opportunity to pee right next to your pal.

July 28, 2010 at 9:26 pm Leave a comment

Less-IBS… continued

So I’ve been experimenting with different ways to decrease my IBS-like symptoms the past week or so. So far, things are going really, really well. My belly hasn’t been in a constant ache and I feel better, more energized. This hasn’t decreased my number of trips to the potty, but I must be realistic about my goals here. If I can feel better during the day, bring on the bathroom trips.

Here are a few things I’ve noticed that have helped me feel better:

1. Sleep.  I know, this was #1 on my last list. But it’s a biggie for me. The more rested I am, the better I feel. I know, it’s revolutionary. But for this gal who’s got a lot on her plate, it’s important for me to remember, and it’s really helped me the past week.

2. Calorie Counting. Most people attribute this to weight loss. And while it’s important for that, it’s also a big help for those who struggle with IBS. Overeating can be one of the worst triggers. I’ve found over the past few weeks though, when I manage my calories and don’t go over my recommended daily total – I don’t have hardly any food problems. Granted, I’ve been eating a lot better, too, but calorie counting has tremendously helped me.

For a great calorie counter, I recommend SparkPeople or LiveStrong. (I have the LiveStrong app on my phone and LOVE IT.)

3. Diet. I know, another shocker. But a diet full of fresh, healthy, non-processed foods has really helped me feel better. At first all of the fresh fruits & veggies can be a little rough on the colon, but after awhile I’ve gotten used to it. It’s somewhat like fiber – when you first starting eating more, hang on to your hat. But after awhile, your body adjusts and you handle it much better. I do recommend; however, that if you’re going for a salad, eat some crackers or bread before and after. It’s helped me digest it and cut down the gas and other problems.

I’ve also really cut down on my meat and dairy intake. I’ve not ruled it out completely, but I’ve noticed a big difference when I’m not consuming as much (especially red) meat and milk. Still go for string cheese and yogurt, though!

4. Not eating after 9pm. I don’t follow this every night, but I try to as much as I can. If I can tap myself off on food and most drinks by 9pm, it allows my system to rest throughout the night. I just feel better in the morning. Also, this is another recommended weight loss tip, so it’s a double-bonus for us IBS-ers.

So there it is! My Less-IBS plan continues and is finding much success! If you’re a fellow IBS-er and have any other helpful tips, do share!

May 29, 2010 at 12:29 pm 1 comment

My Less-IBS plan

I’ll admit, sometimes I live in denial.

Maybe it’s just that I want to blend in. Or, it could be that the new burger botique across from my workplace keeps calling my name, and regardless of what will happen after I try it, I decide to go anyway.

While it’s fun (and in my opinion, very needed) to occasionally live in denial when you’re someone who has IBS-like symptoms, it’s only fun after a few days or at the very most, weeks, if you’re lucky.

So, after the past few weeks of splurging on all of the truffle fries, burgers, greasy tacos and oh, so much more… I’m taking the next few weeks to get back to feeling healthy. I’m ready to have my energy back, stop using the restroom at 1am, and eliminate the constant abdominal ache.

And, for the sake of accountability, and to help educate the world about life after colon cancer and colon surgery, I’ve decided to blog about it. Aren’t you lucky!!

So… I’m still formulating my plan. But here’s what Day 1 of my “Less-IBS” plan has looked like so far. Stay tuned for oh, so much more.

DAY 1 of Less-IBS
1. Get plenty of sleep. I’ve been running on “E” or “too close to E” for a few weeks now. This majorly impacts my mood and attitude, but even more my GI tract. Enough sleep = much better chances to having a better day.

2. Read about the triggers, remind myself of a good IBS diet to follow. Two resources I’ve used:
IBS diet recommendations from Midwest GI
Great website… and book. My mom bought me the book last summer after colon surgery and I refreshed my mind with its helpful tips and ideas this morning.

3. Plan my meals. Oatmeal for breakfast, got some soup for lunch, and set out chicken to cook for dinner. The more planning I can do, the better this is going to go.

4. Store list. “Eating for IBS” has helped me know what to keep my kitchen stocked with. I’m down on some of the important ingredients, must go soon.

Okay, so that’s my plan for Day 1…. we’ll see how this goes.

May 19, 2010 at 12:40 pm Leave a comment

Blowing Into Test Tubes aka My SIBO Test

Last week, I had the unique experience of testing for SIBO – Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth. Characterized by symptoms like:  bloating;  gas; pain; diarrhea; irritable bowel syndrome; and other *fun* things, I thought SIBO had just become my middle name.

My friends at Midwest GI were explaining what exactly SIBO was, and suggested I take the test for it. I agreed since it seemed easy enough. I got a small kit to take home to do a breath test with simple instructions to follow. Yep, just like the cops test for booze, except this test is better – it’s testing for bacteria in your small intestine! Woo hoo!

The day before the test, I had to follow a strict diet. This wasn’t too hard, since it was basically the diet I followed post-colon surgery. I could only eat white bread, rice, meat and eggs. Here’s what my menu looked like:

Breakfast of bagels & toast

We call them "toad in the holes" (basically an egg in grilled bread)

Now, I will admit…. it started to get a little harder to follow at dinner.

Cookout! Grilled hot dogs and hamburgers

Sort of hard to pass all of this up.

I followed this diet for 24 hours before my test. Though challenging at times, I got through it. I woke up the next morning ready to dive in and blow into some test tubes!

I had to wait an hour after I woke up to begin. I started getting the preparations ready by laying out all of the kit’s contents and triple-checking the instructions. I also had to remind myself that I could not work out an hour before, nor anytime during, the test. Needless to say, I was ready to begin.

The Testing Begins

I took an initial baseline test, drank this sugary-substance stuff, and then blew into a new test tube every 20 minutes.

Halfway there!

Because I had to stay nearby, it was a great way to get some things done. But yes, after three hours of blowing into test tubes and not eating, I was ready for it to be over.

Finished!

I finished all ten test tubes and then drove it back to Midwest GI for them to run the report. Super easy, and painless. I was so thankful that I could do it at home.

In my case, the test ended up negative – I do not have an overgrowth of bacertia in my small intestine. I’m guessing more of my complications have to do with post-surgery stuff, and because I only have a few inches of large intestine, much of my digesting is taking place in the small intestine. However, for anyone who does have their entire colon and still can relate to the IBS-like symptoms, I recommend getting tested! Even if you don’t have your whole colon, it’s worth getting tested if you’re having some similiar problems like too much gas or bloating. It’s an easy test, and could be the solution to your GI-related problems.

For more info about the SIBO test, click here.

May 11, 2010 at 10:59 pm Leave a comment

Reason #6 You Never Want Colon Cancer

Reason #6
You’ll start checking for bathrooms as if they were exits in a movie theater.

…or aisle seats on an airplane. Any entrance into a new place begins with scanning the room for nearest toilet. You need to know where to go in case of emergency. And all of my buds with IBS say “amen!”

March 7, 2010 at 10:51 am Leave a comment

Personal Health Update

I often get asked how I’m doing these days health-wise, so I thought I’d take today to give an update.

I pretty much am fully recovered and back to speed after my surgeries and hospital stays last June. It took a little longer than I expected to gain all of my strength back, but it’s rejoined me nonetheless. I’m back to boxing and doing Jillian Michaels’ workouts, which I’m convinced that if cancer won’t kill me – those surely will! Holy cow they are hard!

I was put back into the circuit of receiving checkups from my oncologist every 3-4 months after my diagnosis last summer, but so far everything has come back clear. My lab work is showing that my levels are normal, and my PET scan came back clean. I also had a CT scan that looked good. They did see a few spots around the liver that seem to be fatty deposits. They will keep an eye on them to make sure they’re nothing to be concerned about. I’ll have a follow-up CT scan sometime this summer, as well as an upper & lower GI scope.

I had an interesting time as I added another doctor to my “A Team” of physicians and began meeting with a geneticist. Because I’ve been diagnosed with colon cancer twice now and I’m not even 30, it’s highly suspicious that I have a genetic disorder. I was tested for “FAP,” but it came back negative. Back in the day when I was 17, M.D. Anderson suspected that I might have a disorder called “Lynch Syndrome” but testing couldn’t prove it. This past summer’s diagnosis raised suspicions again, as colon cancer appeared once more. My family and I were reevaluated and retested. While we would have loved to have concrete answers, we didn’t quite receive the certainty we were hoping for. But, reports were still clear and leaning toward there being a genetic problem, science just hasn’t caught up with us yet. I believe that my case has been left open to make us still have faith and hope. We can’t totally explain the two cancer occurrences, but we do know enough to try and stop them from happening again. The doctors have recommended that I be treated as someone with Lynch Syndrome so we can stay on top of the cancer risks and prevent it from returning the best we can!

Other than the frequent scans and more doctors appointments, life is pretty much back to normal. I still go poop (I’m asked that often!) – although because I have less than a foot of colon left, it’s much more often than others. I was very nervous about the foods I would have to avoid for the rest of my life, but it’s really not been that bad. Oils and heavily fried foods seem to be the worst, but I can eat almost anything in moderation – depending on the day, what else I’ve had to eat and my stress level. I’ve not had any more “IBS-like” attacks since my surgery (I was having several the month leading up to the big day) and generally feel pretty good if I watch my diet. As my blog shows, I have been eating more locally grown, organic foods to help me give me the best fuel and energy my body needs.

Of course, I still have my days now and then where I need to stay home, get extra rest, or stay close to the potty – but those are becoming fewer and fewer. I have a clearer understanding now than ever that each day is a gift, and feel so fortunate to be granted another second chance at a healthy life.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement through all of this! As you continue to pray for me and my health, I also ask that you keep fellow cancer soldiers in mind who are undergoing chemo, radiation and other treatments to kill, or hold back their cancers. It’s a rough gig, and they need all of the support we can give. I pray that many others who are currently fighting will also have their health restored and positive health updates to give!

February 11, 2010 at 5:18 am 3 comments

A Great Christmas Gift

Anyone wondering what to get their favorite gassy girl? Got a cool colon-less chico you’re shopping for this year? Might I recommend the 2010 Colondar.

For anyone who’s been impacted by colon cancer, GI issues, IBS, Chron’s, colon surgery, frequent colonoscopies, or ulcerative colis – this is the gift for them. The annual calendar tells the stories of at least 13 colon cancer survivors who are surviving the disease and spreading hope. I was honored to serve as Miss October 09, and while I tend to be partial to the 2009 gang, I have to say the 2010 group seems incredibly awesome. They’re a good looking bunch too.

Gift a gift with a cause this year to your favorite colon pal and support the Colon Club. You won’t regret it.

December 4, 2009 at 10:42 pm Leave a comment


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