This is MY thing. I own this shit.

Sometimes I get irrationally angry when my husband farts a lot. Or when he takes too long in the bathroom. Or if he doesn’t use air freshener. Or when he clogs the toilets.

Digestive issues are my thing. He is not allowed to have digestive issues! There’s only room in this house for one of us, and it’s obviously me.

I told you it’s irrational.

And I always use air freshener.

Advertisements

In the land of enemas. Also an update, post-doctor’s appointment

On August 10, I had a doctor’s appointment with my gastroenterologist.

I had actually been looking forward to this appointment because I was anxious to start something else besides two-a-day enemas. I had a gut feeling that they weren’t working. Ha, get it? “Gut” feeling? See, I’m starting to tell jokes! I must be coming to an acceptance of this disease. Or just feeling punchy tonight. Maybe it’s the solar eclipse.

Anyways, I told the doctor how I wasn’t really feeling better, after seven weeks of enemas. That’s boxes and boxes and boxes of enemas. I did enemas while traveling, when I was drunk, when I was hungover, in hotel rooms, in four different states. I don’t think I am the queen of enemas yet, but let me tell you, I was dedicated to the cause.

I was really just feeling like I was shoving medicine up my butt twice a day, rearranging my mornings to get it done, and then just still pooping like 3 or 4 times every morning before 8am even hit. My stomach felt horrible, even after I was done. I was unbuttoning my jeans every day on the drive in to work because I was so uncomfortable, I couldn’t even sit in a car for 35 minutes. I was working out and trying to run in the evenings, but mostly at the gym because I wanted access to a bathroom. But mostly it was the horrible mornings that I hated.

So I told her that and she was actually shocked. (Shocked sounds strong. Maybe she was just surprised.) She thought I should be feeling much better and be weaning off the enemas and that I’d be good as new. But instead, she prescribed me with oral mesalamine. I guess it’s the same medicine but I get to swallow pills. I don’t understand why that would work any differently, but I’m not a doctor so I won’t question it just yet. Unless it doesn’t work. Then I’ll wonder why we wasted time.

Apparently, this medicine can fuck up my kidneys or something, so she ordered a blood test to get my baseline on stuff and then I’ll need another blood test in a month or so to make sure my kidneys are still functioning. She explained that the enemas are the best way to treat colitis, because they are administered directly at the source of the inflammation. Obviously. I get it. So the oral mesalamine needs to travel through the whole GI tract in order to reach the spot that it’s needed. A lot of it can get metabolized and isn’t always as effective, not to mention the fucked up kidneys part. But at this point, I’m so sick of pooping at inconvenient times and having pain and urgency that I’ll try whatever the doctor says.

So she told me to keep doing one enema per day and also take the pills. The first pills she prescribed I was going to have to take four of them once per day. But they were not covered under my insurance and would have been over $1,200 to buy without insurance. That’s messed up. If insurance doesn’t cover these, why are they even offered? Why do they exist as a medication if no one can afford to get them? So anyway, she ordered a different brand, go figure, and this one is a slightly smaller dosage per pill, so I have to take two pills three times per day. They’re kind of big pills but I haven’t had any trouble swallowing them yet, like I thought I would.

I’m doing the enema once a day, at night as I’m going to bed. It really doesn’t bother me much, because I go right to sleep after I put it in. But, I think that I have worse gas at the end of the day because of it. I don’t know why that would be, because I didn’t have such bad gas when I was doing two per day, but ever since I went down to one per day, I have horrible gas around 7pm/8pm at night and it doesn’t really stop until I go to bed, and essentially plug it up with another enema. I wonder if the enema I was doing in the morning (and then pooping it all out subsequently) was actually getting rid of the lingering gas? I have no idea. All I know is, I’m gassier now.

I’m afraid to say that the pills are working. I’m not sure if I feel that much better, but I think I feel a little better. But I’m not sure. I don’t feel drastically changed, but I don’t know if I should feel that way or not. I don’t know how quickly it’s supposed to work. Also, if it’s the enemas that are giving me gas and making my morning poop routine shittier than usual, then I’m not sure if I can truly tell the effect of the pills unless those were the only thing I’m doing. There’s too many variables in this experiment.

The doctor told me to see her again in a month, so I’ll see her when I get back from my trip to Greece. That means I have to take the enemas to Greece. FML. But, I only have to do one a day. So I’ll only have to take like 12 enemas in my carry-on bag instead of 24. 24 would have been three boxes which would have been like my whole carry-on. So I’m still trying to look at the bright side. Not to mention, I obviously won’t be bringing enemas back with me, so I’ll have more room for souvenirs! Win!

 

If you are also in the land of enemas, feel free to comment. We can exchange enema stories. Just kidding. But we could if you want to.

How do I know it’s working?

When I started doing the mesalamine enemas, my doctor told me that I should wean myself off the Imodium. She said that we’d only be able to tell if the mesalamine was helping my symptoms if we could actually see whether I even had symptoms. The Imodium is hiding them.

Cue panic.

The Imodium was the first relief I had found in years. I could run again! I didn’t have to stop at the Dunkin Donuts to use the bathroom on my way to work! Our water bill went down since I wasn’t flushing the toilet as often!

I was nervous to stop the one thing I knew was helping me.

But I gradually decreased. I was taking it three times a day for a few weeks, then twice, then just once when I woke up.

I’ve recently started to feel better, just taking the one Imodium first thing in the morning. I’ve been on some runs around the neighborhood, I didn’t have to cut my morning dog walks short as often, and I didn’t have any urgent close calls.

I have been travelling a lot the past four or five weekends, but now all that travel is done for awhile, so I figured now is a good time to try to break my relationship with Imodium.

I went cold turkey on Sunday. I didn’t have too much planned this weekend so I figured I could be near a bathroom if I needed to be. (This thought process actually went through my head. This is where I am with the Imodium thing.)

Since it was a beautiful day, my husband and I went on a 10 mile bike ride. All smooth sailing there. I was fine for most of the day. Then we drove to a bar and on the way, I started to get some discomfort. I passed a bit of gas, still didn’t feel great as we parked, but then as soon as I got out of the car, the feeling passed and I was okay. I had a burger for dinner, drank a beer, and we headed home. All good.

Today, I again decided to forego the Imodium. I pooped a lot in the morning, particularly after the butt-drops. Great. (More about my morning and evening routine later.) But I figured I got it all out and I should be good for the day.

Then I had to go again around 11:30am. Not terrible, but not a good sign.

Then I’m driving home and I’m sitting at the longest red light in the whole city (I swear this is true) and I feel it. That horrible feeling like my stomach is churning and there’s a little twinge of pain and it might pass or it might be 100% an emergency.

I was still sitting at this red light, trying to think of literally anything else. I kept eyeing the towel on the seat next to me, knowing that I would not hesitate to use it if necessary.

The light finally turned and I kept driving. Traffic was horrible, per usual. The feeling subsided a bit, but didn’t fully go away.

And now I’m home. I haven’t had to use the bathroom. I think I feel fine.

But tonight is a beautiful night and I want to go outside and go for a run, but I’m literally terrified that the second I’m 0.2 miles away from my house or away from a port-a-potty I will have to go. And it will be an urgent emergency. Because that’s how it always happens.

So right now, I’m trying to stay calm, but I’m terrified that the mesalamine enema is not working. And if that’s the case, I don’t know what’s next. My doctor was so sure this would work that I didn’t even question it.

I want this to be over. I want to be better. I want to go for a run.

A Terrible Irony and My First Experience at a Team Challenge Event

In my day job, one of my clients is Team Challenge. Team Challenge is a program run by the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. I have been working on this account for over two years. And now I’ve been diagnosed with colitis. Talk about irony.

This may have been a good thing. Part of this blog and writing about this journey is to try to remind myself of the positive through it all. Because I’ve been working with Team Challenge, as well as their newest program, spin4 crohn’s & colitis cures, I am more familiar than most with what Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are. I am aware of the resources available. I know that there are millions of people affected by IBD. I know that there is no cure, but there are thousands of people affected in some way by these diseases who are working hard to raise money for research in a valiant effort to find a cure and to find better treatment.  Read more

Doing “Butt-Drops” in the Smoky Mountains

The past few days, I’ve been on vacation with my family in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, to explore the Smoky Mountains.

I had been really looking forward to this trip for awhile, but when I found out that I have colitis and that I would have to be doing the “butt-drops” twice a day every day, I started to get a little nervous. I didn’t want to have awkward conversations with my family. I didn’t want to be the center of attention. I didn’t want them to be asking me how I was feeling or how it was going. I didn’t want to have to talk about the logistics of the “butt-drops” or worse, have someone walk in on me while I was doing it.  Read more

The “Butt-Drops”

When the nurse (instead of the doctor) called to give me the news that I had colitis and that I would have to take an enema, I had to stop her.

“Wait, what’s an enema?” I asked.

She explained.

I panicked.  Read more

Before I knew

I wrote the following entry about two weeks before my colonoscopy. I was desperate for some relief and I finally got it after my doctor told me to try taking Imodium to slow down the frequency of bowel movements. It was heaven for those two weeks. Before I knew what the colonoscopy would reveal. I thought I had found the answer. I thought it would really be that simple.

So here’s what I wrote, before I knew that I had colitis: Read more

This is a safe space.

I’m starting this blog because I was diagnosed with mild colitis two days ago.

Amidst my panic and tears and flurry of Googling, all I wanted to see was some comfort. I wanted to hear people’s stories and know that I’m not alone. I wanted to find other people like me, who were dealt a low blow, just when they thought that life was amazing.

Read more