Thursday, November 8, 2018

Quick pic

Sometimes I just wear cool socks and take pictures of my feet in my own bathroom! 


Sunday, October 28, 2018

Self Care - Part 2

In doing my research on my quest for good self care techniques, two things are always on the list that I tend to overlook.  Especially lately.  Eating well and drinking water.  

Okay so I don't drink iced coffee but I barely eat and hardly drink anything anymore.  I know this is a super important part of self care and I am really trying to work hard on changing it.  

Since I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease all the way back in 1995, I have had 150 lbs. of weight gain and loss from my lowest weight to my highest weight. Yes, that was one hundred and fifty pounds! All without surgery or any kind of diet or trying to lose or gain. The gain was mostly medicine related and the loss was from being sick.  I am on the lower end of the scales now and, I can't lie, I'd rather be slimmer than heavier (because society tells me I should be skinny but to love myself no matter what my size is. Somehow that's confusing.), but what is currently happening with my appetite and weight is not healthy.  I have lost so much weight in the last several months I hardly recognize myself.  I am trying to eat, I really am, but I have virtually no appetite anymore and eating has become more than just difficult, it's actually something I have to force myself to do.  I managed to eat three spoonfuls of cottage cheese and a few pieces of turkey lunchmeat today.  And that's all I'll have.  I can't eat anything else.  I just can't do it.  Food doesn't taste good and it hurts my stomach.  I end up purging everything from one end or the other anyway so why bother?  I guess the important part of the self care eating aspect is, at this point, I am trying.  Every day is a struggle but I am trying. 

Drinking water is another aspect of self care that is so important that they put it on virtually every self care meme I have found.  And if it's on a meme, it's good stuff!



I do drink water.  That's about all I drink. Tea occasionally, but water mostly.  I can't drink a lot of carbonated beverages such as soda - or pop - depending upon which part of the country you're from.  I occasionally can handle a small cup of coffee but it has to be decaf and even then it will destroy my colon.  I like juice and chocolate almond milk is the best but really, it's water for me.  You'd think I wouldn't feel so dehydrated all the time.  Perhaps I need more water.  The one or maybe two whole entire glasses I'm drinking in a day is probably not nearly enough.  Perhaps.

The next thing on my self care list is going to spill over into my next post.  Taking your medication.
I take my medication. Although it is becoming increasingly taxing to get decent pain medication from any doctor any where because everyone who complains of the slightest amount of pain is automatically a heroin addict.  I am unable to get anything to help my intestines because, dammit that lab work doesn't show I'm having an "actual" flare up of anything so we apparently just ignore the symptoms I'm experiencing.


Plus there was that time that the doctor pretty much looked at me and said "Go home and treat your diarrhea on your own, I'm tapping out."  So I found my own medication that actually helps.  It's illegal here, or sort of is.  It's cannabis and it helps me more than anything I have ever tried and I don't mean just because I can get high.  I don't have to get high to reap the benefits from this amazing plant.  And next month I will be applying for my medical marijuana card so I can legally get the medication I need to do it on my own - per doctor's orders.  And that will be what we'll talk about next, on Jenni's Guts.  Stay tuned.  And remember, eat something healthy and drink that water!!!  


Sunday, October 14, 2018

Self Care - Part 1

We've all heard of self care. You know, taking care of yourself and not forgetting to do things to recharge your own mental and physical health.  Self care involves things you want to do that are fun for you and not a huge drag of responsibility.  It gives you something positive back, which makes you feel good; instead of taking something away from you, which can make you feel worse. Honestly, I used to think that was just psychotherapy nonsense and a way for people to just check out of life and be lazy.  I believed "self care" was synonymous with "selfish".  Much like this...


But you know what?  I was wrong.  Totally. Taking care of yourself is NOT selfish.  It's NOT wrong and you NEED to do it.  I've been thinking a lot lately about the fact that my daughter is all grown up and on her own now. (UGH! - She'll forever be 6 years old to me!)  I don't have to take care of her anymore - not like I used to anyway.  My job now is to concentrate on taking care of myself.  I need to help make myself well and that is really hard for me because I'm a caretaker by nature. As a nurse, wife and mother, I took care of everyone and everything - except myself.  Now it's time to take care of me.  Which doesn't make me selfish and it doesn't mean I'm lazy.  It means I'm trying to become healthier - inside and out.

With all of the things I have going on with my health, both mentally and physically, I have realized that this self care thing is super important. When I was doing everything for everyone else and I finally had a little time alone, it became very easy to only contemplate all of life's problems.  I also spent a great deal of that sparse free time planning on what I could do next for other people instead of how I could recharge myself.  Neglecting myself in this way seemed like it made everything worse for my health because I never had the physical or mental energy to go the next round and it was exhausting. I pushed myself way too hard most of the time.  I sincerely just wanted to help everyone else but, in turn, refused to help myself.  That definitely needs to change.

Here are just a few things I've started doing to accomplish self care:

1. Writing.  More and more writing.  Writing of all kinds.  Journaling, blogging, jotting notes in my phone, creative story writing, writing letters I may or may not send... just writing.  Getting emotions, thoughts and feelings out and sorting through them helps me.  It also helps me remember important things because my memory just isn't the same as it once was.  Writing is something I have enjoyed doing since I was a very little girl and it is very cathartic for me.


2.  Music.  I cannot do much of anything without music playing anymore.  Although whenever I'm doing anything and certain songs come on, I inevitably find myself uninhibitedly "dancing it out" - no matter what.  Grey's Anatomy style! It's amazing.  Of course, I am exhausted after about two minutes, but for those two minutes I feel so great!


3. Yoga.  I've started doing yoga.  It's good for my body - especially my Fibromyalgia.  It feels good surprisingly.  It's relaxing and it's healthy.  I'm doing it at least once a week but my goal is to try for three times a week.  Baby steps though.  Again, I am very tired a lot and my though yoga feels great, my body doesn't always cooperate and my balance is shit.  But I have fun and that's the whole point.
  
4.  Rest.  I don't rest like I should.  I don't sleep well at all so I need to take time to just shut the door, tune out the world, be alone and rest.  No matter if that rest takes ten minutes or five hours.  No matter if I'm just lying there or actually sleeping.  My body needs rest and I'm going to give it what it needs.  It's hard to come down from that state of hypervigilance and feeling like I should constantly be doing something, but I'm trying.  And my body deserves the rest.  Anxiety be damned.

5.  Therapy.  Actual real therapy where I talk and deal with the real issues that have been weighing me down for years that I thought I had dealt with, that I pushed deep down and tried to ignore, and forever pretended that they didn't exist anymore. Those problems are there though, they aren't going to go away until I properly address them, and they are physically coming out in ways that medical doctors can't figure out or fix.  Perhaps the problems are much deeper and it's time to grow up and deal with them instead of stuffing them down and pretending they don't hurt and don't matter.  This isn't my favorite self care task but it's necessary.  It's also embarrassing to admit but it shouldn't be. 


6.  Allowing myself to not be okay.  No, that doesn't mean laying in bed and isolating myself from the world for days at a time and listening to sad songs in order to feel sadder and eventually just wanting to kill myself. (Though with depression that is tough to fight that sometimes.) It means allowing myself to feel sad or angry if I am sad or angry about something and take a moment to feel it and then move on.  Not try to ignore it and put that brave face on and pretend to be okay.  Sometimes I'm not okay and it's okay to not be okay.  But also giving myself a time limit to do this - so I'm not just continually ruminating on things that eventually spiral me into a that type of dark depression that is way too hard to get out of - is the best way I can allow myself to sometimes not be okay.


7.  Drawing.  Doodling mostly.  It's creative and you can do it pretty much anywhere.  Waiting in all those doctor's office waiting rooms especially.  Sometimes staring at the phone playing Candy Crush gets old.  Give me a pen and a piece of paper and I'm a happy girl. 


So that's just some self care things I'm doing.  They seem to be much more helpful than being self destructive, which I could just as very easily do.  But these are way more fun and much healthier.  There will be a part 2 of this Self Care post so stay tuned for that.  In the meantime... did someone say dancing it out? Yes Taylor, I will Shake It Off, thank you!


Self care. It's good!


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Views from the bathroom

Hey, remember when I used to take pictures of what I saw from all the public bathrooms I used?  Like these pictures of my feet???  Well, here's a fresh one.  Yep, I'm still wearing Chucks! Enjoy this picture from the gross McDonald's bathroom I had to use the other day.  I actually cropped out the disgusting trash that was on the floor just in front of me.  You're welcome!


Friday, October 5, 2018

My Interview with Pamela Jessen

Recently I had the pleasure of being interviewed by fellow chronic illness blogger, Pamela Jessen for her blog There Is Always Hope. Pamela writes about chronic pain and invisible illness.  My interview will be posted in just a few days.  Please take a gander at the other blogger interviews she has done already.  I believe my friend Vern from Leaving The Seat Down is currently featured.  Pamela is featuring different chronic illness bloggers for the whole month of October and I am so excited and honored to be a part of this.  You can find her blog HERE.  Thank you so much for all you're doing, Pamela, and I look forward to reading my interview with you. I hope you captured my good side. ;)

Friday, September 28, 2018

#GirlsDoPoop

Found this little gem today and I love it so much I've watched it four times in a row!!  Thank you, Nicole and Andrea, for making this video.


#GirlsDoPoop
Let it go
Let that shit out
Yes, actually shit
Don’t keep sitting on a throne of pretend
That nothing comes out of your rear end
That your caboose doesn’t let loose
Doesn’t drop a damn deuce
That you’re not the pooperstar that you are

It’s society’s dupe that girls don’t poop
That’s constipation of the mind
That kind of thinking is behind
Besides, pooping’s only natural
A purely factual part of having a body
Every body drops turds
To deny it is absurd
It’s part of being human
Pooping, peeing and tootin’
Especially if you love bread but don’t tolerate gluten

So get those gender rules off of our stools
We’re all born to be number one at number two
No one can tell you how to do your doo-doo right
To cross your legs tight
To hide like you haven’t pooped a day in your life

So let’s start a movement
A bowel movement
Away from worry, shame and doubt
Don’t hold that crap in
Push that shit out
At work, in restaurants in your school dormitory
Raise your voice and share your poop story
You, my friend, are not alone
So sit down
Stand up
And own your throne



Written by Nicole Story & Andrea Gibson
Performed by Andrea Gibson
Directed by Nicole Story & Dixie Dixon
Produced by See Pictures

I quite enjoy my Lavender Vanilla Poo-Pourri.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Crohn's IS Ugly - But It Didn't Have To Be

I didn't want this to be my first post after such a long hiatus necessarily, but I just saw this in my newsfeed and I need to talk about it.

It isn't a huge secret that I have a problem with a quote Shannen Doherty made about having Crohn's disease.  "There's nothing sexy about women saying: 'I've got to go to the bathroom right now,'" the television actress reportedly told Star magazine more than a decade ago. And she hasn't ever said anything else about her Crohn's disease - ever.  However, she has highly publicized her battle with breast cancer.  Here is the latest article about that. This leaves me fuming.

I'm not upset that she is doing well and that cancer changed her life for the better; on the contrary.  I am very happy that she not only battled cancer and won, but I am pleased how she portrayed her battle on social media and in the news.  I think that is a remarkable thing to do and it brings much needed attention to a very important cause.  I'm glad she is healthy and doing well.  I wish her no ill will.  I just wish that she would have given the same consideration to Crohn's disease.

Crohn's isn't as well known, or accepted, as breast cancer.  Back when I was first diagnosed with Crohn's, I remember laying in the hospital recovering from exploratory surgery being totally doped up on morphine and watching Beverly Hills 90210.  I remember my cousin called me and we were talking about my new diagnosis of Crohn's and I was in such a drugged haze that I was mixing up reality with what was happening on the show during our conversation. I asked my cousin if she showed her mom the ring that Brandon had given her. ( If I recall correctly, it was the episode where Brandon asked Kelly to marry him. )  Thanks morphine!

I didn't know anything about Crohn's at that time.  I didn't even believe that I really had it. I didn't understand.  I was 18 years old and had no clue how to handle a chronic illness that had no cure and would cause me to fight every day for the rest my life. Had someone been able to say to me, "Hey, you know that girl who plays Brenda on 90210? She has Crohn's disease and look at her.  Look at everything she can do."  I think it really would have made a huge difference. Everyone knew the show 90210.  Name me one girl who wasn't in love with Dylan. Go ahead, name one, I'll wait.

Shannen Doherty could have used her celebrity status to bring awareness to Crohn's disease a long time ago just like she did for breast cancer, only she chose not to because it wasn't sexy.  That's sad.  To me, that says she was more concerned about her appearance and what others thought of her sex appeal than helping someone who might be struggling with the same disease she had.  It's all well and good if I, some girl from Ohio, says I have Crohn's and talks openly about the struggles of it, but I'm no one.  If Shannen Doherty says it people would actually take note. There would be cool hashtags like #kickcrohnsass and #crohnswarrior all over the internet and people would know what it means when someone says they have that disease.  Those of us who suffer would hear things like, "Oh yea, doesn't Brenda from 90210 have that too?" Instead of, "What's that?"

Again, I'm honestly glad she is well and beat her cancer.  But I'm disappointed she didn't act the same way for something she considers unsexy.  Crohn's disease IS ugly, but maybe if more beautiful people like her talked about it openly it wouldn't be.

Now let's take a moment to admire Dylan for old times sake. Drink it in ladies!



Tuesday, September 11, 2018

I'm back, did you miss me???


I've been MIA for quite awhile - some of you may have noticed.  I would like to apologize to those who made comments that went unanswered.  I am sincerely sorry; I honestly didn't know that anything was awaiting moderation.  I haven't had access to my blog or email until recently.  There have been some big changes in my life and I wasn't able to give you all the rightful attention you deserve until now.

But the blog will go on.  I'm super happy and excited to have regained access and be able to blog again about all things Crohn's, IBS and Fibromyalgia related.  Oh yea, and all those other things medically wrong with me too.


I hope you all are well and I am really looking forward to picking this back up as it is a very important part of my life.  I didn't realize how much this blog really meant to me until I didn't have it there for a while.  Stay tuned for new posts coming soon!  And much love to you all.  Thanks for hanging around!!!


Friday, December 29, 2017

No surgery!

No surgery for me - that was my Christmas present. Dr. GI used a balloon during my colonoscopy to stretch the narrowed area at my anastamosis and barring all the pain I'm having still and continued feelings of bloating and fullness after I eat just a little, it supposedly fixed the problem.  I have yet to see results but I, as of right now, don't have to have surgery.  I'm just waiting to feel better from this procedure that everyone has assured me shouldn't have caused much pain, if any at all.  It's been a week.  I'm still very uncomfortable.  :\  At least it's over.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Christmas and Crohn's Disease

On the 1st Day of Christmas my Crohn's Disease gave to me:
A review of my Social Security Disability - I might lose my benefits! The same benefits it took me three years to fight for and cost my family nearly everything to get.  Happy Holidays!

On the 2nd Day of Christmas my Crohn's Disease gave to me:
An ER visit due to stomach pain which resulted in the doctor telling me to get a job and if I can't because of my chronic diarrhea I should "get a wheelchair with a bucket on it".  Yep, that actually happened! I've never felt more humiliated.  'Tis the season!

On the 3rd Day of Christmas my Crohn's Disease gave to me:
A small bowel follow through which took 4 1/2 hours and the barium still didn't reach my colon!  This test normally takes less than half an hour for me to complete.  I was in misery.  The pain was awful.  Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

On the 4th Day of Christmas my Crohn's Disease gave to me:
Festive news from the GI!  I have severe narrowing in my small intestine (hence the problems with the small bowel follow through) and must schedule a colonoscopy for further evaluation. A simple balloon procedure may not work and I might need actual surgery.  Fa La La La La!

On the 5th Day of Christmas my Crohn's Disease gave to me:
The remembrance that just 4 months ago I had a colonoscopy and the GI informed me that I did have some narrowing at my anastamosis and he could fix it with a balloon procedure later if it caused me problems.  Um, seriously, why didn't you just fix it while you were in there.  Here we are 4 months later and I've had nothing but problems.  What are you doing?!?  Jingle Bells!

On the 6th Day of Christmas my Crohn's Disease gave to me:
The opportunity to sit down and have a conversation with my daughter about how I can't make holiday treats and do anything fun with her while she's on winter break because I will be prepping for a colonoscopy and might be having surgery for Christmas!  Ho Ho Ho!

On the 7th Day of Christmas I said screw it!  I hate Christmas anyway, but my family likes it and once again my being sick has ruined something important.  This post was originally going to be a funny sharing of information about what's been happening in a light hearted way, but just typing all this out has really made me see what I've gone though the past few weeks and I'm really angry and upset and scared.

This stricture could have been addressed back in August but wasn't for whatever reason.  I'm unable to eat hardly anything because of the pain it causes.  My GI is not in a hurry to do anything about his situation.  I guess he doesn't have to worry about his insurance deductible starting over at the beginning of the year.  Nor does he have to worry about trying to get through the holidays being in pain an not being able to enjoy himself.  I'm so aggravated.  But while he is enjoying his family and holiday goodies I will be drinking my cocktail of Miralax and Gatorade and pooping my brains out praying it's not too much pressure on this stricture and my bowels don't explode and kill me.  Here's to no surgery, **clinks glass** bottoms up!

Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

MyTherapyApp

Back in May, I was contacted by MyTherapyApp - an app for smartphones which helps you keep track of your medications and also has a blog about all sorts of health conditions - and was informed they would be mentioning Jenni's Guts, and many other great IBD blogs, on their blog post about IBD.  You can check that out HERE!

Recently, I was contacted by MyTherapyApp again because they are doing another blog post with a travel checklist specific for those with IBD.  You can find that post HERE.  Enjoy!

Thank you to MyTherapyApp for including me and keeping me in the loop with your IBD related blog posts. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Sarcasm and Memes





I am nothing if not just a human ball of sarcasm. It's how I deal with things.  I think these memes sum up nicely how I feel when talking to most people, because most people just don't get it. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

I've been Acupunctured!

Just a little picture of my last acupuncture session.  It was explained to me that acupuncture is like a switch to the body's energy.  Pain is the blocker in the body which impedes the flow of energy.  If your shoulder hurts, like mine did, then you use the switch on the leg to unblock the flow of energy.  Like flipping the switch on the wall to turn the lamp on across the room.  So, to help my shoulder I got punctured in the leg. Please enjoy my beautiful leg and Hello Kitty socks!  And yes, there are 8 needles in my leg. Didn't hurt at all.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Alternative Medicine Update

First Visit:

The Naturopathic doctor gave me a diet plan to follow and a ton of supplements to take.  She thinks I have an overgrowth of Candida (yeast) in my system.  Probably true.  The all natural 'yeast be gone' pills I am taking make me belch garlic. It's pretty gross.  I'm fairly certain the smell is seeping from my pores now.  The one kind of powdered crap I'm supposed to drink smells like orange cream and the scent is very delightful.  Once mixed with water or juice though, it tastes like shit.  Not even orange cream shit, just shit.  Gritty shit that doesn't ever completely dissolve and leaves chunks in the bottom of the glass so you have to chew when you get to that last swallow.  It's supposed to help my stomach inflammation.  There are also peppermint essential oil capsules which literally make my poop smell minty!  No, seriously.  It isn't as refreshing as it sounds.  It just weird.  But at least I don't need to buy Poo~Pourri now.

Then there is also the other powder mix I'm supposed to take.  I can't do it though. I just can't.  Not only does it smell disgusting and kind of like coconut, which I hate, the taste is abhorrible.  It's not even something I can grit my teeth and get through.  I find the smell revolting and the taste of this powder once mixed is almost as bad as some of the colonoscopy preps I've had.  Yes, it's that bad.  And I want to take it. I want to like it.  I want to do this, but I just can't.

So now I have all these things to take that are somewhat difficult and so far aren't making me feel any better.  I also have this new diet plan that eliminates everything.  No seriously, everything.  I cannot eat anything.  The FODMAP diet was easier and left more options.  This diet is seriously ridiculous.  But I'm trying.  I'm failing, but I'm trying.


Second Visit

She adjusted the impossible diet to add more foods but is still eliminating wheat and dairy.  I honestly think she just added fish. I'm still failing at it.  She said I didn't have to take the gross coconut powder anymore, which is good because I wasn't doing it anyway.  I'm supposed to still take the orange cream powder which is kinda like, ehh okay.  She said I could freeze the garlic pills and that might help with the garlic burps. We'll see.  I'm also supposed to continue the peppermint poop pills. Oh, and there is Melatonin too, I'm taking 5mg every night.  Doesn't seem to be helping me sleep at all but she says it's good for intestinal nonsense so I'm taking it.   

She added some digestive enzymes.  I almost took them.  Until I read the ingredients and realized they contained pancreatic enzymes.  Might I remind you all of what happened the last time I took pancreatic enzymes??  It. Was. Awful.  I refused to take them.  Didn't even open the bottle.

And then there was the Acupuncture.

I have been having so much tension and pain in my shoulders and neck lately (Fibromyalgia and weather change??), I'm hardly sleeping at all anymore and the massages I was getting only helped for about five minutes so I asked if Dr. Au'Naturale had anything that could help.  So she stuck with me needles.  Nine of them.  In my shin and my arm.  I didn't feel a whole lot better but I did get this...


A huge, disgusting bruise on my arm (shown with a hair tie around it for size reference purposes) from one little tiny acupuncture needle.  Seriously?!  What the hell is wrong with me that I bruise like that?1  I didn't even feel the needle, I swear!

To be fair I did go back for a second session and didn't bruise.





So honestly, I don't know how it's going.  I don't feel much better.  My stomach is still being my stomach, my intestines are still being my intestines, I'm not sleeping worth a shit and my muscles are all tight and painful.  But that's the latest.  That's the update.  I'm still holding out hope. 

A little contest from Healthline

I was notified that my blog has been nominated in Healthline's Annual Best Health Blog Contest!  The contest has a voting period from November 21st through December 12th and every day you can vote for your favorite blog.  THERE ARE CASH PRIZES for the most votes!!!   If you vote for me I'd be super happy and extremely grateful!!  Click HERE and vote for Jenni's Guts because seriously, CASH PRIZES!!!

Thanks everyone and thanks Healthline!