Thursday, December 25, 2014

Look for a new look in 2015!

I cannot quit this blog.  I apparently just needed a break for a while.  I am going to be making a few changes but please look for the new and improved Jenni's Guts Blog this new year!  I'm excited and have tons of topics to write about.  I'm looking forward to this new year like never before.  I've always dreaded a new year, but this new year seems to be different.  I can't wait to share it with you.

See you soon!!
Jenni 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Moved...finally

We finally got occupancy of our new little house in the beginning of November.  We had to clean everything out because no one lived there for over a year.  The man that lived there prior had passed away and everything he owned was still in the house.  It was full of junk, furniture, food, everything you can imagine.  The hot water heater had leaked or exploded (or something) but we knew that going in.  It took several days to just clear out some of the junk so we could be able to move around inside.  The outside became our trash pit. I have so many before and after pictures to post.

We had to completely rip up our bedroom floor because of water damage and so we could fix the hot water heater. This was all up to my nephew to do the plumbing and my brother in law to do the floor.  Jay, the hubs, got a crash course in everything and helped everyone.  Once that was done we were glad we had hot water - or any water for that matter, and a floor.  We went about a week with a huge hole in the floor from where the water heater went.

The next big task was to get our daughter's bedroom carpet cleaned and the walls painted.  That didn't work.  We realized we needed new carpet and new padding.  The original carpet was not coming clean.  So we got new carpet and laid it ourselves.  Well, Jay and my nephew laid it. It looks better than professionally laid carpet if I do say so myself.

Next up, the toilet in our one bathroom needed replaced.  Once we pulled the toilet it was evident that the bathroom needed a whole new floor as well.  Seriously.  So again my brother in law and nephew and husband did the work.  At the speed of sound too because they all know how important it is for me to have a bathroom! These guys are truly amazing.

What about the kitchen walls and floor?  A nice coat or two of white paint made the kitchen look a ton better.  The floor was a different story. It was pretty ugly linoleum, but we could live with it for a while.  Well we decided not to live with it and put in some hardwood flooring.  Myself and the hubs started that job and my nephew helped finish it.  It was a pain getting all those little pieces to fit in properly together.  Many broken pieces, wrong sided sawed pieces and many thrown in a rage pieces later we had a beautiful kitchen floor.

Now the living room.  The carpet was disgusting and if our daughter's carpet wouldn't come clean there was no way this would either. The previous owner smoked, in the house, a lot.  We still had to wash all the walls and paint what we could.  But once we pulled up the old carpet and padding in the living room, don't you know that damn floor needed some replacing too.  Thank God it was just one side.  My brother in law fixed that too.  Then we had to get carpet.  And it was a bigger space so we had to call on a once removed cousin to come lay that carpet.  Knees were injured during the previous carpet installment so we had to find an outside source.  But we did and the carpet looks great!

So finally, after six weeks of constant work on our new little house, blood, sweat, and many tears later, we moved in.  We moved on a Monday night in the cold, rainy December weather of Ohio.

Now in the midst of all this repairing and remodeling we did lose a family member.  Lazarus, our huge black shepherd was diagnosed with an abdominal tumor and had to be put down.  It was awful. He was the third one in the last six months.  But we still have Loki the pup and Ellie Rue the husky princess with us and they seem to be adjusting okay.  Ellie isn't fond of change, but really, who is?

We still have only one bathroom but soon, I hope, we will add another one.  The stress of all of this seemed insurmountable.  I've lost about fifteen pounds just from constantly pooping from the stress.  The sadness of losing our home and a great majority of what we owned, and three of our pets in the last six months, plus all the debt alone should have sent me right back to the whack shack. Mentally, I am  beyond exhausted.  But then trying to find all the supplies we needed, the flooring, the hardware, the help...looking back it doesn't seem that bad; but it was.  There were so many days when I never thought I would be sitting in my own home warm and comfortable with my Loki by my side writing this post.  So much has happened in such a short amount of time.  It's just now starting to feel like home.  We have a beautiful lake right out back and we can see it from our bedroom window.  It's a very stress relieving view.  I can't wait until warmer weather so we can fish and start building our deck.

I just want to express my gratitude to my brother in law, Tony and my nephew, Joel for all of their help.  If it weren't for the two of them I don't know how we would have ever moved in.  The hubs about broke his back to get everything ready for us and still continued to work full time all week regardless of the hours he worked on the new place in the evenings and weekends.  I really thought he was going to just collapse a few times but he didn't.  He's a beast!  Thank you guys!

I also really need to thank my mother in law and father in law for their financial contributions.  Seriously, you will be paid back if it kills me!  We wouldn't be in this home without you two and I love you both so much!  Thank you!

For everyone else who helped with little things or things I don't even know about probably, thank you!  Your help means so much!

The moving disaster is finally over and we are all settled in our new home.  Now if I could just get that disability things would be a lot easier.  But for now I am just grateful.  Very, very grateful.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween tricks but no treats.

Just a quick update.  I got a letter from Social Security the other day that said they can set up my hearing date via teleconferencing.  I was stoked,  I thought this would be a great way for me to actually get my name on the docket in this century.  The very next day, however, I received a copy of a letter from my attorney that she had already sent, prior to my knowledge, to Social Security that stated she will not do the hearing via teleconferencing and she demands an in person hearing because that is her preferred method.  Didn't even check with me, just sent this directly to Social Security.  I figure with that kind of response I am sure to be moved back so far on the docket that maybe the judge's grandchild will actually hear my case.

Because I have been out of work for just 2 months shy of a year, we are barely scraping by on one income.  It is not my husband's fault.  He has a great job and makes decent money, however he has to pay for all the health insurance (that barely covers anything anymore) and by the time he actually brings home the money it is practically half of what he makes.  It's ridiculous. And sad.  And about fifteen cents too much to get any kind of assistance.

We are in the process of losing our house.  We are trying to find cheaper accommodations, but things just don't seem to be going our way.  It's just one roadblock after another.  I'm not sure what we are going to do at this point.  Things are looking quite bleak and I blame myself.  Because it truly is my fault in all honesty.

No I didn't choose to be sick, I know that.  But if I wasn't sick none of this would be happening to us.  My body has literally forsaken me.  I am so angry and so stressed and of course, that only exasperates the situation.  I am having more bad days than good but for some stupid reason unbeknownst to me, I keep waking up every day.  Is it wrong to hope for the zombie apocalypse so money will no longer be worth anything and be as totally useless as I feel?  Besides, I hear brains don't give you diarrhea.

Happy Halloween all!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Another year has started, Good bye.

I'm a bit emotional today.  My daughter's first day of school is today.  She's a sophomore now.  I feel like she just finished second grade.  I can't believe she is so grown up.  Taking advanced classes like geometry and biology.  Taking her third year of Chinese - a college course of Chinese so she will get college credit.  She is so smart and I am so proud of her.  She has an internal drive to well; to be her best. I admire that.

So it's a new school year and I've started the school year off by having blood work, stool samples and a CT scan of my abdomen and pelvis.  All came back normal, of course.  Well, sort of normal.  My CT scan showed that my colon/bowels are "flat" which is consistent with someone who has inflammatory bowel disease.  I asked my nurse practitioner about it and she said that it means my bowels are weak; worn out.  That kind of scared me.  It got me to thinking.  I'm sure this is because of the mass amounts of diarrhea I have, the cramping, the gas pains and stretching my intestines endure.  What will my bowels be like in another 20 years?  What if they cease functioning all together, what then?

My Crohn's is in remission right now.  I still have to go to the bathroom 7-12 times a day, but I guess that's just par for the course with me.  No one can seem to figure out why and they aren't treating it with anything other than Imodium, Lomotil and hope.  I continue to have stomach pain which has no cause and no treatment. They won't even give me pain medication for it. So that's it.  This is how I am supposed to live.  I'm done with tests, I'm done with doctors, I'm just done with it.  I'm sick of fighting and struggling and dealing.  I am just going to have to accept that physically, this is how I am going to have to live  If the stupid disability people would just get me a court date and give me my disability things would at least be a lot easier financially.  We'll see what happens with that - next year.

I realize I sound a little less than positive and encouraging and maybe I am.  But when faced with the knowledge that my life will physically never get any better, there is no treatment, no drugs, no surgery, nothing they can do to improve the symptoms,  it is less than encouraging.  It's downright sad.  I'm worried about how my body will continue to deteriorate over the years and how much worse I will get. 

I'm probably not going to blog much anymore, but I'll definitely keep the blog active so people can read it.  I know I have a lot of good posts that may help someone feel not quite so alone.  I just feel like since they cannot pinpoint exactly what is wrong, and can only tell me "It's not your Crohn's", it's a little silly for me to continue a blog about Crohn's.  So many others with actually flaring and active Crohn's/Colitis have blogs that are great.  They can discuss new meds, old meds, new treatments and diets, and all those kind of things that I can't.  I can only say "I don't feel good" and "I have diarrhea", so many times and so many ways before it gets old.  And I really have nothing else to say but that.  So this is the conclusion (for the most part) of Jenni's Guts.  I may post a few things now and then but unless it's something more than my not feeling well, you won't see anything new on here. 

I love you loyal readers.  I am so proud that this blog has had over 55,000 page views.  I'm grateful to my 118 followers.  You've made me feel important and loved.  Thank you for reading and be well.  Much love to you all!!

Jenni Schaeffer - author of Jenni's Guts Blog

Friday, July 11, 2014

I'm in heroin withdrawal - sort of

When you are sick a lot you stay home and do nothing but watch TV. Thanks to Netflix I have a large variety of very interesting material to watch. I recently came across a series called Drugs, Inc.  Being a nurse, and a patient, I am interested in drugs of any kind and how they affect your body. Not that I want to take these drugs, just want to know about them. I'm weird. Whatever.

While watching Drugs, Inc., I was able to learn a few things I didn't know about heroin; it's consumption and withdrawal.  These were confirmed by research on the Internet.  One particular site states this about heroin withdrawal.


Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms and Warnings

Heroin withdrawals can be very difficult, even impossible to manage without professional medical assistance. A physical addiction to heroin is marked by the withdrawal symptoms that set in once use is stopped abruptly. Withdrawals from heroin can set in within six to 24 hours after you discontinue use. Commonly reported withdrawal symptoms of heroin include compulsive itching, sweating, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, extreme agitation, depression, cramps, insomnia, restlessness, muscle spasms, cold sweats, chills, diarrhea, fever, muscle and bone pain, yawning and sneezing. The severity of these symptoms can depend on the amount of the drug taken and the frequency.

Let's take these symptoms one by one shall we.  Compulsive itching.  I'm not sure if it's due to some of my medication or dry skin, but I am pretty consistently itchy.  I take Benedryl and Atarax for it.   Sweating.  I sweat excessively in the summer and winter if I get too warm.  Could be a weight thing or medication related but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the Fibromyalgia.  Maybe I will post on that at a later time.  Moving on, Nausea and Vomiting.  Every day at some point during the day I feel nauseous.  I rarely vomit but the nausea is always there.  After I eat, before I eat, while I poop and after I poop - which we know is a lot.  Nausea is a constant battle for me. Phenergan is a staple in this house.  Anxiety, extreme agitation and depression kind of all go together for me. I was recently allowed to lower some of my depression and anxiety medications.  As you know I was in the hospital for my depression and anxiety recently so it's definitely a huge part of my life.  I struggle daily. I get irritated easily with people and their stupid actions.  I don't understand why people do the things they do.  I regularly want to throat punch people but I don't.  It's  hard for me to control my irritation fits but I've dealt with them for so many years now that I can hide them pretty well. Cramps. Please, Crohn's pain, surgery/scar tissue pain, and IBS far surpass anything you can deem as "cramps".  Oh, did I mention that I get bad charlie horses in my calves on a regular basis? Or my intestines will ball up and spasm so bad I can move? I won't even go into what my menstrual cramps were like.  Insomnia.  Unless I am medicated I don't sleep.  Currently I'm taking Trazadone every night. Restlessness.  Goes with the extreme agitation and anxiety I think.  Muscle spasms.  See "cramps".  Cold Sweats and Chills.  I had a hysterectomy in 2007.  I am nauseous every day.  All of this goes hand in hand.  Diarrhea.  Really?  Need I even explain? I have four different medications I can take to relieve or help with my diarrhea.  But they are not without their own side effects and sometimes they don't even work.  Fever.  My normal body temperature is 97 degrees.  If it goes a few degrees up or down from that I am miserable.  Too hot, too cold.  I am rarely comfortable.  Muscle and bone pain.  Hi, I'm Jenni.  I have Fibromyalgia.  Yawning and Sneezing - whatever.  That's normal if you live in Ohio.  Which I do.

Apparently I'm withdrawing from heroin.  Good to know I'm just dope sick.  

Seriously now, far be it from me to say that living with Crohn's disease, Fibromyalgia, severe depression and anxiety is like heroin withdrawal.  I've never used heroin and have no desire too. I've never withdrawn from heroin so I can't say how intense these symptoms are for them but on paper there seems to be a lot of similarities to what I feel daily and what others with the same problems feel and what the heroin addict feels when they need a fix.  Just making an interesting comparison.  

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Just to catch you up...

As I sit upon my throne (yes, I'm literally on the toilet) and write this blog post, my stomach is aching and my bowels won't stop moving.  I'm so very nauseous that I'm actually afraid to move to fast for fear I will inevitably blow chunks.  Nausea has to be the absolute worst feeling in the world.  Far worse than any pain imaginable.  In my mind anyway.  That constant nagging that maybe you will and maybe you won't have to run for the bucket; I just can't handle. But I'm not writing this post to talk about puke.  I actually have lots to say.

First off, I'm sick again (still).  It's been going on for several days now.  Fatigue, headaches, nausea and mass quantities of diarrhea that just won't stop.  And pain, weird muscle type pain in my stomach.  Probably from purging every bit of food I attempt to eat.  I've lost ten pounds in three days.  (Yeah!) Oh, and my poop is dark green.  Cool, huh?  Not really.

So many things have happened since my last post.  I feel like my whole life has changed.  We had to put down another one of our beloved dogs, Ginger.  She was 14 and very sick.  But she fought until the end and then she was finally at peace.  Losing my animals is always a very hard thing for me.  She was the last of our three original dogs - Wicket, Baylee, and Ginger.  We still have Lazarus, Ellie Rue, and the new pup, Loki. Pets are a definite necessity for me and I love them like my children.  Especially because my child is now a full blown teenager and I can't stand her anymore.  (Just kidding...maybe)

I recently read this great article/website from the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation in the UK. Find it here. The UK has the best stuff!! This all about how IBD can cause fatigue and you can rate how fatigue is affecting you and your disease.  I took their test and apparently I am having a harder time with fatigue than I thought.  I mean, I always knew that I had fatigue and was exhausted a lot of the time but after using their tools I really came to realize just how bad it does affect my life.  I encourage you to check this out.  You might be surprised about how much your fatigue is connected to you disease.  I'm definitely bringing this up the next time I go see Dr. GI.

I'm happy to announce that we have gone back to church.  It was a huge part of my life when I started this blog and I'm not really sure what happened but somehow it was phased out when nursing school and trying to find a job and then working weekends happened.  But we are back and I'm so very pleased to say I can again see and feel God working and moving in my life.  Now, I'm praying for new intestines all together. Hey, it could happen.

I'm still waiting on my disability.  I really don't want to comment much on this because I am beyond frustrated with the whole process of things.  I hate trying to prove to the government how sick I am while trying to portray myself as normal to the rest of the world.  I'm to the point where I almost want to give up, but I won't.  It's personal now.

Lastly, I must tell you that the Hubs went and dislocated his left bicep tendon from the bone.  He had to have surgery to fix it.  He is still recouping but he has this really awesome arm brace that makes him look like a freaking Auto-bot!!  I think it's way cooler than it probably is.  Oh and the ironic thing...he's left handed.  So he was unable to use his left arm for anything for about three weeks.  He is now doing some physical therapy to make the arm stronger and bend more easily before he gets to go back to work.  He's gotten a lot of attention lately but I think the table are about to turn.  With my belly acting up I'm going to need some special attention myself.

So that's what's up in my world.  Hopefully we can just chill for the rest of the summer and no one does any major damage to themselves for awhile.  I pray my belly calms down too.  I'm getting to old for this!!!




Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A message from Loki the puppy

Hi everyone!  I'm almost six months old now and I just wanted to give you all a BIG KISS for following my mom's blog.  See you soon!!

SLURP!!!