My Gut's Buggin' Me
I've decided that this week's blog is going to be a patient-to-patient blog. No facts, no figures, just a write-up of how me and my gut are currently doing.
The reality is, I've been frustrated by my gut these past few weeks. I'm not in a full-fledged flare, but my stools are less formed (Have had outright diarrhea for two straight days last week), more frequent, and every few days or so I get those cramps and fatigue that make it hard to push forward through the day. In the past when this has happened I've usually been able to listen to my body and slow down. It's usually telling me something like, "You're too stressed." "You haven't exercised enough," or, "You aren't sleeping well." And usually I listen to my body and start to make the necessary changes to help myself feel better.
I know I've been eating pretty well, although I did try a few new food items last week that I won't try again. And I know for a fact that I am under an extraordinary amount of stress while I work to finish a year-long project that has a June 1st deadline. And for me, stress usually means I don't sleep well - last night I tossed and turned as thoughts and ideas pulsed through my mind. I think I finally fell asleep simply from shear exhaustion. It's amazing to me how tired I am. Even on those nights when I am sleeping a full 7-8 hours I wake in the morning and within an hour feel spent and ready to climb back into bed. This past week or so I've just been fighting to keep moving forward knowing that the end is near and there will be time to rest afterwards.
My fear, if I have one, is that my system, i.e. my gut, is simply going to "let loose" when this deadline is met and gone. I've noticed in the past that sometimes I don't always realize just how stressed I am until the stressful situation has come and gone. I then become aware of the amount of stress I was truly feeling because I usually end up getting sick - typically my gut goes loopy and I lose a few days to pooping and another day or two to recovering my strength from the aforementioned "episode."
I've gotten spoiled over the past six or seven years. My colitis has been pretty much a non-problem for me in that time and so now when I get these small to medium blips that pop up and interrupt my life I get frustrated and just a little angry again when I think that this will always be a part of my life. I think it was about six years ago that it really became apparent to me that I have a disease for which there is no cure. And even when I'm able to get my symptoms under control with things like Asacol, diet changes, exercise, stress-reduction, and positive thought the reality will be that I still have a disease that can affect me here and there throughout my life.
As I've mentioned before, my dad has colitis, too, and he is a bright spot for me when I look ahead to my future of living with IBD because it really doesn't seem to affect him on a day-to-day, monthly, or even a yearly basis anymore. My hope is that I can continue to be strong, to forge ahead even on a "bad gut day" and not let this get me too down on those occasions when it does get the better of me.
It's rare for me to "whine" or complain about my gut. But sometimes it's just nice to get those thoughts and feelings that rattle around in your head out into the open. So, thanks for reading and I hope all of you are feeling tip-top.
You can read my whole story in my book, Living with IBD & IBS: A Personal Journey of Success - www.ibdandibs.com