30 Days of Blogging Honesty: Day 5

Day 05 — This is embarrassing but on average I cause the toilet to overflow about this many times a year because of deposits I made…

oy.

If you don’t want to read about poop and other such unsavory things, stop here.  I mean it! I have GI troubles galore, and I’ve been through nursing school.  When it comes to all things bowel, I can talk and talk and talk, and not get grossed out and well, I know not everyone shares my blase approach towards all things fecal.

I clog the toilet sometimes. 

Wanna know what gives with the weird question?  I’m playing a blogging game, participating in a fun blogging event.  Tom Baker and Cherlyn Cochrane created the “30 Days of Blogging Honesty” challenge – chock full of 30 writing prompts + one dare at the end!  Yowzers, it’s been wacky and fun, pushing me to write outside of my own comfort zone as well as to adhere to a schedule of posting (which I’ve been hit and miss on, so far).

To read all the rules and prompts, click this link.

In fact, the first clog in our Hawaii house actually just happened like two weeks ago.  It was a tandem clog.  I triggered the plumbing’s sensitivity, then Duggs forgot that potty was off-limits until I could fix it, and yep.  He good and clogged it, we’re talking overflowing all over the place.  A brown-water back up.

It was nasty.

It led to a new purchase, actually.  Check out this little gem we’re not the proud owners of:

new plunger/brush combo = so sweet!

Why do I have GI drama?

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when I was 19 years old.  I had two surgeries, took more meds than any college-aged gal should ever have to take, and when it was all said and done I was down an appendix, a bunch of bowel, and part of my colon.  The meds never made an impact on my “very aggressive” disease, and my bowel kept swelling, turning red, getting more diseased, more problematic, not processing or absorbing food and just basically giving me all kinds of agita.

Now, it looks like the reasons my trusty barrage of Crohn’s meds never worked is because I never had Crohn’s after all.  It seems like the blood disease I have, Porphyria, can cause nerve cell death in the GI tract, and that would mimic/emulate the kind of damage that an advanced and aggressive case of Crohn’s could do.

Wacky, huh?

So.  Now I’m left with shortened-bowel syndrome.  I have a very fast track, a nice anastomosis where the resection was clipped and re-connected, and some scar tissue that isn’t much of a problem now, but has been in the past (in ’09 I had a bunch of pelvic scar tissue zapped out with a small surgical procedure).

Add the pre-existing bowel dramz to the last 15 months of weird ear pain / medical malady / porphyria stuff … and it gets interesting.  The meds I’m on now actually cause constipation.  For someone used to going like eight or so times a day, being clogged up is AWFUL.  It’s so weird, foreign, frustrating, yucky.

On top of the meds I take for my other issue, now I take meds to make me go.  I drink PEG (miralax, it’s actually PEG powder that you mix with water, Polyethylene glycol, aka: “GoLYTELY”) every single day, I have a natural senna tea that I make.  I take 4 stool softener capsules a day too.  My intake of fiber and dairy are closely monitored.  I pay attention to what I eat all the time, always wondering if something will have an adverse effect on my very fragile homeostasis.

mmm, PEG! my favorite cocktail.

While the actual clogging of a toilet isn’t such a super often occurrence in our home… the opportunity for a situation to occur is right there, waiting in the wings.  My potty problems are plentiful, yes.

It’s something that I’m not even weird about discussing, I don’t usually mind it.  I guess the context just depends, the company I’m in will dictate how comfy I am with the details.  I used to think that I was totally normal.  When my college roomies sat me down and explained to me that I go too much, I felt like they were just picking on me.  “Everyone poops, don’t make me feel like a freak!” was my defense… constant BMs had become so very normal to me, I thought everyone went every waking hour.  I really did.

Once my GI problems were identified, it’s just been a constant battle.  I’m always having tummy aches and pains, I’m always having issues.  After my bowel resection, I was still in pain.  And not just your regular ole post-op pain, it was hurting just as it had before the surgery.  I told my docs and they thought I was nuts, they told me I had phantom pain, actually.  A C-scope later revealed that they hadn’t been able to remove all of the diseased tissue.  Crohn’s often presents with “skip lesions” – both another reason why what I had looks so much like Crohn’s and another reason why it’s hard to cut it all out.  Skip lesions are areas of disease that skip over areas of normal tissue, making the problem stretch out longer, making it harder to just cut out a bad part.

image credits: john hopkins g.i.

image credit: john hopkins g.i.

Luckily for me, I’ve never had a colostomy or ileostomy or any bag.  It’s been a HUGE fear of mine though, I always worry that someday it could happen for me.  I know it’s not the end of life and that millions of people live with worse things everyday.  For me, born in a bikini and spending so much time coming and going, hopping and bopping… it feels like it would be an epic game changer.  One that would be hard to deal with on many levels.  So, since I’m not one to stew in fear, I always just push that idea out of mind and stay thankful that it hasn’t come to it yet, not even close.

I have had a lot of other issues all in that same spot of pelvis where my gut is re-attached.  I’ve had a hernia there (repaired with mesh), I have ovarian cysts in that right ovary, which is right there.  I don’t have an appendix anymore, I’ve had to get scar tissue removed because it was growing rampant and messing with my range of motion.   That spot, McBurney’s Point, always hurts me.  It’s a troublesome spot, and since so many issues overlap right in that small region it can be so tough to decipher what’s causing what.

image source for this lovely mcburney's diagram

Since it’s likely that porphyria is my problem, I don’t take any GI meds to regulate things.  I just wing it.  That’s why it’s hard to keep things running smoothly, at least it can’t be helping.  It’s also why I’ve likely not had another major outbreak since my bowel resection (which was the Thursday before Easter in 2003, also that date that’s now our wedding anniversary, April 17).

I can’t wait to get my current health situation under wraps and be off the meds and get things back on schedule again.  Gas pains hurt so badly, being bloated and slowed up all the time is so hard for me to adjust to.  It’s why I take so many other poop-inducing meds to try and really push things along.

So back to the actual over-flowing of the can:

When it did happen recently in our home, I was the one who played plumber and picked it up.  I’m really not so sensitive to that kinda stuff, so I slapped on some gloves and got to it. I sanitized that bathroom beautifully, you would never know that anything so much as happened in there!  And well, I know that the common thought is that it takes a big situation to make the flow go backwards – but, well, I don’t think it was actually like that.  I don’t ever use an obscene amount of toilet paper, we don’t even own paper towels, I don’t flush non-toilet-appropriate things down there… it was just crappy plumbing (pun intended!).  We have very fickle pipes and plumbing here, and this is just one of many issues we’ve had lately.  Flooding dishwasher, flooding washing machine, crazy sink, running toilet, wonky shower pressure… it’s all par for the course around here.

So yeah, all that came of it was a new cleaning combo device which I like so very much.  And a little bit of time spent mopping up a rather nasty smelly mess.

This will now conclude the grossest blog post ever typed here at happy hippie rose.  If you read it, I don’t even know what to say!  Thanks?  Congrats?  Good for you?  I hope that this doesn’t gross you out and keep you away from my otherwise very nice and flowery blog.

And tune in asap for more of these wacky 30 Days prompts… I have a feeling that the really bizarre stuff is still yet to come!

As always, thanks for reading!  xoxo, hhr

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8 responses

  1. Roadkills made me laugh but Chron’s disease is serious. I really wish you didn’t have to deal with that. This post was not that bad! You are right though, some people might not be able to stomach it.

  2. Pingback: 30 Days of Blogging Honesty – Day 7 | happyhippierose

  3. Pingback: 30 Days of Blogging Honesty – Day Eight | happyhippierose

  4. Sooo, can I have a t-shirt that says “I survived Rose’s bowel blog-2012”?

    In all seriousness, it was enlightening! You handle everything with such grace, and you’re pretty much amazing!

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