Pharmacology, Tattoos, and a Clean Kitchen

Dear Blank Page,

I can’t wait to tell you what I’ve been up to lately. Aside from dropping in to experience the shopping event known as Lilly for Target — just for kicks — I’ve been working on cleaning and organizing bits of my house. No pressure, just small bits. Well, I started with a biggish bit; tackling some bothersome issues like dirty toilets, litter boxes and my kitchen sink (which by-the-way looks brand new again now that I scrubbed it.)

I guess this sounds pretty ordinary and maybe not any bit impressive to most people. That’s okay. When I’m depressed and bathed in anxiety I have no will to care about most things. I drop out of life, lose focus, and hunker down in some deep part of my brain. The mere fact that I not only care, but that I’m acting, well…that’s a really good thing.

I’m not entirely open with people about how deeply affected I am by mental illness. I share articles on Facebook, but I never say, “I loved someone who suffered. I am someone who suffered. It’s been around me my entire life.” I told you that I’m getting help. Finally. Really aggressively, seriously trying to recover. My mental illness and shame has manifested in several ways. One way was drinking. I no longer drink. I’ve also struggled with disordered eating and an eating disorder since I was a young girl. Those behaviors are proving challenging to change. But, the progress I’m making with my depression and anxiety is helping and giving me hope that I can recover. I am working with a counselor, an MD, and a registered dietitian. They are good people and I feel safe with them.

I tell you, I was so resistant to medication for so long. It frightened me. Dependency, bottles on bottles on bottles, false hope. I tried medication after medication when I was in high school. It was terrible. I watched my mom try medication after medication. It was terrible. But I decided to try again at 33 and 11/12ths. I was getting worse. I could see the cycle happening. And the thing is, it’s working. It’s helping. But it’s not just the medication. It’s the help too. Anyway, I’m feeling good.

Also, on Saturday I went for a consultation for the tattoo I talked about a couple years ago. It’s going to be a little bit different than what I described that day, but I’m finally taking action. I’m exited but also kind of scared and anxious. I’m supposed to go on May 7th to get it inked on my right forearm. I’ll show you when it’s done.

So, I guess that’s it for now. I just wanted to say hi, see how you’re doing and let you know what’s new.

Take care!

Katie

 

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Things That Make Me Tingle

I watched two Brené Brown TED talks last night. My body tingled; my legs went cold though covered in a blanket and my heart starting thunking loudly. After a spirited conversation with myself, I got off the couch, put on my flip flops and went for a walk. (And my feet now have blisters because I no longer have flip flop calluses.)

Two geese flew over my head while I flip flopped down the sidewalk. I was transfixed by deer across the street and so busy mindfully breathing the air that I didn’t notice the geese until their butts swooshed over me. Thank goodness they didn’t poop on me! So aware in some ways and so oblivious in others.

Here are the two TED talks I watched — I highly recommend watching them. They were over before I knew it and I wanted more.
Brene’ Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

Brene’ Brown: Listening to Shame

Wrap Me Up in Sheets of Paper

I have a habit of buying notebooks. I don’t know what it is, but I love a new notebook – all those blank pages ready for thoughts, scribbles, lists, dreams, drawings and plots. Tonight, I opened one of the several that was sitting on my desk at home. My plan was to draw out ideas for my wrist/arm tattoo on the blank pages. The tattoo is meant to remind me of a few things: my mom, my spirit of hope and fire in my soul, my connection to nature, the connection between body, spirit, thought, and emotion. It’s a lot to for a few lines of ink on skin. But I know I can do it.

Anyway, I grabbed a green composition book with a pen clipped to a page with a mundane note about a wireless key. As I walked back downstairs I scanned the pages and noticed pages and pages of words I’d written about myself while doing exercises from “What Color is Your Parachute.” This was a notebook from the end of 2011. This was from a transformational period where I was job hunting after leaving my job of 6 years. This was a notebook from the last few months my mom was still alive. (A side effect of my mom’s passing is that I tend to measure time in “when Mom was alive” and “after Mom died.”)

The words are quite different from what appears in my current journal. There’s a page with values. Those are the same. There are lists of goals. Boy, I have a tendency to expect a lot of myself. There is a list of commandments I wrote after rereading “The Happiness Project.” Still relevant.

I have deep ruts created by the repetition of negative thinking and habits born from shame and unmet needs. In January, I reached out for help. While I’ve written privately, finding out how to share more publicly has challenged me. Embarrassment, shame, and fear have kept me from being open about my life over the last couple of years. I’ve known for a long time that something about how I feel isn’t quite “right.” Though, right and wrong isn’t really a good way to view feelings. I’ve worried that people will treat me differently. I’ve worried that people will worry. I’ve worried that I will feel worse. I’ve worried that it will impact my work, though my anxiety and depression already have. These are only the beginning of the worries.

The truth is, I’ve lived with anxiety and depression, self-harming behaviors and thoughts for a long time. Cycles and patterns, I could make a quilt.

I am still me. That has not changed. I still cherish animals, adore my nephew, believe in kindness and truth, compassion and love. I still love jokes, smiles, and laughter. These other voices inside of me are tricky and persuasive. They offer comfort in their harm. But I am finding the other voices. The voice that wrote the values. The voice that wrote my talents. The voice that’s warm as sunshine (trite, but work with me here), and playful.

Impish, spritely, gentle, and strong. Silly, caring, serious, and funny. Inquisitive, thoughtful, spiritual.

I’m working on a new internal infrastructure to fill the ruts and build new roads. (Do NOT insert overused Robert Frost quote here.)

I am still me.

 

 

[Did anyone read this and think I was about to come out as a lesbian? Because when I proofed it I could totally see that. But, I’m not; just plain old mixed mood disorder, terrible body image and disordered eating- though girls smell better and have nice hair and shoes.]

18 Mile Long Run Mantra

I sit here now freshly shaved and showered with my calves encased in bright pink compression sleeves. Like a girl less than half my age, I’ve just used a sharpie to write on my right arm and my left foot. A poorly scribbled bird with the words “faith, hope, pride” occupy the slim inside of my wrist while only a single word is scrawled on my foot: everyday.

I can most closely compare my emotions of late to a deflated, over-used bouncy ball. It can no longer reach the highs it once did and finds itself more quickly plunging to the ground. I wrote a post yesterday going into great detail about some of the reasons I feel this way, but in the interest of internet attention spans and keeping on topic (maybe someday I’ll be an editor — even if it’s a night school writing class) I will give you the following summary:

  • Working two jobs is emotionally taxing. Not only do I have less free time (I’m an introvert remember) but the reasons behind the need for the second job add their own level of stress: money.
  • Marathon training. I feel like I’m not doing enough. Between feeling terrible and achilles pain (which caused me to back off training) I’ve been worried that I’m not doing enough to prepare my body (and mind) for 26.2 miles of work.
  • Health issues. I haven’t been feeling well. I mentioned mental health, but physically, I’ve been feeling off. Why?
  • My lady bits are out of whack. I’ve had issues in this department for a long time, but this year they’ve been worse. I’ve missed work and it’s impacted my life. My last pap was abnormal and showed atypical glandular cells. This is apparently a pretty rare result and warrants a colposocpy from an OB/GYN (which is not rare). I had that on Tuesday. It also warrants an endometrial biopsy. I was prepared for the colposcopy and the possible cervical biopsy (which they did because there were spots seen), but the endometrial biopsy was a surprise. No need to imagine any of it, it’s not pleasant. What I did not expect was the intense emotion I would feel after the appointment. I’ve spontaneously cried in the ladies room at work, I’ve yelled, enraged, at other drivers and I’ve contemplated every bad thing this could mean.  THANK YOU, INTERNET.  The thing is, if they say “nothing is wrong” why have a felt so terrible month after month? Anyhow, name an emotion (other than the joyous ones) and I’ve likely felt it this week.  And if I even so much as think about “I wish my mom was here to talk to” I start to cry.

Okay, so there is my summary. But that’s not even the real topic of the post. That’s your back story.

Tomorrow, my long run is 18 miles of which 6.2 will be run as part of the Plaza 10k. I’ve been very anxious about this. However, tonight at the ripe hour of 7pm as I was working on my pre-bed night before a long run ritual – expanded race edition — I started singing and dancing. I felt…relief? What I was singing was Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.” While not the most mellifluous, my voice gradually opened and soared — like birds (if birds sound like chipmunky frogs.) I kept repeating “don’t worry, about a thing…every little thing is gonna be alright.” Singing is believing.

I shook my booty — unafraid (okay a tiny bit afraid) of pulling a muscle or using too much stored glycogen the night before a big run! But I realized, there isn’t anything else I can do. I can’t make biopsy results appear any faster or change their result, I can’t get out of the run, I can’t change the weather or my body or anything really. But I can control my thoughts and my attitude. I can sing about those three little birds and hope my neighbor doesn’t think I’m drowning in my bathtub.

When I finally got in bed to carry out the official “wind down” I thought, “why not give myself any inky reminder of that kitchen karaoke performance?” Why not draw on myself like a twelve year old. I’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo on my wrist ever since my mom died last year, so why not test it out? A bird tattoo and/or a meaningful word or phrase is exactly what I had been considering. But I haven’t been able to decide between several words: faith, hope, pride. In the last voicemail my mom left me she said “I’m proud of you every.day. of my life.” It’s stuck with me. I hear her voice without even having to listen to the recording. It’s carried me at times the way knowing she was always there carried me.

Three little birds: faith, hope, pride — everyday, I’m alive.

Confessions by Katie

For the past month or two I’ve really been thinking about adding meat, eggs, dairy and seafood back to my diet. I started with dairy in the form of yogurt and then finally added cheese last week (but in very limited quantities.)

Last Sunday, I ate chicken. It was in my burrito bol from Chipotle. It felt strange, but it tasted pretty good. “Okay,” I thought, “I can do this. I can eat chicken sometimes.”

However, today when I tried to eat chicken on my salad it was not the same. I had about 2 bites and I didn’t like the taste and I didn’t know why I was even trying to eat it. I still don’t like the idea of an animal dying to feed me. I don’t need help increasing bad cholesterol, I don’t like the idea of animals living in captivity or factory farming and blah blah blah everything most vegetarians and vegans will spout and everyone will tune out (including the spouter.)

What was really unsettling to me was why after over a year of no meat I was suddenly thinking about adding it back in when none of my core beliefs or feelings had changed.

Today with fork to mouth it clicked in my brain. I’ve been depressed. My mood has been out of control up and down, but for the most part, I’ve been pretty down all the time. That leads to feelings of indifference. Which can lead to no longer caring about things you once cared about — like say, animals dying to feed you.

Secondly, I’m tired of feeling different. Maybe no one cares. But it gets tiring to be the special diet restriction person. “Grabbing a quick bite” doesn’t really exist for me. Part of that is my choice, but a big part isn’t. LORD, I’d LOVE to be able to just go eat without caring. Or eat without getting sick. Grab a sandwich or a taco or a burger. But food is more than just tasty stuff I put in my mouth. It’s ethics and feeling shitty and nutrition. I can’t eat without thinking about nutrition any more. Sometimes that leads to over-indulgence because it gets so tiring to try to be so perfect all the time. I try to thnk about all the things I CAN eat. And there are tons and plenty. But add in social dynamics or lack of money or time and it just spirals into a web of indecision.

My problem with eating for nutrition is that I also eat for pleasure. Food has always been something I could enjoy. My escape. Comfort.

We recently had an ice cream sundae bar at work and instead of my usual non-participation, I had a scoop of ice cream with half a banana and some Hershey’s syrup. And someone of course commented. “Hey, Katie is eating what we’re eating!” I do usually have something in those settings, it’s just not usually what is being provided.[ Generally, that’s due to the whole no-gluten thing. Lately, I’d even been thinking about testing the gluten thing again. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe it was all in my head. I mean, that’s what the media wants. And then I accidentally ate carrot cake with whole wheat flour and DEAR LORD did I feel like hell. I didn’t know what it was at first, but once I realized what it was, it matched up perfectly based on timing of consumption and symptoms. Dumb.]

The other part of the equation is weight loss. I am FREAKING out on some level about my body and my weight loss. Even though I see messages every day about loving your body and accepting yourself and I know I’ve lost 90 lbs, I am still unhappy. I still only see a fat blob. I have freaking acne that won’t go away and a protruding belly that I fear will always be there. After losing 90 lbs and running 4 half marathons — I’M STILL FAT.  Not only am I still fat, but acne covered and homely. I haven’t worn makeup in ages (partly because my skin is so sensitive and partly because I’m lazy.) I just don’t feel attractive on any level. Yay depression?

With the depression has come a real struggle to avoid emotional eating and make good food choices. I thought if I could make myself eat things like chicken, I could help my weight and fat loss. People always talk about lean protein. Maybe I could do a week or two of lower carb and high protein and drop some weight fast! Yes! That’s the ticket.

Any how, I’ve been trying to deal with the emotional roller coaster and I’m lucky because I have good friends who have been there for me when I’ve vacillated between wanting to lash out in anger at people and when I’ve wanted to put my head down and cry. I’ve honestly just kept expecting to wake up and suddenly feel okay again. That hasn’t happened. It doesn’t work like that. Not really. I’ve added on to this taking “THE pill” for the first time in 16 years to help with some issues and so far it’s just exacerbated most of the demons. I’m still holding out hope that I’ll normalize in less than 3 months. There are other factors that are large contributors to my stress, anxiety and depression but I have word-vomited long enough for now. Just please know, I’m not being a nancy-pants. There are real things, valid things, to be causing my feelings. And even if there weren’t; even if I just felt this way with no reason to which to point (and part of it probably is that) that would be okay. (I have to tell myself that. I still have trouble believing it.) So, thanks for reading if you did.

Stuck in the Middle

Something has been in the back of mind for a few months. A fear, a worry a perpetual pest. For the last several months, my weight loss has been slower than I’d like. As soon as I get down, I seem to go right back up. Why am I bouncing around so much? Why can’t I break this barrier? Why is this so hard?

I’ve hit the spot where I’ve failed in the past. I fear that I will never surpass this point and reach my ultimate goal. Sure, I am in a lot better place than I was 2 or 3 years ago, but I am not satisfied. There is more fat to lose and more fitness to be gained!

With 45 lbs left to go, I don’t feel like I should be having so much trouble. But here’s the thing: I keep making concessions for myself. I keep making excuses. I keep sabotaging weight loss for instant gratification. I’m still working out and I’m still eating mostly healthy — but it’s the stuff that doesn’t fall under “mostly” that is costing me. Too many indulgences.

I’ve been telling myself it’s okay to just maintain for a bit. This is a long process and at some point, I’m going to be done losing weight. I’m going to be in maintenance. What then?

The take-away (ha!) for me is that I need to hold myself accountable to my goals. If I truly want this, I need to keep plugging along. Keep pushing. Keep challenging.

So, bye-bye my darling M&Ms! Bye-bye, sweet, sweet Reese’s eggs! Bye-bye ice cream and Fro-Yo Friday*! Bye-bye: Dove Promises, random dark chocolate, Junior Mints, boozey treats, Jelly Bellies, gluten free cookies and cake! Until I can learn to moderate your consumption, I must steer clear.

One thing is different — I’m not beating myself up. I’m not tut-tutting or feeling shameful. It’s okay that I’m not perfect and I’ve sort of coasted. It only becomes un-okay if I never get passed it.

So, here I go again. Focused. Competitive. Optimistic.

 

*Lord how I love Fro-Yo Friday. Screw going out on the town on Friday. I like settling in with my jammies and a giant thing of frozen yogurt from my local shop. They had dark chocolate curls (HAD :() and my goodness. Perfection. Sometimes I get fruit, but usually not because it gets gross in the freezer. Sigh.

Tomorrow Is Another Day

I awoke today with joy. I felt lighter.

Something I should clarify about last night’s post. (other than the fact that I was drugged when I wrote it – so please,  consider that when critiquing.) Actually, this came up when I was working out with Cheryl this morning.

[SHAMELESS PLUG:  Cheryl is awesome. I would NOT be where I am today without her help. Not just the exercises she makes me do. (Sometimes I am enjoying chatting so much that I have to stop myself when I’m working out and remember I’m working out. Anyway.) The guidance, the accountability, the nutrition help, the encouragement, the ideas for just every day healthful living. If you can’t workout with Cheryl in KC you can sign up for her daily emails. You’ve seen me blog about them before. The extra cool thing about the emails is this: they aren’t just emails. You get interaction with Cheryl. And with that, we are back on track for the topic of this post…]

I ate a lot of M&Ms. I sought out and purchased the medium size bag of peanut butter M&Ms and plain M&Ms. (I didn’t share that particular piece of information. It wasn’t just one bag y’all – it was TWO.) I also thought it would be a great idea to have tortilla chips and salsa for lunch on Sunday. I love love love (oh mi amore!) chips and salsa. I didn’t write last night’s post to celebrate my foray into binging. That’s what it was. It was a binge. It should not be celebrated. It was different from an indulgence or a treat.

One of the hardest things about overcoming an addictive relationship with food is understanding what is happening when it is happening and before it happens and finding a way to alter the behavior and the thinking. I didn’t want to alter the thinking on Sunday. I just wanted to eat my chips and salsa and my M&Ms dammit! It was a slip.

Having someone to talk to about it can remind you of things that need to run through your brain: Have a plan. Think about it before it happens. Have alternatives. Think about how you feel after. It isn’t easy. Sometimes you will give in. (Like I did.) But most of the time you won’t. And the feelings you will get about not giving in will bolster you. And it builds up.

Figuring out why you want to turn to comfort foods helps too. I was feeling bad about a decision I made and bad about my run. I’ve also been feeling uncertain and scared about my progress. This is the point where I usually fail. And I so badly want to succeed. I so badly want to be proud. I’m humbled every time someone says something nice to me or about me. But it also puts pressure on me. I feel like I have to be great not just for me, but for other people. But that is a powerful thing. I want to help people. (I’m also a total glory hound – HA! not really) I want to help me. It’s all just one small decision at a time.

After opening up about my tryst and acknowledging the feelings and thoughts that were driving the desire, I felt so much better. It allowed me to wake up today full of joy and hope. It made me feel lighter.

FACE IT. Plan for it. It’s not going to go away. If you are an emotional eater, that part of you isn’t going to go away overnight. You are going to have to work on the thoughts and behaviors. You are going to have to face it. Slay it. Pick it up and hug it close. Look it in the eye.

Enough.

1000 Reasons I Am Awesome

First, the humble side of me needs to tell you that I stole the title of this post from an email. (This now reminds me too much of Ana’s “inner goddess” from Fifty Shades of Grey. Why did I just admit to knowing anything about that book?)

Second, this post is in response to my Lamentations on motivation.

Essentially, I need to focus on the awesome that I’ve achieved. This was not my idea, but Cheryl’s. Just talking about it made me feel better. So, I’m forcing myself to focus on positive things. Good things. Things which I have achieved.

  1. I’ve lost 64 pounds through healthy methods.
  2. I’ve inspired others to make healthy changes in their lives by adding exercise or working toward a fitness goal.
  3. I’ve completed three 5k runs and I’m going to train for a half marathon.
  4. I can run a mile for the first time in my life. (and not feel like I’m dying)
  5. There are no longer X’s preceding the size in my shirts.
  6. I can lift heavy things.
  7. I can carry big things of water bottles up stairs.
  8. I am sticking to my gluten free/soy free dietary needs and not “cheating.”
  9. I’m trying to be a better person by doing nice things for people.
  10. I eat a balanced diet, including lots of fruits and vegetables.
  11. I try to cook most of my own food.
  12. People always comment on the freshness and yumminess of my food at work and that makes me proud and (shyly) smiley.
  13. I chose walking instead of driving.
  14. I’m challenging myself.
  15. I’ve tried new things instead of running away. (and if you read above, you know that I can now run, so…)
  16. I come back from any dalliances (I make myself get back on track if I have a bad day or week or so)
  17. I didn’t let some major life events demolish me; instead I let them strengthen me.

That’s all I have right now. You should all watch this video that was left in the comments of my anxiety/fear-laden last post: Look, I can be a sark!

Katie Goes Shopping

Well sort of. After purging most of the clothes I owned (6 large trash bags full) that were too large, old, ill fitting, or that I just didn’t wear, I realized I had very few clothes to wear on a day-to-day basis. I was even low on pajamas that fit. (correction: am low. Gosh, I love pajamas. Can we just take a moment to breathe an “ahhhh” at the idea of great pajamas?) I currently have 2 pairs of pants in the wear to work rotation and one of them is definitely too big. I’m also wearing the same couple dresses (also becoming too big) on repeat. And t-shirts? Swimming.

So, while I was at Target last weekend I managed to see plain t-shirts on sale so I grabbed two in colors I like and hoped that I was right in grabbing “the next size down.” And I was. My t-shirts are now a size Large. NO X REQUIRED.

Riding on a workout fueled Friday happiness, I decided to tackle the notion of trying to find clothes for work that actually fit. I’m hesitant to buy a lot of clothes because realistically, my plan is that they won’t fit for very long. The problem is that gets expensive no matter how cost effective the purchases. But, I have to wear clothes. And they have to be work appropriate. AND, I don’t want to look like a crazy bag lady. Why would I spend so much time working out and being so careful about what I eat and ending up with a better figure, only to COMPLETELY HIDE IT AND MAKE IT LOOK BAD WITH ILL-FITTING CLOTHES? No. Not good for my delicate self-esteem. I know I feel better and interact better with the world when I feel like I look good. I’m challenged enough by being shy, nerdy, socially awkward and introverted. I don’t need to be constantly thinking about how stupid my clothes look. I need all my energy and focus on not saying something stupid, dropping the conversation ball, and/or spitting on someone.

Anyway, I ended up at JCPenney, which has long been a go-to for reasonably priced clothes that fit. Knowing that my size large t-shirts fit, I started scoping tops in the same size. I grabbed a few that I liked but I was distracted by jeans. One of my coworkers made an impression on me earlier with how good her jeans looked and I wanted to look that good in my jeans. So, I started rummaging (gently selecting) for “the next size down” in Levi’s and another brand that was in the same display area and looked cute. (I like dark jeans.) Arms loaded with size large tops and size 14 jeans (yep) I made my way to the delicates section because they have the best fitting rooms. They’re all purple velvety with a nice cushion, plenty of room to hang things, big mirror, and a real door with a lock. Also, they generally lack children and teenagers. [I have nothing against these two groups of humans. But kids run around and peek under doors and make bad smells and teenagers are loud and messy and in a totally different mental place than I am and I do not need that psychosis on top of my own 30-something, single self-conscious psychosis.]

Once again, I was distracted. My bras don’t really fit anymore either. And improper support and control is not only uncomfortable and aggravating, but it can make you look frumpy. I grabbed a couple of bras to try in a band size smaller than the smallest one I have and cup size smaller. (I tried on 36DD.)[I’ll cut to the point on this one. Band size seemed to fit but cups were too snug. I probably need to actually measure. I also desperately want to buy something pretty from Victoria’s Secret because I think I actually can now. And pretty bras are so joyous. And because I CAN.)

And then I took a deep breath, pulled off my cowboy boots and dress, and tried on clothes. And they fit. What the…? THEY FIT. Excuse me, but I’m still a fat girl. Looking in the mirror I still see the same contours of my belly and chest. But I grabbed mainstream clothes from the normal size section and they fit. I stared for a good five minutes.

I ended up not finding work pants – the main mission of the trip. The selection was small and size 14 was absent from the racks. As that practical reality set it, I decided not to buy anything I tried on. If I really really wanted it, I’d go back. But really, I don’t need jeans. I should use that money on something more practical like clothes for work or a bra.

Even though I walked out sans-bag and sans-debt, I did take something away. I’ve lost 61 pounds and I’m still losing. I’m not busting out of a size 22 and XXL any more. I shouldn’t feel ashamed of my body. I shouldn’t’ feel guilty thinking I look good. I’ve earned it. I’ve worked so hard for it. And I’m still working. And being a size large/14 feels like some sort of miracle. Instead of thinking about how some people would still find that fat, I have to focus on how I feel at this size – and I feel strong and hopeful, but a little bit scared.

And a little bit naked.

And Now What? Let’s Get Un-Glamourous and GIddy

I’ve felt just about every emotion in the last 72 hours. If you aren’t comfortable reading things that might be considered “TMI,” then don’t continue reading this post. I apparently have no boundaries anymore.

Yesterday, I spent my morning at North Kansas City Hospital having an upper GI endoscopy and a colonoscopy. This was my 2nd colonoscopy since the age of 10 (with a guest appearance of a sigmoidoscopy at the age of 21.) The procedures themselves are easy and pretty quick – it’s prep that is really unpleasant. Back in the day it consisted of enemas, milk of magnesia and a clear liquid diet. Now it’s just 1 day of clear liquid diet and a special cleansing drink and laxatives. The goal is to liquify everything in your gut and push it all out. You will drink more water than you have probably ever drunk in your life. (You are required to drink 32 ounces after each 16 oz glass of prep liquid and 8oz of liquid every half hour you are awake. Yes, 16oz per hour. So if you are awake for 12 hours, you are supposed to consume 192 oz of clear liquid. And you will be awake – a lot. Forget about sleeping well or for long stretches. You’ll be very busy shuffling back and forth to your bathroom. At least my bathroom is part of my bedroom and it isn’t far to walk from bed. You’ll also have to get up  around 2am or so to drink more of the prep just to ensure everything is cleaned out.)

Let’s talk about the prep solution for a minute. It is the most vile liquid I’ve ever consumed. Not because of what it does (it doesn’t cause the stomach cramps that are usually associated with a heavy laxative) but because of how it tastes and how you feel immediately after drinking it. This liquid tastes like extremely salty cough syrup. And instead of a couple teaspoons, you have to consume 16 oz at a time. Once you finish it, if you are like me, you will experience nausea and feel like vomiting. You’ll work on your deep breathing and keep sucking down your mandatory water (which will be somewhat of a relief as it helps get rid of the horrendous flavor of the prep solution.) Simply put, it’s disgusting and I started longing for the old days of enemas.

The time at the hospital was really pretty good. The staff in the GI lab was pleasant, personable, and helpful. The nurses were A+ and I can’t thank them enough. I tend to have a panic problem when it comes to being sedated. I don’t like to be out of control. Thankfully, yesterday my years of dealing with anxiety paid off and I was able to keep myself from boiling over. No panic attacks. No craziness. I got naked, poked, and prodded without making a scene.

When I woke up, I was so happy to  be awake and done. Answers! I might have answers! I might finally know what causes my problems so I can figure out how what I need to do to keep them at bay. I was GIddy. When I woke up there were pictures of my insides and notes about the procedure. They took 2 biopsies of my small intestine. One for Celiac disease and one for Crohn’s disease. If I was less lazy, I probably would have scanned the pictures and posted them. That would really be TMI for some, but eh. The only hitch yesterday was that I didn’t get to talk to my doctor after the procedure. He had to leave and I woke up early. It was okay, because I had some information, my coveted pictures, and I could have water and food again. (though I oddly wasn’t that hungry – sure, I still wanted to eat all the things because I missed eating, but overall, I didn’t feel famished or sick from not eating.)

So, yesterday I spent the day feeling relieved that the procedures were done. Okay, so maybe I have Crohn’s which would not be awesome, but it would be a place to start in determining how to make myself feel better. I pushed for the Celiac test because of my symptoms and the family history. I also went gluten free for a couple weeks (and I went back a couple weeks before testing so don’t tsk tsk me) and I felt better.

Overall, mentally and emotionally I felt good yesterday. Physically, I was tired and weak and my gut hurt. I was also really bloated (I told you TMI.) Bloating is one of the worst feelings. I knew I should expect it because they pump air into you so they can see clearly. And I’m pretty sure I woke myself up by farting loudly in recovery. I figured the ick would pass and I’d feel okay today.

But I didn’t. I felt really tired. Really tired. And sad. I don’t know if it was partly latent effects of the anesthesia (depressants tend to screw up my neurotransmitters pretty effectively. One of the reasons I don’t drink a lot of alcohol anymore is because if I do, I get depressed for days after. I sometimes forget how this feels and will drink too much and spend the next week in a depressive fugue. Also, my guts hate booze. See also, liquifying the contents of my gut.) [this post is really long now. I never intended to make this post so long. I doubt anyone is still reading. Oh well. Unicorn.]

Okay, so today. Right, I feel crappy. I have weird pinching pains in my gut, I’m bloated, and I’m tired and sad. I’m trying to get through the day at work because I’ve already missed a day and half this week and I have very limited PTO. I can’t afford to take unpaid days because I spent all my savings when I quit my job and I  took a huge pay cut when I switched jobs and I’m trying to get my budget back on track. (so, worrying about all that is helpful)

At some point in the late morning my doctor calls. Good! I can hear from the horses mouth. And he tells me both the endoscopy and the colonoscopy were normal. No polyps, nothing crazy. He did find some small ulcers and inflammation at the very end of my small intestine – the type of ulcers that are associated with Crohn’s – this is why he biosied this area. Only, there was so little damage that he doesn’t think that’s what is causing the pain. (I had 2 very strong episodes of pain with sulfury burps in March and early April. The pain was 7-9 on the scale. All the research I did said it was usually caused by fatty foods, an infection, or damaged small intestine from things like Celiac and Crohn’s.) Good news right? NO. It made me so unhappy. Really? So, I don’t have an answer? The only good thing I heard was that I can call on Monday for the Celiac result. I thought I’d have to wait 7-10 days, so at least that is going to be ready sooner.

Perhaps what was worst was when the doctor said it might be reflux or musculoskeletal pain. I’m telling you right now, it is not musculoskeletal. This pain and discomfort? It is GI related. Reflux? No. I’ve experienced reflux. I was fatter and I ate like crap. And I dealt with it on a daily basis. This is not reflux.

I didn’t know what to say or how to say it. I got off the phone and I wanted to burst into tears. I was NOWHERE – again. Meanwhile every time I eat my gut reacts. I can’t get comfortable. My stomach is not happy. I decided to eat mild soft foods for lunch. My stomach hurt. So I stopped caring and ate macaroons because I was irritated, tired, sad, and my gut was going to hurt anyway. FIVE. I ATE FIVE MACAROONS. Do you know how much roughage, sugar, and fat that is? And those are a few of the things that are terrible for GI disorders.

Why couldn’t I do a better job explaining? Why isn’t there a way to record feelings and let other people use their bodies to play them? I feel hopeless. What if the Celiac biopsy is negative? Then I’m really super duper nowhere. Square one. And still uncomfortable.

So, I’m still trying not to sit around and cry. I feel whiny. I hate whining. I hate complaining. But I’m so tired of feeling gross. As I sit here now, I’m bloated and my upper GI area feels tight and painy. I’m not looking forward to getting out of bed in the morning – but I will. I feel very alone.

But I did put my pictures on my fridge. So there’s that.