the smell of my desperation has become a stench

I never thought I would try to crowdsource a gratitude journal, but here we are

Bonjour, kind people! That means you, and you, and you, and YOU! I am not Oprah and do not have cars to give away, but if you were here I’d pour you some dry white wine (my drink of choice now that bourbon gives me an immediate headache) and swap stories about children who are incapable of cleaning up after themselves and how we somehow refrain from picking up every single randomly discarded sock (yes, the sock drama continues), soaking them in water and freezing them, and then attaching them like flags to the outside of the car when we pick those chidden up from school. I got this idea at a sleepover with fellow Mormon teens, one who stole everyone’s panties, froze them, and then hung them from the mailbox outside the home.

I will admit that when one of the girls fell asleep I participated in sticking capers around her mouth as if decorating a cake.

Hi, Trisha! Hi, Windy! Hi, Ashley! Hey, Windy, remember when your little sister was being a rotten shitblimp (I stole that word from a dude I don’t know on twitter), and we were tugging back and forth on a jacket and I swung her around, she went flying, and her head dented the wall? Good times.

I am writing this today in an upright position having experienced minimal pain associated with my gut — RAPIDLY KNOCKING ON WOOD BECAUSE I AM SUPERSTITIOUS AS FUCK — for almost seven days. Stay with me, please, this isn’t all about my stupid, dumb health. I promise. In fact, I am going to ask for your advice again, but this update about my stupid, dumb health plays an important part in what I want to ask you: should we refer to “anti-vaxxers” as “bioterrorists” or “plague enthusiasts” now that they take umbrage with the term?

Just kidding. That’s not the question, but do I ever like kicking a hornet’s nest.

I had pretty much given up on the idea that I would be able to eat food ever again without my insides feeling as if they were being shoved through a meat grinder. I have spent thousands and thousands of dollars this year seeing specialists who discovered nothing and prescribed me medications that cost over $400 a month (I tried samples of two of these meds and neither of them worked). An “integrated doctor” gave me hope during a free 15-minute phone consultation, but the $175 40-minute in person appointment was infuriating. She had decided before I walked through the door that I have SIBO, otherwise known as Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth. I won’t get into its details other than this: bacteria gets caught in the small intestine where it is not supposed to be and causes all sorts of trouble. I had already investigated SIBO thoroughly thanks to some of you who shared with me your struggle with the condition. It makes a lot of sense, but this doctor wouldn’t even hear my concerns about other possible explanations. Like, you know, a witch put a hex on my uterus and it is now filled with over a dozen ferret fetuses who are each nibbling on tiny corncobs.

She sent me home with a slew of supplements and two tests I’d need to perform at home and send into a lab. I won’t get into how much the final bill for that 40-minute appointment turned out to be, but fuck if I am going to take those tests. The results alone would cost me another $600. And sorry, but all that “Rick and Morty” merchandise is not going to buy itself to stuff into Cowboy’s Christmas stocking.

AND SO. Through much trial and error, and only because Cowboy has been relentless in trying to help me with this pain, we discovered this personalized regimen: one tablet of Allicin, one capsule of ginger root, three capsules of Huang Lian. I take a round once in the morning, and once before bed. I also take three capsules of Cordyceps mushroom first thing in the morning and drink an entire glass of water. I then wait an hour to eat. Right now I’m still eating small portions of food throughout the day as we test this out, but the results have been nothing short of remarkable. NOTE: I tried four other herbs known to treat SIBO and they made me feel worse, including the supplements the naturopath sent home with me. ALSO AND AGAIN: this is personalized and not prescribed by anyone with a medical degree. In fact, we pulled this together from anecdotal stories about what did and did not work for people experiencing my exact symptoms. A LOT of stories. Hours and hours of stories. Y’all, our food is so messed up. Gut pain seems like an epidemic in this country, and that is why I am sharing this with you. To scare the living shit out of you.

Will I eventually get some blood work done and have my thyroid tested and EVERYTHING else that I need to look into? Yes. Once I have saved up the thousands of dollars it will cost me to do so. I gladly will take this relief now.

As for my feet… they are much better — GIVE ME A PIECE OF WOOD TO BANG MY HEAD ON — but I still soak them every night in a piping hot Epsom salt bath and take a single gram of Kratom if I am in pain since I can no longer take Ibuprofen (Tylenol has no effect on me). If you google Kratom you’re going to see all sorts of horror stories being pushed by the FDA because those motherfuckers aren’t making money off of it. Also, if you’re ingesting metric tons a day of this plant, of course you’re going to get super messed up. I take a single gram once, maybe twice a week. It’s legal and it totally works to dull not only the pain in my feet but also headaches I get from having not eaten for several hours. Aaaaaaand now I’m under surveillance by the FBI who just this very second got distracted by my porn collection. Enjoy yourselves! I’ll be over here feeling the relief of my headache going away.

Which brings me to my point. I KNOW. The long and winding and endless spiral of my rambling brain, send your complaints to my butthole: I have put my life hold for the last five months, at least in terms of exercise and wellness, as I’ve tried to heal and figure things out. I am going to give my feet until the new year before I attempt ANYTHING physical, hot yoga being the first activity on the list. I am not normally a resolution maker. Usually when I want to make a change in my life I just make that change. Am I impulsive? Eh… no. I’m a mom. I have random dirty socks to freeze and attach to my car. No time for impulsive behavior.

I’m decisive and I’m Southern. If you haven’t heard, we’ll shoot you.

However, I’ve got three weeks to consider exactly how I want to take my life off of hold. If this regimen of supplements works, I will feel like I have been given my life back. And already I have so many things I want to enjoy again and work on. For instance, the arthritis in my wrists is so bad (it is hereditary and I have been using a keyboard for several hours a day since 1990) that I can barely hold a pen to write anything. I want to practice hand lettering to improve my ability to draw a straight line. Anyone have a recommendation for a good hand lettering book I should use to get started? Other than, “Use a goddamn ruler, woman.”

I also want to cook more — Cowboy has inspired me in this capacity more than anything else ever has in my life — I want to read more, I want to meditate, I want to walk, I want to discover new podcasts to listen to while I walk, I want to write more, I want to give thanks, I want to use my DSLR to take more portraits of my children, I want to organize our laundry room, I want to hang more art, I want to start drinking good tea (that sounds so weird but also relaxing?), I want to send thank you notes, I want to show up with a warm meal for someone who needs it.

I have two business ideas I’m trying to launch, and gut pain more than my feet has crippled me in this capacity. I am determined to overcome this by relieving stress as much as possible and enjoying myself in all the things I want to do to improve my sense of well-being. And this is where you come in. I know some of you love podcasts and others are masters of meditation. Some of you know which cookbooks are the best cookbooks. Some of you can journal like no one’s business (bullet journaling to me might as well be gobbledygook screamed in Greek, I just cannot wrap my head around it). Do you like tea? Have you found your favorite?

Also? Please feel free to advertise yourself here. If you think your business or endeavor could help out someone like me, pitch me! We are all here together. Your stories about SIBO got me headed down a research hole that gave me seven days of respite (and counting). I am indebted to you.

And if you have anything you’re working on and want to share your resources, please do. That may inspire all of us in ways you can’t imagine.

One last thing.

Thank you. You are all tremendous human beings. I promise not to shoot you.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

read more

SaveSave