Look at me! Asking for your advice! Please be gentle!
This is a random request to start off a blog post, but you didn’t come here to read the website of a law-abiding citizen who really believes that George Washington cut down that cherry tree with all of their patriotic, law-abiding heart. NO. You came here to read the woman who took one look at the hot medical student assisting my new gastroenterologist and told him, “You’re in the wrong room.” And when he assured me he was not I shot back, “I am NOT talking to you about my bowels.” And I shooed him with my hand. My bedside manner is adorable.
REQUEST: If you’ve ever spent time in Europe and experienced stomach or gut issues after returning to the states and eating food in the states, raise your hand or send up a smoke signal or wink or, if you know the secret Mormon handshakes, grab my hand and do the creepy-molester-come-hither-finger-stroke one.
Now, I have come back from developing countries with a stomach issue that I contracted while I was in that country, and I am not talking about that sort of thing. However, if you want to share your diarrhea story with me, you know I’m all ears and will ask you to get very specific (rubs hands together with excitement). I’m talking about food HERE that has made you ill AFTER you returned from Europe. And I am particular about Europe because I had no idea that this is an actual thing. I’ve been having horrible stomach pain since I got back from Paris and Amsterdam, and so many people have shared with me that they experienced the same thing. Or they visited the states and got ill here eating our food, and things instantly cleared up when they went back home. WHO IS PEEING IN AMERICA’S CHEERIOS.
(We talk about all of this extensively on my podcast this week. That, and I learned how to fold a fitted sheet! I’m in a cult now! Exclamation point!)
APROPOS: I am heading back into Paleo territory with my diet to determine if specific foods (wheat, soy, dairy, legumes, etc.) are causing my symptoms. I don’t know, yet, but I do know that this is what they’ll probably ask me to do anyway. And for anyone who may be experiencing what I am, ButcherBox is running a special promotion through the end of the month where new members receive ground beef in every box for the lifetime of their subscription. Free ground beef for LIFE. Thankfully I have a killer recipe for Paleo huevos rancheros that I made up that swaps out the beans with a tiny bit of ground beef, no tortilla, no cheese, NO HAPPINESS?
I do not, however, have a recipe for getting over the desperate craving one might experience for a fresh baguette when one is trying to determine if the ingredients in that baguette are slowly killing them.
I got a new GI doc because the last one—the hot Chilean TO WHOM I HAD TALK ABOUT MY BOWELS—was convinced that once my “chronic constipation” cleared up that I would be able to eat larger quantities of food. And just so we have all the details straight: I had stomach issues before Europe in the sense that, hm… I really hate talking about this now that I don’t have to monitor my children’s bathroom habits, but life has a way of poking you square in the butt with it’s mangled index finger.
I had a very difficult time going to the bathroom (see: stress —> more stress —> lots and lots of stress —> loss of appetite —> even more stress —> oops, now I’m broken). This caused a backup of certain air in my system and made it difficult to eat anything more than a fistful of food at a time, very slowly. I would become very uncomfortable if I ate anything more. When I returned home from Europe that feeling of being uncomfortable turned into stabbing, fiery pain that landed me in bed for four days. I threw up everything I tried to eat during that time. I also started burping. FUCKEN A, here we go! My cousins in Kentucky are giving me a standing ovation as they read this. Doin’ the family proud!
When I stopped popping ibuprofen like candy (see: one fracture in my right foot that turned into stress fractures in both feet), the stabbing pain ceased. However, I am far more uncomfortable and miserable now in my stomach and it happens when I eat a single bite of food. Just one bite. And that stomach pain triggers the pain of all the backed up air in the lower part of my system. So I frequently do not eat because I am scared to death. The hot Chilean doctor prescribed a $400/month medication that is not covered by my insurance to cure my “chronic constipation”, and when I told him I could not afford that he prescribed me one that cost only $375/month. I am actually allergic to that one! Are we having fun yet? No? I am having fun! Guts are fun! Just look!
Usual over-the-counter remedies have proved ineffectual or make me sick. Why am I “chronically constipated”? Because I can barely eat! DUH. Le duh. I am duh-ing so hard right now that I broke my tongue pronouncing the D. I am singing DUH to every single note of the music that plays as Darth Vader walks the halls of the Death Star. I want to record Axl Rose singing, “Duh duh duh duh? Duh duh duh duh duh?” when he gets to the part in “Sweet Child O’ Mine” where they all sink into their lower ranges and ask in all seriousness, “Where do we go? Where do we go now?” so that I can play it for that first GI doc and say, “We go consider other possible reasons that this is happening. DUH.”
Also, what is the point of Heather B. Armstrong’s website if not to TALK ABOUT CONSTIPATION. Have you missed me? I’ve missed you! FUCKEN A.
But that hot Chilean GI doc didn’t ever pursue other answers to my problem. He said, “Well then, you must take that [over-the-counter laxative that makes me violently ill] for at least seven straight days, and then you will be fine.”
Nothing is fine. I have stress fractures in both feet, a bowel condition, gut condition, bacterial infection in my eye, arthritis so bad in my hands that I cannot hold a pen, pounding headaches that start mid-afternoon and last hours at a time, and guess who came this close to chipping a tooth on a single bite of gluten-free cereal? I got an endoscopy last Friday that found no ulcers or cancers or anything visible that would cause inflammation in my stomach, and I have to wait two weeks for the next appointment. What do I do about eating and farting and burping in those two weeks?
Medical marijuana. Fuck if I know!
Did stress completely screw up my gut? Is stress manifesting in my gut? Shana Ahern suggested I read this book: The Body Keeps the Score. (You should also read Shana’s new book Enough which I have so much love for). Have you got book recommendations for this kind of thing? Because I did the most dumbest, dumbestly dumb dumb thing and googled every possibility. I cannot unsee things now.
I am doing the best I can to manage my stress in calm and healthy ways, but children are born with a bendable appendage called UNFORESEEN CRISES, and in my state of stress-fractured feet I can barely drive a car or get the laundry up and down the stairs. I can’t exercise. If anyone knows someone affordable who can teach me how to meditate, I’m looking for options. Because I am one of those assholes who gets mad that I can’t clear my mind and focus on nothing and then I’m stressed AND angry and burping the alphabet better than my Aunt Lola. She and I do share one very specific thing in common: We’re so hungry we could straddle a dead cow and eat a bologna sandwich. She would often show up to family dinners and that would be the very first thing she’d say. I’m stealing it and making it mine.