Today we hit a major milestone in my health because it has been exactly 365 days since the last time I was hospitalized. Considering all the close calls I have had in the past year, including one incident two weeks ago where it took four Norco just to get me to the point where I was comfortable. This milestone means we have been doing a good job at managing my chronic bowel obstructions. Throughout this year I would go through 2-3 week periods getting crippling bowel pains a couple times a week and then nothing for two months without rhyme or reason. Ok, that is a half truth.
There are certain things I simply cannot resist all the time. I have to live and sometimes it means I roll a dice. When I can get away with it, it is real good, but when it comes back to bite me, I know I can only fault myself. Here is an example: I love donuts. Love them. When you stick to under 20 grams of carbohydrates per day, the consequence of eating a single donut means the teeter totter game of blood sugar for the next 4 to 5 hours trying to balance out proteins, sugars and insulin levels. Is it terrible to get on the insulin rollercoaster? Yes, but clearly not terrible enough for me to stop. In general I am pretty disciplined, but when it is my daughters birthday or that special Saturday, you’d better believe I’m enjoying a vanilla sprinkle donut and a coffee with her. We all need reminders of what makes life so great and if a sprinkle donut with the people you love will lift your spirits when you are in the stomachless grind 98% of the time, go for it. It’s a long journey without a stomach and we all need a mental break from counting carbs, proteins, fats, and calories all the time – so prepare a wet rag, find your blood sugar tester, grab a jar of peanut butter and enjoy the donut, you will be fine.
Maybe the parable of the donut is not just for the stomachless. Cheers.
For my practical friends trying to figure out what life is like without a stomach: Since I have had so many struggles with bowel obstructions, I have come to recognize a few key signs that point to a bowel obstruction and some different things that I have learned about myself (please note the following are observations in my personal journey. I’m not a doctor, I can’t even play Operation, so do not take this list as medical advice):
- Number 1 is always number 2 if you are are picking up what I am putting down. A key sign of whether or not your body is moving food the way that it should. When it has been a while, it’s time to start hydrating. Hydration is the key to your body’s regularity. I also have been starting my day with a teaspoon of MCT oil which not only gives my body a nice energy boost, my bowels get a little boost as we.
- When in doubt, do as hospitals do. Bowel obstructions means three things. 3-4 days in the hospital no food or water until your obstruction clears. You can live without food for 3 days, but without water, not so much. So when I sense the onset of a bowel obstruction (which means consistent pain after consecutive meals and a violation of rule number 1), it’s time to go on a fast and drink more water. Usually within 2 or 3 days I am good to go.
- Pain con Pain – Bowel obstructions are painful. For me, they can get bad enough that I cannot stand. Depending on the dosage, usually I take one norco and it does the trick, but there are days that require 2 or even 3. After 3 it is decision time because after 4 it is time for me to go to the hospital.
- When it goes upstream, it’s time to worry. If you get backed up enough, eventually you back it up to the starts. At this point, it is hospital time. If my nausea cannot be controlled with zofran I bring in the heavy guns and go for phenergan which I am pretty certain is a horse tranquilizer. If phenergan does not work, for sure, it is hospital time.