Friday, February 25, 2011

Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am

Monday was my 2 month follow up for my blood and iron levels... one of the lovely side affects that Crohn's has on my body.  I did my blood work last week and Monday I got to hear the results, visit my Dr. and be hooked up for another iron infusion (in reverse order though).  Then after the fun was done, it was off to 8 hours of work.  It was just one of those days where I didn't have a choice or a say except for, "Here I am. I'm going with the flow.  Let's just get this over with." 

Life is what you make it right?!?!

So we started out the day early because I was determined to make sure that I was fully hydrated so that we could have an IV on the first poke (instead of the 4 to 6 that it usually takes).  We left the house with plenty of time, got there, and found out that my new insurance doesn't need pre-approval for my infusion :)   Then it was the weigh in... this is a standing game between the hubby and myself to guess what the magic scale will say.  Keeping weight on is such a battle for me.  Usually we are both fairly right on though.  So hubby guesses his number and I said, "no, I've put on weight, I can tell."  He laughs because he doesn't believe me so I step on the scale and... I'm right and he's off by 10lbs!!!  I've put on 11lbs in the last two months (INSERT HAPPY DANCE HERE)!!!  That would be a total of 15lbs I've put on since my last weight scare  (let's see how long it lasts).  I'm feeling pretty good at this point and doing my best to not let my nerves get to me.  I am actually allergic to my iron infusions so we never know how I'm going to react each time.  The hubby makes his usual jokes about my upcoming date with the needle and how many times it will take and I give him back my best glare and the threat that if it takes more than 3 times I'm going to have the nurse put it in him instead between his toes (a painful past Army experience for him).  My date arrives and SCORE!!!  We're good on the first try (it immediately stops working but between me and the nurses, we're pros at twisting my poor veins around to get them to behave for the time it takes to get business done).  Then here come the pre-meds... the wonderful "drugs" that take a half hour to administer for my 1 hour infusion... but whatever it takes to get iron into a severely anemic person who is severely allergic to iron.  Outside of actually being allergic, the pre-meds are the worst part.  I dislike taking any sort of medication... even taking Tylenol when I need it is a struggle because I don't like anything in my body.  The first pre-med knocks me out and the second hypes me up.  It's a weird combo that I'll never understand and don't even try.  The rest of the hour is pretty much a haze except for the occasional nurse asking me my name, date of birth, and telling me that she's going to take my blood pressure.  I've got my warm blanket, my husband by my side, and not one reaction to the infusion that seems out of place... darn, this is a good day :)  When it was all over my Dr stops in to have our appointment in the infusion center since our scheduled time was long past and she knows how hazy I get afterwards... she really is the best.  She sits in the chair next to me and just talks to me.  It's hilarious that I can totally see the red flags go off in her head when she hears me talk about something she doesn't like... like me being stressed (another big no-no for a person with Crohn's)... but I tell her no worries, I can handle it (because I really eventually do).  We talk about my latest numbers and how we caught it again right before the spiral down so hopefully this infusion helps and we'll stick with infusions every 2 months but I now get to move my next Dr appointment to 4 months out because of my weight gain and non-crashing numbers... woohoo, much better than my 2 month check ups and the monthly ones before it ;)  Got my appointment reminder and a warning to take it easy at work and we're off.

 The work day turned from an 8 hr to a 10.5 but all in all, not too bad of a day (all things considered). The fun part is keeping it all in check until next time!!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Choices We Choose To Put In

So standing in line at a store today I had a reoccurring thought that happens every so often when I actually pay attention to what the person in front of me has on the conveyor belt.  This particular guy has a stack of frozen pizzas and other frozen items, chips, snacks, and a HUGE container of gumballs (like the kind you put in a gumball machine)... in other words, all items that I would consider junk food.  I will admit that my first thought was that this "poor guy" must be single but that thought quickly faded into the reoccurring one...

How is it that he/she can put that stuff into his/her body?!?!

It's actually a thought I think often for many reasons I guess and it's not just the Crohn's talking because I know a few people with this disease who will probably never change how they eat.  In defense of the guy who has no idea that he provoked such a thought, it probably tastes good to him and hasn't ever caused him problems before and probably never will, so why not.  I definitely did not eat horribly before my diagnosis, nor did I change much about my eating habits for the first 12+ years afterwards but the question still plaques me about what if I had changed my diet sooner.

The average person consumes what he/she wants and worries more about caloric intake or convenience without the slightest thought to what he/she is actually putting into his/her body.  My old philosophy was all about portion control and if it comes with a label that says:  diet, low-fat, or non-fat to turn the other direction and run.  It had always worked for me but it wasn't enough.  Apparently there was another plan for me... Crohn's.

I was diagnosed with this lovely digestive disease since the age of 15 and kept my same philosophy all of these years not realizing that I had more control of my disease than I'd thought.  It wasn't until last August when I was literally crouched over in excruciating pain and on the verge of being in a very embarrassing situation at work that I realized that if I didn't find a way to take control of my disease that I'd have to quit my job.  I had already given up on a position about 4 years prior due to this disease and didn't emotionally think that I could do it again.  About a week or so prior to this day I had actually just finished reading a book about a man who has the same awful disease who had "cured" himself by changing the way that ate completely.  Up until this particular incident though, I was still struggling with the lifestyle change for a few reasons.  The first being that it was such a huge commitment to actually be aware of every little thing that went into my body and to not allow anything processed and the second was that I wasn't going to do this without my husband because committing to this was saying that I wasn't going to allow anything other that "natural" foods into my home, and the third being, what if it didn't work. 

That moment right there I made a commitment, one that everyday I still struggle with.  It's amazing how one little bite of a "bad" food can send me almost back to square one and the road back is rough... such is life at the present moment.  In that moment at the realization of the severity of my situation I called my husband crying to pick me up and told him that I was going to do this.  On the way home he stopped to pick me up some organic broth and I stayed on that for three days to clean the toxins out of my system since people with digestive diseases cannot do cleanses.  To most people, fasting is hard, for me, this was almost unbearable. Being in an upright position required that I become friends with the nearest garbage can.  After the second full day though, the stomach pains completely stopped and I didn't feel things that I thought I'd have to live the rest of my life with.  It was a baby step, but I had some control.  I had wanted to stay fasting longer but the severity of my disease wouldn't allow it... I needed solid food.  That first trip to Whole Foods was hilarious.  I had forgotten my list of good foods to start back with at home, the bookstore was sold out of a copy for me to temporarily use, I was hungry, and scared of everything.  Had I been there alone I think I would have just found a corner to cry in.  My husband and I selected a few meals to try and I realized something... nothing was going to be different; I was still going to be able to cook and eat the same things; I'm not leaving anything behind; it's just that I'm not putting any of the bad stuff in anymore.  I didn't feel another pain for 3 months!!!  For the most I don't feel the pain anymore unless like I said, I choose to eat something on the shadier side of things... holidays and going out is hard!!!  There's something to be said about being the hostess :)  It's been six months this next week since I started.  My husband is not as committed as me anymore but I'm strong enough to make my own choices.  Things of convenience just don't matter as much and one of my biggest accomplishments is that I haven't had a single soda in all of these 6 months and my migraines have almost completely gone away without the caffeine to help alleviate the pain.  It has been great.  One of the areas of Crohn's that I can effect... under control :)

Back to that guy that provoked my thought this evening for a moment.  It not that I want to try and change his or anyone else's mind about what he/she eats, it's not my place, but here's a thought to ponder... I have this disease, I can't take it back or make it go away but you don't, and you have total control over how you feel.  If making diet changes and avoiding putting in chemicals into my body has made such a difference in my disease ridden body, what can it do for you?!?!  It's a choice!!!