Author: Michelle

Latest Hospital Stay, My Thoughts on Hospitalists, and Why I Am a Pain in the Ass Patient

So I had another post all ready to go up, but then I was hospitalized again last Monday night due to another bowel obstruction and a few things came up during that visit that I thought were a bit more important for the time being.  I can’t really say that this hospitalization came out of the blue, as I unfortunately missed my weekly dose of Humira at the very end of January because my husband and I were stuck in Boston for five extra days due to the blizzard that struck.  We had flown out there for the annual memorial service for my father-in-law, and at the time we left, no storm had been predicted for that weekend.  With my pills, I normally bring a few extra days worth in case of emergency, as I did this time, but traveling with injectable medications that need to be refrigerated at all times is a major pain in the ass.  Specialized kits tend to only keep the medication cold for a limited amount of time, and airlines …

Coping with PTSD

A bit of a delay from the last post; my husband came down with a bad cold just after returning to work in the New Year, and despite my best efforts (sleeping in the guest room, wiping down everything with Clorox wipes and practically hosing him down with Lysol every day), less than 24 hours after he was feeling human again, I woke up with a fever of 103 and it turned out to be pneumonia for the third time in just over a year.  It’s taken me over a week to kick most of it out of my system, and now I’m just left with the residual exhaustion and coughing fits. Anyway, now that I’m back, I thought that it would probably be a good time to discuss PTSD, given everything in the news lately with the premiere of American Sniper and the upcoming trial of the man accused of killing the movie’s real-life subject, retired Navy Seal Chris Kyle.  Many people are familiar with the acronym, but most tend to identify it with …

Relationships, Marriage and Obamacare

I’ve been sitting here stewing about this post for the better part of a week now, and though I know it is something that I need to talk about, it is something that makes me uneasy, as if somehow recalling or mentioning it will bring me right back to where I was that fateful November day seven years ago.  Seven years ago, not eight.  As I’ve mentioned before, November 2nd, 2006 was the day of my emergency colectomy due to Toxic Megacolon and the beginning of my surgical journey, which commenced a bit more than eight years ago.  What few people know is that exactly one year later, on the chilly afternoon of November 2nd, 2007, I got married. While far from a perfect solution to our country’s healthcare crisis, I often wonder how the course of my life would have changed had Obamacare come to fruition that year.  A big believer in fate, I’m fond of the saying that everything happens for a reason and while I am grateful for where I am at …

Getting Fit in the New Year

With the New Year fast approaching, lots of people will be making those often ill-fated “resolutions” in the eleventh hour, promises that they will better themselves in every possible way, eliminating any bad habits for good.  For many, one of the top resolutions is some variation on the theme of getting in shape, losing weight, etc.  Such a goal is often difficult for many, particularly for those with a chronic illness and possible physical limitations.  The inclination tends to lead more often than not to the extreme, the dramatic and the not-very-sustainable category, one that can be particularly detrimental to those whom are already working from a physical and nutritional deficit. Gyms and other fitness centers will hop on this all-in-or-bust attitude, and discounts on memberships and personal training sessions abound during this time of the year.  It is certainly tempting, and can be a great thing if you use your head.  I am all for getting in shape and using exercise to help combat stress and enhance one’s mood, but there are a few …

A Little Holiday Laugh

My first holiday season after having my total colectomy wasn’t a fun one.  By the time the holiday rolled around, I had only had my ileostomy for less than two months, and I was still working out the kinks with it.  There were leaks, and I vividly remember having a “blowout” at my stepmom’s house during a family dinner and bursting into tears.  She brought me into her bathroom and helped me clean up, reassuring me that it was no big deal.  That was such a difficult holiday – everything that was happening to me was still so new and unfamiliar.  I didn’t really feel human. One of my other memories from that first holiday season was a visit from my best friend, Nicole.  Many of my friends had kind of vanished over the last really bad year with the disease, but she still came to visit me, undeterred, whether it was in the hospital or while I was recovering at my mom’s.  True friends are hard to come by, and I’m proud to say …

Thanking Your Pit Crew

Just a quick post today – as I’m sure the case is with everyone, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks and things don’t let up until next week.  My energy levels are lagging this week due to work and holiday engagements; while fun, late nights definitely take their toll.  Last night was our company holiday party that I set up and we feasted on Argentinean cuisine from a local restaurant, so I just finished some leftover empanadas with chimmichurri for lunch.  It was delicious, but now I’m ready for a serious nap. Anyway, of course it’s the season of giving, and if you can make the time, it is always a good idea to give some small gifts to your team of doctors whom you work with regularly.  Given the multi-system nature of Crohn’s, my team or “Pit Crew”, as I like to call them, is made up of my PCP, my GI doc, my Hematologist, Surgeon, Chiropractor and masseuse.  The gifts don’t have to be anything fancy, but I think it is important …

Taking Control of My Future

Ten years ago last month, I had just returned from a two week holiday in Italy and Switzerland with my then-boyfriend.  I remember the timing so clearly because of what happened during the trip and upon my return.  The scenery and sights were amazing, of course, not to mention the food, but none of that is the first thing that brings that particular time to mind. In the latter half of 2004, my treatment with the chemotherapy drug 6MP was well underway, and I had made it through the initial side effects, which for me included severe pneumonia, bone marrow suppression and a case of hemolytic anemia.  Several months after I had recovered from that train wreck, true to form, I began planning a trip for myself to celebrate my perceived victory.  Working in the hospitality industry afforded me some pretty great connections, and I enlisted the help of my boss at the time to plan a trip to Europe.  After some discussion about the time frame and what locations might be best, I decided …

My Year In Review

As I write this, it has been almost a year to the day that I walked out the door of my hotel for the last time and took the proverbial “jump off of a cliff” into the unknown.  As I was walking the dogs this morning, I marveled at how a year could have passed already, and wondered where the time had gone and what, if anything I had accomplished.  If you’ve read anything I have posted before this, you know “accomplishment” is something very important to me and, like it or not, something I use as a scale by which to rate myself.  It may not be healthy, but it is what it is. Of course, I am also painfully aware of some of the limitations that I have based on having Crohn’s for so many years, not to mention surgeries, etc; I have become much more sensitive to this over the last year, that is for certain.  This time of year when the social engagements are many and my obligation to some of …

A Bit About Little Moon Essentials

So you’ve probably seen several of my posts mentioning the company Little Moon Essentials, and a few of their products on my Resources page.  I should probably go into a bit more detail here, because if you just pull up their website, I will admit that some of the products sound a little like something created while coming down off of a pretty wild acid trip.  I mean, bath salts for different phases of the moon?  I was skeptical, but I should explain how I came across the site and started using their products. This past spring, my husband and I took a road trip from our home in Austin to Santa Fe for my birthday.  Neither of us had been before, and it seemed a good way to christen his new car that he had only had for a couple of months.  During our week in Santa Fe, I had read about a mineral spring relatively nearby called Ojo Caliente.  The material on it said that it had various mineral spring baths containing things …

Items to Add to Your Wish List for the Holidays

How the hell is it Thanksgiving week already?  The doors to the Christmas season will soon be thrown wide open, though they’ve been cracked since Halloween, the candy and costumes on clearance the last week of October, while Christmas trees and garland fight for space on the shelves.  I’m getting off track here, I suppose. Remember the joy of making out a Christmas list when you were a child?  How fun it was to think about what gifts you wanted, the anticipation of what would be under the tree?  I’m the first one to admit that that is completely NOT what the season is about, but the reason I’m mentioning it is that, as someone with IBD or a related condition, there are some really useful items you can put on your list this season just in case friends, family or good old Saint Nick happen to ask.  Many have been extremely helpful to me, particularly during the course of a flare.  A few items to think about this season: Vitamix – to call this …