All posts filed under: Lifestyle

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 …

When Work Isn’t Working

This post is a very personal one for me, and one that took me a bit of time to write, as it is still something I struggle with almost daily and is a subject very close to my heart.  It’s such a rare thing to get paid to do something that you truly enjoy, and though my path to get there wasn’t a direct one, I felt lucky to have found it, and am grateful to this day for all the people to whom it has introduced me and the places it has brought me in life, both literally and figuratively. The role of work is one that many with IBD have a love/hate relationship with.  Work helps give us a sense of purpose, allows us to meet people and socialize outside our normal circles day to day, and offers a welcome distraction to the daily rigors of symptoms.  Many will struggle at times with being able to work, depending on the symptom severity, the type of work that you do, and how understanding your employer is …

Dealing with Unsolicited Advice

First, let’s just get this out of the way now. At some point along your journey, you will likely be confronted by some ignorant douchebag that is convinced that he or she can cure your IBD with a particular protein shake, a vitamin supplement, or by eliminating some major food group from your diet.  How you choose to respond is entirely up to you; while I can’t condone violence as the answer, I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t my instinctual response 99.9% of the time.  Instead, I typically take a more passive-aggressive approach, which both allows me to feel as though I’ve given a verbal sucker punch to the face while the recipient is made aware that I find his or her unsolicited bullshit rather offensive, which in my mind lowers the odds that they will make this vile mistake again. Recently, my husband and I were lounging by our community pool one afternoon, a day or two after I had been discharged from the hospital for a bowel obstruction. One …

Dietician Advice

Recently, after a couple of hospital stays due to my electrolytes being really screwed up from absorption issues, I took up my GI doc on his offer of a referral to a dietician for a consult. In retrospect, I probably should have gone a lot sooner given that I’ve had Crohn’s for 13 years now, but hey, what can I say?  Guess I had my head up my ass. I’ve always been a pretty healthy eater (everything in moderation kind of thing) as far as eating my fruits and veggies and such, though I will admit that ice cream was my vice and has been for years. I figured that another set of eyes couldn’t hurt to see if there was anything I could be doing differently in my day to day routine. I had sent the dietician a three day log of my eating prior to the visit at her request, so she would have time to analyze it, and was happy to hear that for the most part, my diet was great and …

Thoughts on my Anniversary

As the eighth anniversary of my first surgery approaches, I find myself recalling the days leading up to it and the events that followed in vivid detail, as tends to be the case each year. I don’t really do it with a sense of brooding or sadness; often times it feels as though I’m almost watching a highlight reel of someone else’s life, as I still occasionally struggle with incorporating both halves of me into the same person, if that makes any sense at all. With so many surgeries occurring over a two year period in my life, one of the two that stay with me the most was the first surgery I had, the emergency colectomy done on November, 2nd, 2006.  I know why the first one is so important, of course, as that is the day my life changed forever.  It is the day I was given a second chance, and a day that my worst fears (at the time) were realized.  Up until that day, regardless of how horrid I felt, how …

Awareness Month Rant

So remember when I warned you that I was probably going to offend people on a regular basis?  Yeah, that might start today.  I’ve waited until almost the end of another pink-infused October, with it’s constant reminders about Breast Cancer Awareness, to discuss this.  First, let’s put it out there that I think what the Breast Cancer community has done to promote awareness of the disease is nothing short of amazing, and it has no doubt helped save countless lives that may have succumbed to the horrid disease.  I applaud those that donate their time, money and resources to the cause.  And still, every October as we are inundated with everything in varying shades of pink from football jerseys to water bottle labels and can holders, it upsets me that more recognition is not dedicated to the colon and it’s maladies.  Of course, May 19th is World IBD Day, though I’m sure that if you asked the average person, they’d have no idea it existed, and way back in 2000, President Clinton declared the month …

My Story

So what the hell qualifies me to provide advice for those with IBD? To make a long (and ongoing) story somewhat shorter, I first developed symptoms in my senior year of college.  It seems like it happened practically overnight, me going from a very healthy college student working two jobs to one that was taking two dozen trips to the bathroom every day, hunched over in pain,  having no idea what this was or what I did to cause it.  I made it through my senior year and, as planned, began to get things set in motion for a move to attend graduate school in the fall of 2002.  That summer, all hell broke loose. My mother and I went from doctor to doctor, looking for answers; meanwhile, I had somehow convinced myself that this was entirely stress-induced, a product of moving, starting a new job and graduate school all at once. I was told it was IBS, depression, and possibly a psychosomatic response to all of the pressures I was putting on myself.  We …