My “special” friend

I honestly didn’t know whether to laugh or cry from embarrassment today!

After my last visit to the hospital to dilate my stricture, my surgeon gave me some pretty funny advice – in order to keep my anus from slowly closing again, and thus avoid going into hospital again to stretch it out, he recommended that I purchase a little bullet dildo to slip inside everyday just to help keep it’s shape. He said this to me while I was in my post-op daze with my husband standing next to me. I remember sheepishly grinning about the whole thing and looking at my husband, a little embarrassed but also a little bit like “eh, gotta do what I gotta do to keep my pooper (and surgeon) happy”. And that was that. Needless to say, I promptly got my little bullet and keep it in the shower for easy access – slip it in, slip it out, and clean it. It has become my morning shower ritual and as much as it is a little funny to do, it has done wonders to keep the stricture from coming back.

So this morning, my husband goes to work and sends me the following text:

Hubby: I saw your little friend in the shower. You may want to move it with [our friend who is staying with us over the next week] here.
Me: Hahahahaha do you know what my little friend is for? I don’t remember telling you! haha if [friend] has seen it already he’ll just think I’m freaky. But I’ll move it (horrified and embarrassed face Emoji)
Hubby: I don’t think you’ve told me. I just thought you had special showers every once in a while.

And then I started to piss myself laughing!!! I realise at this point that when my surgeon came over to talk to me recently, clearly my husband was not listening at all to what he was saying! Which would explain how surprised he was to find an index finger length dildo hidden underneath my exfoliating gloves in the shower!!

At this point I explained to my husband that I am not having “special showers” and that it is part of my Crohn’s management to keep my pooper in shape. His response:

Haha. I love you. And your pooper.

My husband is the best.

 

 

An Inconvenient Truth

Yes, I, a 29 year old woman, wants her mummy. My mum who is away on holiday with my dad, I wish she were here. She is the ultimate “Everything will be ok” kind of person, that just being near her or hearing her voice makes you feel safe.

Today I am going back into hospital – 4 days ago I noticed a small abscess forming near my anus, a place where I have had an abscess before, and by Tuesday morning it had become a blister about the size of my pinky nail and everything around the area ached. The pressure behind it feels like you have a marble under your skin – you notice it when you walk or sit. Luckily I was able to squeeze in to see my surgeon that Tuesday morning at 11.30am, who declared at 11.45am that this was just a “niggle” (he didn’t want me to get upset and wanted to remind me that this was NOT a major setback, that this was just a minor situation) that needed to be cleaned out, and that he will replace the seton nearby as well. Let’s do it tomorrow! YAY!

I walked out of there feeling good. I would get this all under control in 24 hours! Sweet! I love it when it can be sorted quickly! Less time to think about it all. Not going to let this situation inconvenience the rest of my life and everything I have planned! Because by getting it done tomorrow, well, that means I can still go to that wedding I need to go to on Saturday, and thank god it’s still school holidays so I can recover for a couple more days after and do nothing, oh but I won’t be able to make my Wednesday night basketball game so I better let my team know, and thank goodness I have that acupuncture appointment on Thursday afternoon which will be great to help clear any general anaeasthetic that might still be lingering…

Oh shit! Who is going to take me into hospital at this short notice? Ehhhh, it’ll be fine, I will get my own way there! I call my husband, explain what’s going on and I can hear the awkwardness in his voice because I know he is super stressed and busy at the moment with work and he’s wondering how he is going to take the time off and I’m all like, “It’s cool! I’ll get a cab there, but you’ll have to pick me up” and I hear him literally exhale in relief that the option for him to go to work is still available.

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Letting go of the ‘Shoulds’

First of all, I’d like to say thank GOD my acupuncturist is back from her holiday after 6 weeks… it’s like I feel like all is right with the world again. At least everything is right in MY world. She’s fabulous.

So while I was enjoying my Friday evening session today, I was reminiscing about the great advice she has given me over the years. Most recently, when I was off loading about all the crazy stuff that happens at my work, and how it should be like this, and how things shouldn’t be a certain way, and how I was going crazy there… and she simply responded to me

“You need to let go of the ‘shoulds’ in your life”

It was a re-awakening. And since then, I have been so much happier at work and at life. Letting go of the anger and frustration that was attached to the way things ‘should’ be left me with so much more time and energy to focus on what WAS in my control, and what was real.

So during my session, while I was talking about how things were going, I thanked her for this absolute gem of advice that she had given me earlier this year that had transformed my life. And of course she added that the emotion of “shoulds” are held in the large intestine. Bloody hell. Isn’t that totally awesome?

It made me think that if I can just get my emotions in a completely blissful state, could I eradicate so many health issues? I’ve read about emotions and their connection to diseases… hence the breakdown of “dis-ease” – being in a state on unease emotionally. Could be amazing!

Stress Head

Under a Lot of Stress

I went to a workshop with my Year 11 students last week to learn about stress management, and there I was in the back of the lecture room, shushing the students to be quiet so that I could hear what the lecturer was saying….

“Your body doesn’t know the difference between good stress and bad stress”…. OHMIGOD!

Ok, I kinda knew this already (as I was squeezing my squiggy stress ball!), but sometimes you need someone to say it out loud for you to go, oh shiiitttttt… It particularly worries me now because work has been particularly hectic lately, but in a good way – I got a mini promotion at work, and my work load has TREBLED, but it it the challenge I have been looking for. I’ve been working my butt, but I have actually been enjoying it.

But then in the workshop, they went through all the physiological responses your body goes through when it feels stressed, which included digestive issues and a lowered immune system. Great. Fantastic news for someone with an AUTOIMMUNE BOWEL DISEASE!

And I definitely have noticed the difference in my body lately – I feel more tired (at 7.30pm I am ready to go to bed!), feel a bit more mweh and agro in my moods, and swing from constipation one day, to having the runs the next. Am definitely also noticing that I look more bloated as well. I guess things aren’t digesting so well – mentally and physically!

 

So this workshop was perfectly timed as a reminder to shift everything back into perspective again – I really need to look after myself. Especially after I went super (stupidly) hardcore back at work after my big surgery (refer to my last post).

I think because stress just seems to be so inevitable in life, we all tend to neglect how it really will affect us. But it’s so true – your body reacts to all types of stress in the same way, and that’s not a good thing if you already have a weakened system. So I have to be more mindful of how to reduce the stress levels in my life. Here is a good link to look at stress causes and symptoms: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_signs.htm

Here are some of the things I have actively started to do to manage the stress in my life:

1. I’ve written down and printed some inspirational quotes around my office to remind myself of what is important and what is real… #thanksDalaiLama
http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/a3/5e/22/a35e22f9e30fef9502345ef3e7b26152.jpg

2. Taking deep breaths when it feels like things are getting too much, sometimes even counting to 10…
3. Asking myself “Am I profoundly OK with this moment?” and then evaluating if whatever it is really is a big deal to me or not
4. Yoga. Om Shanti Shanti.
5. Watching mindless TV to switch off

I’m sure there are other wonderful things out there to reduce stress… I know that meditation should be high up on that list, but it’s not something that I am currently and consistently doing… even though I know I should. Actually, that should be number 6: Letting go of the “shoulds” in your life. That does help you detach as well. Keeps you from being emotionally invested in situations, which helps reduce stress and anxiety.

So what do you do to reduce stress in your life? Would love to hear other ways of looking after yourself to manage the big S-bomb in our lives! If stress can be managed, then we can all feel a lot happier and healthier.

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Not Your Average Super Hero

So I am currently lying on my couch feeling a little sorry for myself. After my weekend of complete rest and relaxation after my surgery on Friday, I went back to work this week. Now remember, I chucked a sickie on Friday with the “flu” so on Monday when I went in with my waddle walk, and sat down during all of my classes, I told everyone I pulled my groin over the weekend. I even had an elaborate story that I had slipped down some stairs and fell into the splits! Not too many people asked anyway because when you mention “groin injury” from the weekend…well…it just stops people asking questions without sounding like perverts!

Of course when I went back to work this week it was the most bullshit hectic week at work. I stayed back until 6.00pm everyday fixing up paperwork, planning lessons, teaching students, calling parents, organising excursions, issuing detentions, writing back to emails, having staff meetings, attending a literacy workshop, chasing up homework, marking work, arguing with teenage students, designing assessment tasks, completing mid-term reports for the Seniors AND commentated for the Sports Carnival (ok ok, you get the point, teaching is a bloody endless job!) and by Thursday, I was passed out in bed by 8pm, exhausted from the week that was not yet over! And then today, was like the straw that broke the camels back…I finally left work “early” at 4.30pm to “celebrate” my week out of surgery and wanted to go get a massage, and I got stuck in a massive traffic jam because of a 2 car pile up on the Anzac Bridge that left me in the car for almost an hour and a half before I got home. And then it dawned on me… why the hell did I do this to myself?

I am on the verge of tears but I’m just too tired to cry. I know there is no point regretting the week that has just been because I can’t change any of it now… but I realise that I went back to work AND had a crazy week because I think I wanted to prove something…prove something to myself. That I could do it. That I could be Superwoman. Yes, I could go have massive surgery AND return to work to be the busiest woman alive. [Read more…]

Water Works

I went through with my surgery yesterday, and I am feeling a lot better than expected. I can actually walk! Well, it’s more like a really slow shuffle waddle. But at least I’m not lying horizontally in agony! Still quite sore, but nothing that the weekend lying in bed and painkillers won’t fix!

After my last post (pre-surgery), I went to a yoga class which really helped calm me down. All that deep breathing and physical exercise helped remind me that my body is strong and my mind can be even stronger. It’s amazing how as you get older you freak out more about health and surgeries… I would’ve never have even thought twice about going in for surgery 5 years ago! The heaps of crying I did in the morning and the yoga class helped put things into perspective for me, and also put me in a bit of a zombie state (really should be a “zen” state) that I felt kind of this numbness and at ease about going into surgery. All that anxiety washed away!

What also helped was that within half an hour of me checking into the hospital, I was already being wheeled into surgery! Usually it’s another 2 hour wait from the time you sign in! Which just leaves you with too much time on your hands thinking about how hungry/thirsty you are, how much pain you are in etc. [Read more…]

Chucking a Sickie

I have surgery booked tomorrow, and I am surprisingly calm about it… mind you, I have been waking up at 5.30am for the past 2 days and having wildly crazy dreams, but surely that’s just a coincidence? Or maybe it’s the fact that I will have tomorrow off from work and potentially Monday and Tuesday off as well… I haven’t told work that I am going in for surgery though, I am just going to fake a flu. Less questions, less dramas to deal with. I’ve just been given a leadership position at school this term upon my return after 3 months away, so I don’t want to start ringing any alarm bells about my situation again. And fortunately for me, a lady who shares my office has been really sick with the flu (but still has been coming into school!) and all week I’ve been dropping comments like “Oh no, I think you’re getting me sick too!” or “You should stay home, I’m on immunosuppressants and if I get sick, it’ll be twice as bad!”…

I know this all sounds incredibly dishonest, and usually I advocate for the “you are the first priority – look after your health!” side regardless of what’s happening in your life, but I just want to get in and out of surgery and pray that I recover super quick so I can get back to normal.
In reality, I will be staying the night at the hospital to deal with the pain, all weekend I will be sleeping and dealing with the pain, and when Monday comes around, I probably still will not be able to walk. Then I’ll have to come up with some excuse around work about why I am hobbling around… it’s actually going to be really fucked now that I properly look at it… I probably should’ve told them I was going in for surgery.

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My “bubble” bath…

WARNING: Graphic and gross detail coming up.
The most fascinating and disgusting thing just happened to me while I was in the bath tub…last week I noticed another abscess forming down below, but this time it wasn’t internal (you know, hiding deep in the depths of my tissue, which is where it usually is). It was external, out in the open waving “Hi!” to me, reminding me that things aren’t quite right “yet” (magical word of optimism!). It looked like a large blister (size of my thumb) in terms of the shininess of the skin that stretched over it, the redness in the skin surrounding it, and when you touched it, it bounced under your finger tip, like a bubble would. It was getting progressively more and more painful and larger every day.

As you can imagine, all of last week I was in quite a state about it, but kept it together (BAHAHAHAHAH – laughing out loud hysterically) knowing that I was going to see my surgeon soon. Ok, to be honest, I did try to get an earlier appointment but it wasn’t possible – I mean, I knew I could hold out for a week, but at the same time, I was terrified that this thing had grown in such a short period of time!

Anyway, to “keep it together”, I started upping my salt baths again to twice a day, applied zinc cream to the area several times a day to act as a barrier and alternated with coconut oil. I prayed, I cried, took pain relief, went commando to let the area “breathe” and had this deep longing that I needed to get help ASAP. I was seriously a scatterbrain at work, doubling up on my work because I had forgotten that I had done it – seriously, ZERO presence! It just weighed in the back of my mind that I wasn’t in remission and it was happening all over again- the swelling, the pain… I started even waddling again because it was getting painful to walk and sit again. A total “FML” situation!

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Kinesiology – your body knows best…

Last week I went to my first kinesiology session with my sister-in-law’s sister (find Erin through Facebook’s ‘Achieving Balance’). It’s taken me a week to process the whole experience and to also do some further research about it as a healing practice.

Kinesiology is a healing technique that tests your muscles that represent different parts of your body to essentially listen to what the body itself says it needs healing with. I was asked what my goal was for the session and I said that I was generally feeling confused about my health, that I felt like I had lost touch with my own instinct as to knowing what was right for me. So we put this sentiment into words so that my goal was written something like “to feel confident and stable about the decisions made regarding my health, especially on my own terms”. This profoundly resonated within me because I currently have so many doctors now that my dependence on their advice has become crucial, even though sometimes it conflicts with what I believe, or what other doctors that I trust have said. Sometimes having too much information can be a shit fight! And to no surprise, this issue with my doctors also came up this week!
Anyway, back to my first official kinesiology session – I was asked how my body’s response mechanisms work by holding up my arm and relaxing at the joints. She asks my body to show my “yes” and “no” responses by asking me to push against her finger – and seriously, there are times where I can not hold myself up against the touch of her finger! And it’s not like she is battling me with it, she is gently touching me, but my body is responding to her questions about my feelings, about my treatments and about my life experiences by either positively or negatively working against her touch. I did ask her whether my body could trick myself into responding a certain way, for example, I want my response to be something, thus, will my body adjust to match that response? But no, it didn’t work that way.

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Doctors and Drama!

I woke up this morning at 6.30am and my mind was racing. All of a sudden I was a heap in the bed, curled up and crying. I tried opening my mouth to scream and nothing came out, all I could feel was a tightening in my throat – as if I was slightly embarrassed to let it out, but also that my body wouldn’t comply. I’m not in any physical pain, but I am in a heap of emotional pain.

I went to one of my doctors yesterday (the one who has been monitoring my diet and has put me on a large collection of supplements for a treatment) and I have been feeling amazing on her treatment, and my blood work also is showing positive results. YAY! But it’s what she said to me yesterday that has got me tipping over the edge: she said “I’ve seen people become relaxed with their diet because they have been feeling so good, but you won’t be able to do it. It would be DISASTROUS, and the body just never seems to be able to recover”. I asked “Why is that?” and she said “I don’t know, it’s just too shocking for the body, and you can’t return to this kind of treatment afterwards”. TALK ABOUT DRAMATISING EVERYTHING!

What pissed me off more is the things I SHOULD’VE said back to her when she said this, especially after I had my mantra of “clarity” yesterday. I have to give myself props though, because I did have the clarity to ask her about the sustainability of this treatment and told her it was very expensive for me – it’s like I hit a quota of clarity just by saying that, which explains why I wasn’t able to call her on her bullshit. I should’ve said “You can’t have me fearing the food I eat!!!” which had actually started happening recently – I was shit scared that something I ate would get me sick again! Thank god for acupuncture that helped relieve that anxiety!

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