Friday, December 30, 2011

So far, so good...

I finally started using the patches that the newest doctor gave me - they are for nausea.  I had a period of time after seeing him that the nausea was tolerable, so I hadn't bothered trying them.  Then when everything started up again in full force with my stomach it became a matter of wait until the appropriate time in the event that I have a reaction to them before giving them a try.

I was reading the packaging material that came with them.  Turns out they are typically used for patients who are undergoing chemotherapy.  The patient would put the patch on two days prior to starting their treatment and then rotate the patch every 7 days.  The concept of the patch is that it interferes with your serotonin levels, thus basically tricking your brain into telling your body that you are not nauseous.

Of course when I get my script filled there is a big warning from the pharmacist because the dose exceeds the daily recommended amount.  That's because my doctor has me replacing my patch every 5 days instead of 7.  So I finally put one on this morning because I really just couldn't take the nausea any longer.  I am not a fan of taking medication if I can do without it - and I finally couldn't take it.

So now we wait and keep my fingers crossed that this brings relief.  I would hope by at least tomorrow that I start to see some improvement - because I am sure it takes some time for your serotonin levels to be altered enough to feel a difference.  The most common side effects seem mild enough - it's the allergic ones that you have to watch out for, but like I said so far, so good.  I've always gotta giggle a little though, as almost every medication that they give a gastroparesis patient has either side effects of constipation or nausea - two things that most gastroparesis patients battle on a daily basis.  I guess this is how people can so quickly end up with an entire medicine cabinet full of prescriptions - one to counteract the side effects of the first and so on and so on.

I will report back more on the patches as I see how they work for me - in the event you are reading this and are also a gastroparesis patient or know someone who is.  It's worth a shot I guess - anything is better than constantly feeling nauseous.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Everybody remain calm, put your trays in the upright position...

Staying calm on the outside is always so much easier than staying calm on the inside.  Don't ever let them see your fear - you gotta remain tough in your mind.

Sometimes that is easier said than done, but I'm trying.  The harder part I think is staying strong in your mind - you can always fake it to everyone around you that you are ok, put on a smile and say that everything is great.  All though, those that really know me can usually see right through that - even if I attempt to cover up what I am feeling.

But it seems like the big belly is making its return and at least for now is not showing any signs of leaving any time soon.  The nausea yesterday was pretty bad and I'm not feeling so hot this morning either.  When I get home this afternoon I will plan on trying the nausea patches - don't want to put one on yet as I don't know what kind of side effects I could potentially have.  Besides, I'll be taking my daughter out with a bunch of friends shortly to go ice skating and I don't want to put a damper on those plans.

So for now, it's try to stay calm in my mind mode and not let stress work its way into my brain.  Tray tables are up and we are back to eating bland soft foods - and by we I mean me - cause I need to get moving and make these girls some waffles for breakfast.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Santa, I've been a good girl this year...all I want is...

What is it about being a woman - a mom and wife - that makes us push our bodies beyond its limits?  That instead of listening to our bodies to rest or slow down - we continue to push ourselves because we have either over committed or are just trying to tackle too much by ourselves?

I found myself in this situation today.  Most would think that what I tackled today was not much and why would I think that I had done too much.  Add into that the amount of time that it took me to accomplish it and some might wonder what the heck I had been doing all day - that I should have accomplished a lot more.

Grocery shopping.
Unload car and put food away.
Take all the dirty laundry down to basement.
Sort laundry.
Do 7 loads of laundry.
Clean family room. (and by clean, I mean clean - not just straighten up)
Clean dining room.  (see above)
Clean hallway bathroom.  (see above)
Straighten up kitchen - cause I'm just gonna trash it again tomorrow.
Clean out and organize my closet.

So I started all of this at 10:30am and eleven hours later, I am sitting down for the first time.  11 hours.

The more I moved, the more my stomach became distended.  The empty feeling I was experiencing this morning, hasn't gone away.  At one point I did have to stop for a few moments and eat a peanut butter sandwich - something with protein because I felt like I was gonna fall over.

I'm struggling again these past few days.  Something which I am not happy about.  Something which is weighing on my mind a bit.  As a person with gastroparesis, someone who has already been on TPN treatment - it sits in the back of my mind the fact that I could always need to go back on TPN.  I'm experiencing some of the same sensations I did before.  I need to start checking my weight again - make sure that I don't start dropping again.

All though I wasn't smart today about pushing my body beyond its limits - I will be smarter about seeing a doctor if the time comes that it's warranted.  Last time I waited too long and my veins were in bad shape - don't want to go through that again.  But I'm not there yet and really praying that I am just having a rough couple of days and that this is going to pass.

I would be completely happy to just wake up tomorrow feeling better - no presents needed - just waking up feeling normal.

It's Christmas Eve and I need to break this trend...

Well - I am still in the same position I have been for the past few days.

My stomach is still distended and I am just feeling blah.  My energy levels are low but I think that in part is due to that I have not been eating as much as I have previously.  My appetite is strangely gone again.  I woke up this morning with that kind of 'empty' sensation again - like I feel hollow - not really sure how to explain it.

So right now, I am waiting for the excedrin to kick in and take away my pounding headache.  Will get up and have some toast and maybe some coffee - hopefully the caffeine will help.  And then I need to get moving.  Too much to accomplish today and I need to find the energy to do it.

Feeling like I am slipping back into where I was before - something which I just cannot have happen.  Too much going on and I need to be operating at full capacity - or at least 80%.

All I want for Christmas is to be healthy.

Merry Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thank goodness for pain medication...

Well I woke up this morning with the same large distended belly that I had gone to sleep with last night.  Not the way I wanted to wake up.

Actually, I woke up at 2am and didn't fall back to sleep until right before my alarm clock went off.  Not the way I wanted to sleep.

But I got up and prepared myself for my long day of running errands...last minute holiday shopping to finish up everything on my list.  I went and completed as much as I could before my body was basically just tanked out.

Fortunately, my pain medication was finally available at the pharmacy to be picked up.  The pharmacy would be my last stop of the day - came home, took my meds and then it was lights out for me.  I ended up crashing on the couch for about 2 hours.

Still not a 100% - belly is still distended.  Really really hoping that it goes down and that it's not here to stay.  For now, it's time to get some sleep into this body of mine - the next few days are going to continue to be crazy and busy - but fortunately I have my medication to help get me through.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I've seen better days...

Today was not one of my better days.

I try really hard to kind of eat the same things each day - hoping my body will adjust to the foods or tolerate them a little better.  Foods which for the most part (at least in my eyes) are pretty bland.

Breakfast was eggs.  Lunch was turkey and cheese.  Had my usual coffee this morning and some water.

So why am I sitting here with a massive stomach that I have been sporting for the past 8+ hours?  I knew it was going to be an issue, as I sat at my desk at work and felt the intense stabbing pains in the middle of my back.  The pain would continue to intensify.  Working it's way straight through my back into my abdomen.

Unfortunately, I am out of pain medication.  I called my doctor's office explaining that I cannot get in for an appointment but needed him to call in a refill on my medication.  As of yet, the script hasn't been called in.  So here I lie on the couch with my massive belly, breathing as shallow as possible because it hurts to abdomen so distended that it is pushing up into my chest wall and making it painful to breath.

For the most part I have been doing pretty good for the past few weeks, with very minor episodes.  So I am hoping that this is something which will be gone by tomorrow and isn't an indicator that things are acting up again.  I don't need this to put a damper on my holidays or my desire to get back on the mat to take a class.

Keeping my fingers crossed for a better day tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hands up, elbows in my cups, pencils out...


My life continues to be a whirlwind.  A whirlwind of activities, a whirlwind of emotions.  I am having to make conscious efforts to not allow myself to become stressed by everything going on in my life.  I find that when I allow stress to work its way into my mind, that it in turn poisons my body.  My body deals with enough challenges, I don't need the added challenge of stress.

That sometimes is easier said than done.

I would say for the most part that my challenges with gastroparesis have been mild lately.  I am trying to stay with more bland foods - which in and of itself is quite boring.  Who wants to eat egg whites every morning?  Or a plain turkey sandwich for lunch?  Actually it sounds very much like the nutritional program I would follow when I would train.  Except - I wasn't drinking coffee or caffeinated drinks like I am now to try and get that little extra rush of energy.

I have also come to a realization lately.

I need to get back out onto the mat.  This past weekend was pretty chaotic, so I plan on talking with my Sensei this weekend about me trying to take a class again.  It's going to be one of those things that my ability to take a class will most likely be determined on how my previous week has been with gastroparesis.  I in no way want to do anything that would land me in the hospital.  But at the same token, I need a stress reliever.  So we shall see.

Out with the bad.
In with the good.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Can't hold me down...

Continuing on.

Living with a chronic illness, which has no cure, as I have said before is a difficult thing to do.  And unless you live in chronic pain or are chronically ill - I am not sure you can ever truly appreciate what someone goes through on a daily basis.  Now that doesn't mean that I don't think that you can't possess empathy for that person - wanting to help me them, pray for them, etc. - I just think there is no way that you could know everything that feel and deal with.

As someone who lives with chronic illness and pain - I don't necessarily want everyone to know everyday what I am thinking or feeling though.  It's not because I am embarrassed.  It's not because I don't want someone to be educated about my illness.  It's simply because in that moment - I am trying to continue on with a normal life.

There are times in my journey where something new is determined in my prognosis or something just knocks me for a loop - in those moments I do not want to talk about anything.  I need time to adjust and to absorb this new information and figure out what my new 'normal' now means.  And once I get past that hump - I'm in continuing on mode.

That is where I am at right now.  My life is too busy and full of too much stuff for me to get wallowed down in deep thought about my illness.  If I allow my mind to go down that path right now, my life will be disrupted.  Right now is not a time for me to shut down and process.  There are times when that is appropriate - right now is not one of them.

Time to stay strong.
Time to stay positive.
Time to focus on other things.
Time to feel normal.