The Gimpy Colon*

*No, it's not another trendy bar.

The Thanksgiving Feast…

Happy Turkey Day everyone!!! I am at my brother’s house which is situated just west of Cleveland, Ohio. My whole immediate family is here and as usual, we are having a wonderful time. Currently, a group of us including Farmboy and most of the men in the house are preparing to make their way to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a group is staying home to veg out.. and a group of us is preparing for some marathon shopping (I’m in the marathon shopping group).

Thanks to the wonders of Remicade, I was able to seriously enjoy Thanksgiving with no limitations. I technically have to lay off the gluten, however, there were a few instances in the past few weeks that because of my poor planning, I was forced to eat gluten. The first time I knowingly ate gluten, I sat in a chair and waited for some sort of horrible side effect, a headache, SOMETHING negative that would cause me to never touch gluten again. If you have ever read Elizabeth Hasslebeck’s book about Celiac disease, you know how horribly sick she (and many many people with Celiac disease) get when they have even the smallest amount of gluten. Well not me… I was fine… so fine in fact that I got a tad bit cocky about it.

I have yet to get horribly sick at all from anything I’ve eaten in the past few weeks, which includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, gluten… all the stuff that I wasn’t supposed to ever eat… ever again. So, I run around with a box of gluten-free Cinnamon Chex cereal (which if you are gluten-free, you should totally check out… it’s a great go-to meal if there is nothing else available to eat, true sustenance and pretty darn tasty).

I do have a few small self-discovered parameters I have to follow when I eat now or else I can feel the colon start to gimp out.

First and probably most importantly, I have to eat teeny meals… so I’ve basically turned into a grazer of sorts. That’s the way humans are supposed to eat, I’m told, so I guess that isn’t so weird. Last night I ate a plate of Thanksgiving goodness. There was no way I could handle dessert so I had to kind of skip it (except for the two cookies, but cookies hardly count as dessert… dessert is PIE or CAKE, just sayin…)

Second gluten needs to be worth it. If I eat gluten for any amount of time after I leave Cleveland, I should be shot. Most gimpy colons can actually feel food going through the system. I know when it hits my stomach, I know when it’s rockin’ the intestines. I have to be very in tune with the goings on in there and even though I haven’t been sick yet, I know the clock is ticking. I will go home and go back to gluten-free and I will look forward to the next special occasion where I can have gluten again… I know I’m pressing my luck.. but you haven’t had my sister-in-law’s stuffing… it’s totally stellar…

Third is actually exercise…I know, I know.. a lot of gimpy colons are totally exhausted most of the time, but I definitely feel a little better after a nice walk. Randal (dog) usually gets a walk out of me and I ALWAYS feel better… I didn’t get any exercise yesterday at all even though I kept meaning to get out there and go for a walk.. it just never happened and I feel like a slug. Today though, is the marathon shopping trip, so therefore, I should make up for yesterday with today. Plus, Randal is at the doggie spa probably being fed grapes and having a massage as we speak. So he probably wouldn’t want a walk anyway…I’m weird about my dog.

But enough of that. Today’s Glutie Award goes to all the good hosts of the world who ask gimpy colons how they can enhance their stays… my sister-in-law had gluten-free Cinnamon Chex cereal all set for me even though I dove head first into a bag of bagels my mom brought from New York. At least I know that it was there if the jig was ever up and I had to immediately revert back to totally gluten free in a jiffy.

To all of you good hosts… we salute you!!!


The Good News…

Yesterday morning I had my yearly colonoscopy at my GI doctor’s office annex thingy where they do all kinds of oscopies. I did the prep. The prep is always the worst part. Essentially I had to clear out my colon which by default means that I had to clear out my entire system. I couldn’t eat anything for the entire day before except clear stuff like broth (which got old so very fast) jello (which I didn’t have) and Gatorade which is delicious BUT not food.

I had to take four Dulcolax tablets and then dump a bottle of Miralax powder into 64 ounces of orange Gatorade. That part is fine. If you cut it up into 8 ounces every half hour, it’s very doable. I won’t go into being chained to the bathroom for most of the evening. Suffice to say, you probably can guess how the rest of that went. I’ve heard of people having to drink some kind of “stuff” that again has the deceiving picture of berries on it as though to trick the mind into believing it’s some sort of cocktail. Not true… don’t be fooled…

I was a little nervous because not taking any of my pain medications meant that I felt pain and so I thought that I was going to get bad news… I really wanted to stay on Remicade, as I’ve mentioned before. Farmboy and I talked about him learning how to give me shots if that was going to be the next thing, so I was ready for that possiblity

The next morning, we put the boy on the bus and head off to Gastroland. Gastroland is happily situated one floor above my regular GI’s office which makes it convenient and easy to remember. We check in, Farmboy has his Star Trek books, I have my busy bag. We wait. I am called to go in, the nurse has me sign off on any responsibility the doctor may have in goofing up the colonoscopy.. always a good time. I get my little cubby area, my bed, my gown that covers nothing and my super socks with the little treads. I get all the vitals taken, they start an IV. My beloved GI doctor comes in and we chat for a bit on how the year has gone. I give him my results from last year’s colonoscopy and he’s happy to get to compare the two for me. Fantastic bedside manner, this guy. Later an anesthesiologist comes in and asks me a few more thousand questions, and rolls me on into the room where the thermostat was set on “meat locker”. A few minutes later I go to the place Michael Jackson has been, but I get to return a mere 30 minutes or so later…

I get wheeled back to my cubby, Farmboy comes back in and starts his ginger ale, gluten-free chip job. The GI comes in, all smiles and says that I’ve had an amazing turn around. The colonoscopy from last year is angry and RED, RED, RED… this year’s is a happy inside the colon picture that I almost want to frame. The GI said the Remicade is working, everything we are doing is working. There was one area where I still had a bit of an ulcer and he wanted me to go on steroids to which I said NO!!!! (see prior posts with regard to all of that nonsense with the steroids…) He is fine with that and crosses the order off on the sheet.

The GI says I can have basically whatever I want that is gluten-free. I still have markers for Celiac both on the endoscopy and on my Prometheus test and chances are if I don’t have it now, I’ll end up with it. So anyway, I’m supposed to start really slow, eat one kind of fruit or vegetable or nut at a time, find out my triggers, don’t gorge (for those of you who know me really well, you know that’s a tough request!). I’m out of my mind happy. I feel like I just won the lottery.

I know from reading other blogs and message boards that sometimes these things are short-lived, that one stress can trigger a massive Crohn’s fail when I least expect it. I get that. I’m ok with that… I just really want to eat a pear right now…. And so I am… WOOT!!!!

Until next time people!