The Gimpy Colon*

*No, it's not another trendy bar.

The Suspense…

Goodness, it’s been a while…

Well I’m sick again and I’ve actually been kinda sick for a while. Less Crohn’s stuff and more of a cold, flu, schmutz feeling that has been going on for a good three weeks or so… and so I’ve have tests done and scheduled… blood came in, all is well there. My GP had to do battle with my insurance company for a CT scan and I’m waiting to hear as to when it has been scheduled. I had an ultrasound a few days ago because of pain in my stomach. I thought my spleen was exploding but turns out my pancreas, which if you didn’t know this already, has a head, a body and a tail… like my own little tadpole… well it turns out my pancreas head is way bigger than it should be. Not sure what that means exactly, but I’m hoping it’s the source of my pain, that it can be cured with another bottle of pills and/or something as simple as that. Of course, nothing is ever simple when you have a gimpy colon. I’m on day 5, I think, of antibiotics and my symptoms are pretty much the same.

Another thing I learned from the ultrasound is that I have a fatty liver… now THERE’S A SHOCKER… no not really… Unfortunately, or fortunately, however you want to look at it, a fatty liver or finding out you have a fatty liver is one of those things that can turn bad but can be reversed but once it’s progressed there’s no turning back…did you follow that? Now somehow, my liver is processing everything properly according to my bloodwork so it’s up to me to lay off the fatty foods and be good. I guess now that the holidays are over and lent is right around the corner, I might be able to pull something like that off. My GI PA said that people don’t die of fatty livers, they usually die of something else and she totally went meh on me. Can’t really say I’m scared straight if you catch me.

So I have a CT scan scheduled for Friday… as soon as I know something, I’ll throw it up on the blog and if it warrants a separate blog, then I’ll entertain new names… So far I have The Pesky Pancreas, My Big Fat Pancreas Head, and Finding Nemo… in the Head of a Pancreas…



The Absence…

So a fellow gimpy colon contacted me and asked how I was doing. I told her I was fine… actually… fine… “fine” is one of those words that we’re all kind of afraid to say because “fine” could trigger a karmatic reaction that causes a fabulous dinner date with the Farmboy to go completely awry. So we say something more along the lines of “holding up” or “I’m gonna make it!”. Don’t worry… we’re fine.

I haven’t been here for a while, perhaps because I’ve been “fine”. No really, I’ll say it. I’m down to 1mg of prednisone, I’m totally off that blasted Entocort, and my last Remicade infusion was rather enjoyable. I’ve actually gone as far as to make plans to visit with friends and family during the summer (which unfortunately is almost over for us.) and I’m looking forward to going to soccer games and tournaments for my son which any gimpy colon knows is a crap shoot (ha ha…get it?).

Oh, before I forget, thanks for the cards and flowers and baskets filled with biscuits for Randal. He would say thank you, I’m sure, but… you know.. he’s a dog. Randal’s colitis is much better and he is running around happily like the sweet pooch that he is. He spent about two weeks on a bland diet of ground chicken and mashed up rice along with four medications and he really is good as new. We do have the medications in the cabinet in case of a flair for poor Randal. But he hasn’t needed any of it so far.

Since I’ve been feeling so much better, I thought maybe a good use for this blog is to take it to the streets. I’ve perused through some Crohn’s message boards lately, and I noticed how many people are asking questions about the colonoscopies, endoscopies, the Remicade infusions, the CAT scans, etc. I’m wondering if I should do some play by play of these tests, to help these folks out. They all seem so concerned…worried.. heh.. just like me when I first went through all of this stuff.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. Today’s glutie award goes to the people who make peanut butter cups… I know you didn’t mean to, but thanks for making those things gluten-free… I’m sure you talked a few celiacs off the ledge with that move…*

Be well everyone!

*Before a mad pack of gluten-free people get all torchy and pitchforky on me, I do realize that not all chocolate and peanut butter products are gluten-free or made in gluten free factories…but I don’t feel like naming names tonight.. so there’s the disclaimer.. I wish you people would calm down.


The Genetics…

The title of this entry is more of a joke… why? Because another member of our family has been stricken with colitis… it’s really quite tragic…it’s my poor dog Randal.

Randal has been a member of our family for 2 years now. He’s a three year old Jackhound (not a real breed). He’s a Foxhound-Jack Russell mix. There is an actual hybrid called a Foxy Russell but I can’t say that without commenting on what a stupid hybrid breed name that is. So he’s a Jackhound.. lets just settle that.

Poor Randal was rescued from a puppy mill (or so the story goes). When we first brought him home, we knew that he had been confined for probably most or all of his life. When I took him for his first walk, it happened to be garbage day and he stopped and barked and every bag of garbage. He has attacked the lawn mower, the leaf blower and the vacuum cleaner. All while they were turned off and just sitting there. So suffice to say the pup had some issues. We’ve conquered a bunch of his issues, but one still remains… he has what all the dog experts call “fear aggression”. We currently have a trainer working on that with us which brings me to this colitis thing…

The trainer, we’ll call her Michelle… because that’s her name, wanted us to take Randal for a brisk walk for about an hour per day, keep him out of Farmboy’s and my bedroom, and work with him on keeping him occupied with dog games. Randal probably could handle Uno, but I think he’s frustrated because he doesn’t have any hands. Such as it is, we put his dog bed out in the hallway, and shut the door to the bedroom. He woke me up 7 times on Sunday night and 3 times last night, with scratches and little barks that he likes to do to gently wake people up. Randal is very considerate.

So yesterday, he started with the diarrhea, today, he was shivering and seemed to be warmer than he usually is and then the vomiting started so we called the vet, brought him in and TA-DA!!! Colitis…

So three medications and a new diet later, hopefully we’ll have a healthier more happy Randal. I know just how the poor guy feels. I asked the vet why he doesn’t get steroids for his colitis.. she said “oh steroids are murder on the body”… Really… huh… didn’t know that… she also said that the colitis might be triggered by the stress of the training and walks and stuff.. “you know… stress can trigger colitis” And so it goes…



The Shoutout…

My health has been poor lately, so I’ve been on a liquid diet since Monday. It’s mostly pain and so, since I’m not exactly malnourished, my GI doctor allowed me to go on Ensures and applesauce to give the gimpy colon a rest. I do feel better with just the Ensures, but it is a tad … sad… that I make actual food for the boys and I get to drink my meals out a bottle… I’m all for a comfy colon though.. so I shouldn’t complain.. but I will anyway… poor, poor, gimpy colon.

But enough of that… I have a few shout-outs I want to do. I’ve gone to several restaurants in the area and also grocery stores with my crazy diet requirements in hand… no fresh vegetables, no fresh fruit, no gluten, no nuts, no seeds, no fiber, no popcorn, no sex, no drugs, no wine, no women, no fun, no sin, no you, no wonder it’s dark…. (That’s a shout-out to my biggest big brother.)

Here’s a shout-out to Pamela’s Products and Giant Grocery Store. Giant is one of our local grocery stores. About a year ago, they opened a new one which has a whole section for freaks like us. Gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, all that stuff. There’s a whole row of gluten-free stuff and one of the more yummy lines is Pamela’s Products. Giant has most of Pamela’s products which are currently my favorite of the “mixes”. Granted, I’ve only been gluten-free for a short time. Pamela’s pancake and baking mix has been consumed by the gluten eating men of the house (read that as, they didn’t notice that it was any different from any other pancakes)… Farmboy totally digs the chocolate chip cookies made from Pamela’s pancake and baking mix. I haven’t tried to make the muffins or any of the other recipes on the package, but I keep a package of Pamela’s mix around just in case….. I start eating real food again.

Giant also carries Foods by George which is where I got my very first gluten-free English muffin. I’ve mentioned before that the gluten-free English muffin as created by Foods by George looks and tastes nothing like an American English muffin. I confess, I’m lame and I don’t know what a real English muffin looks like or whether English muffins come from England or if it’s like French fries and only Americans make up these foreign names for things. Last time I was in Europe, I was three. Cut me a break…

…Wait a minute… why am I admitting lameness? I have google… AND Wikipedia… and here’s what I’ve found since I’m so brilliant with search engines… The English Muffin does come from England and back in the 1700s they called it a moofin… which is hilarious. I couldn’t read any more after moofin. I don’t need to know anything more than moofin.

Anyway, like I said before, Foods by George English moofins… taste and look nothing like a regular English moofin. In fact, if I were to do the Pepsi challenge with English moofins by George, I would have to go with biscuit. Not ENGLISH biscuits… I know those are different. I’ve seen Upstairs/Downstairs. But regular American biscuits. So every morning, I eat an egg with some kind of gluten-free spread and a moofin by George. Here’s the package… disregard the spelling of the word “moofin”. I’ll have to have a talk with George about his spelling skills.

Shout out #3 goes to Betty Crocker who has a whole line of make yourself box deserts that are gluten-free. You can get yellow cake, devil’s food cake, chocolate chip cookies and brownies. You can even find them in the baking aisle at the grocery store so I got to feel like less of a freak for about five seconds. I bought and baked a chocolate box cake by Betty herself. I haven’t tried it yet, but I have tried the cookies. They’re good and totally passable as gluten-filled. In fact, I’m starting to wonder why the world needs gluten.

I have a couple of other shout outs but I’m low on time these days. I’ll have to break it into another post.



The Family Connection…

Whilst I wait for my GI doctor to call me on Monday with regard to my CT scan which I got last Friday, I decided to seek out someone to blame for this whole mess.

When we were first talking about Crohn’s disease and even more recently about Celiac disease, my doctor asked me if anyone else in my family had Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis. He said that they were genetic, and since I had a whopping case of Crohn’s disease, there had to be someone… I couldn’t think of anyone off the top of my head, but then again, I couldn’t imagine that people in my family would be running around talking about their bowels… except maybe me… I have a blog.

So I asked my mom, and she said that my grandmother (my dad’s mom) had “ulcers” but she wasn’t sure exactly what that meant or if they were really ulcers. Unfortunately, my grandmother passed away before I was born, so I never knew her and I wouldn’t have been able to ask about the extent of her “ulcers”. But that’s it really. Not another soul.

Of course, I wondered if maybe I was adopted. Whenever I wonder that out loud, people laugh. I look just like (name any person in my immediate family… name anyone… I look just like them). Ok so fine… I’m not adopted. So on to find out the family bowel history!!!!

It all happened kind of on accident. I was recovering from drinking the gallon of paste they make you drink before a CT scan. HATE THAT STUFF!!! So I was flipping through the channels and came across a show called “Who Do You Think You Are” which is when they pick a celebrity and they go through that celebrity’s family history and I guess nine times out of ten they find an interesting story back there. This particular episode was about Steve Buscemi, an actor from one of my all-time favorite movies, Fargo. (Poor Steve really GETS IT in the end of Fargo). Anyway, as they were looking through census records for Steve, some of the records had little notations on the sides and I couldn’t help but notice that one of the notations said “bowel disease”. Is it possible that I could find out who might have had “bowel disease” in my own family?

So I hopped on and signed up for their two-week free subscription. I’m proud to say that one side of my family has been in the US for a long looooong time (Woot Woot Mayflower yo!) … I’m also proud to say that I can legitimately celebrate St. Patrick’s day (County Cork Represent!!!) and I can also legitimately celebrate Cinco de Mayo. If only these dang relatives of mine were sick enough to get a notation of “bowel disease” on their census records. My great, great, great grandmother on my father’s side had Dropsy… yeah… not helpful gramma…

Did I expect to find the culprit? The rat that infiltrated my once thought to be clean gene pool that’s now all gumped up with autoimmune insanity? No… not really… but it was one of those shot in the dark things that I guess we all wonder about. So far I’ve had fun on I have to get the SUPER version if I want to skip into Mexico and Ireland for more records and I might. I think I’ll just go back to blaming this all on the nasty case of mono I got when I was 18. That was definitely MY fault… One shouldn’t party all weekend, stay up all night and then eat nothing but sour patch kids for breakfast. And wearing a hat to and from swim practice is cool…. now I think it’s cool… and don’t drink coke out of the same bottle of someone who says… “you know I’m really tired, and my throat kinda hurts” … man… so many easy things to avoid… I almost feel bad trying to pin it on someone I’ve never met!!!

Sorry random family member.

Anyway… onward and upward!