life with an ostomy. candid, not sugar-coated. empowered, not embarrassed.

Jul. 24, 2006

Enough booze already... pass me a doob!

In my last year-and-a-half of high school I took to smoking pot a few times a week. At the time I didn't associate it at all with having Crohn's Disease, and I'm still reluctant to do so entirely, but years later I wondered if there was a correlation between me smoking pot regularly and for the first time ever, not getting hospitalized yearly.

Piles of documentation and other personal accounts that I've encountered indicate marijuana as effective in managing Crohn's on many fronts (including pain-relief, anti-inflammation, anxiety-relief, and enhancing appetite). But really, that information is extraneous. I know what I know. I've experienced the overall health benefits myself and can say without hesitation that I like it very much.

It's a drug, and like all drugs, is potentially abused. So I'll qualify the above declaration that it's beneficial for my health by saying it's not like I wake up and get high or feel like I need to smoke a joint to have a good time. I've developed a mature and respectful relationship with the plant.

There is so much pressure to consume alcohol in our world, it drives me crazy. I often feel like people want a good reason why I'm not drinking... when I'm not with people I know well, there is usually some kind of questioning or presumptuous comment. Fuck off already! It gives me crazy diarrhea, sometimes makes me barf, makes me dehydrated, and the next day, I feel awful. Sure it can be fun to be a bit drunk, but for me, it's just not worth it.

Marijuana on the other hand, under the right conditions, makes me feel great. Depending on the situation I'm in, it has made me feel social, comtemplative, comfortable, exploratory, artistic, sexual, or... in the times I have gotten high in sketchy situations or with people I don't enjoy, or who I feel judge me... I have felt anxious, frightened, and closed-off. Essentially, smoking the plant has thrusted me "into the moment" and opened my mind to experiences and ideas that I would not have had in the same situation, not high. Overall, my experiences have been educational, creative, and theatrical.

It took me several years to realize I didn't need to keep puffing until I felt high. Doing that usually resulted in wacko (totally fun, yet somewhat manic) experiences. Now a couple puffs, and I'm feeling fantastic. Not every day, sometimes not even every week... but when I do it, I enjoy it thoroughly.

Feeling fantastic? Waking up the next day feeling just fine? Discovering it actually contributes to my overall healthfulness? Why wouldn't I indulge?

Jul. 18, 2006

Shit Happened... then it died

Well, I've evolved since last being here. I've discovered reality! I really have nothing to worry about. Everything that's got me all bunched up in mental knots is really relatively meaningless. In the end, it's all just a bunch of matter shifting from place to place in the world, at my job, in my head, in my gut. And I'm not letting the things outside of my control control my head and my tummy. I feel better. I haven't had any pain recently. Okay, once, but it was so brief I could have missed it if I was distracted.

And love. Love! Support! It's there! (big ups to my snuggly-poops and Mom)

And transition! I'm transisting! Leaving my terrible (albeit simultaneously terribly rewarding) job. Laughing (laughing!) at the fact my home is infested with fleas since returning from a few days away. Letting go, and embracing myself, my needs, and yes, the reality that my mental and physical well-being could actually be prioritized (guiltlessly!) over duty!

Finally, I perfected the camping poo! I pooed in one of those re-usable/disposable ziploc containers (with deordorizer in it) in the middle of the night, in the tent. Necessity fuelled my neurons to pump out that stroke of genius. I got several hours worth of diarrhea on our last night camping at a spot that was bang in between two outhouse, hence equally really far away from our tent. Saved myself four trips of outhouse navigation while half-asleep navigating through darkness. Felt pretty proud when I woke up well-rested, and sleeping on my tummy!

Now I'm starting to think more seriously about the perfect bedside toilet that I can have designed and installed when I get to that home-reno phase in life that I'm presuming I'll naturally have.

Jul. 4, 2006

To admit or not to admit...

I mentioned several posts ago that I had an ileoscopy, but I never mentioned the results. ...drumroll please!

ahem. I have inflammation! According to my gastroenterologist, I have little ulcers about every five centimetres from my stoma to about 30 cm upstream. The reason for the scope was that in March and April, I was having fairly regular Crohn's pain. It was the most major sign of disease since having the ileostomy in 2002.

There was a period of about two weeks, just two years after the surgery where I had pain as well. The moment I definitively recognized it as Crohn's pain, I proceeded to lose it. I cried and screamed. And screamed and cried. It was my first introduction to the cruel fact that my health could disappear at any moment. After a full two years of bountiful health, where I discovered life without pain, anemia, weight fluctuation, diarrhea, fatigue, and appetite loss, it all of a sudden struck me how precarious that precious gift was.

And then I somehow got better.

Over time, I managed to digest that very real possibility that I could get sick again. But then these days I feel like I'm at some dangerous tipping point, where if I admit I could get sick, then I might as well admit I might get sick, and if I say that, plus I'm feeling pain and getting nausea and diarrhea at times (like tonight), I might as well say I might be getting sick, and heck if I say that, why don't I just start telling people in my life that I'm feeling like the Crohn's is coming back and hey I might want to start scaling back on all of these big responsibilities I've gotten myself into over these past years of healthfulness, because dammit they're sure weighing me down right now and I feel anxious and nervous and it sure is causing me grief. But then if I say that, why don't I just quit all the plans I have for myself, ask my mom to support me, and stay at home and watch movies all day and do arts and crafts?

I went through the trauma of Crohn's once before; it was my entire adolesence. Only then, I would never have used such a victimizing and loathful word. Trauma? Like what was I? Some kind of pitiful schmuck with tubes up my nose and no personality? Fuck that noise! Life was good, and Crohn's disease was just this bitch I had to deal with on the side. It was really no big deal. The drugs, tests, visits to the doctors were all novelties, in a way.

On the other side of my adoloscence, looking back, it seems more clear to me the difference it would have made if I had been healthy. The patterns of Crohn's, it's slow progression, it's severe attacks, all steered my life in a way that I don't regret or detest, but I just don't want to have to deal with it again. Because I know what's coming.

And now I feel trapped, not wanting to be fatalistic and play the victim, but also not wanting to foolishly ignore my need to slow down and take care of myself. It's so hard to let go of the approach to life that I adopted shortly after the ileostomy surgery, which was: Go! Do it! Yeah! whoopee! Look at what I can do! yay me! Now it just feels like work, and it feels overwhelming. The sensible thing for me to do over the next little while it seems is to extract myself from that way of thinking. Despite still having all these plans, dreams, and big ideas, I need to think small and prioritize my well-being. The last thing I want to be is a victim, so now I guess it's time to be a hero... and rescue myself.