Monday, April 20, 2015

F is for Food

 F is for food.

I have a love-hate relationship with food right now.

I enjoy good food, doesn't everyone? But it does not treat me with the respect I feel I am warranted.

Well my body, specifically my small intestine (all I have left), sees food as the enemy. Meals are a ticking time bomb for me. It doesn't seem to matter what I eat either. If I put food in my mouth and swallow it, my stupid intestine is standing ready with full artillery to do battle. It starts to cramp about three-fourths of the way through a meal.

F also stands for a bad word that I try not use... key word: TRY. It's pretty difficult when the pain and cramping are at their worst. The F-bomb is just so cleansing when used correctly. It should be treated with respect and only used when absolutely necessary. This reserves it's power for when it is most needed.

Over the past few days, I've eaten rice (white) with almost every meal. Breakfast...Lunch...Dinner. It seems to be one of the least offensive grains to my cranky gut. I visited an acupuncturist in Sedona recently and she had some wonderful food advice for me. She told me to start the day with a rice porridge with ginger and a banana (banana benefits are pretty cool too) added to it.

My first attempt with rice porridge didn't turn out well. It was a liquidy-pasty-mush that I made in the crockpot and I added WAY too much ginger. FYI: Ground ginger from the spice rack is like a million times stronger than fresh ginger. I did not have fresh ginger so I improvised with the ground ginger. The recipe calls for one tablespoon of fresh grated ginger so without looking up a conversion chart (big mistake) I put in one teaspoon. Don't do this. The correct amount of one tablespoon of fresh ginger is one-eighth teaspoon. Ginger is an extremely strong tasting spice. Extremely strong, but oh so very beneficial. lists some of ginger's super powers. For me and my moody gut, ginger helps to improve absorption of essential nutrients and assists in reducing pain and inflammation like anti-inflammatory drugs.

I promptly pulled up Amazon and ordered a rice cooker. My next batch (done in above mentioned rice cooker) was much, much better. I used the correct measurement of ginger and also added some agave to it. I topped it off with a few slices of banana and a bit of almond/coconut milk.

Normally the texture of a banana will set off my gag reflex faster than sitting next to an air-sick person on a plane so I mashed the bananas into the porridge.

It was quite tasty! I might add some cinnamon next time. Cinnamon is full of good stuff for you as well.

I'm finding that red mean in any form seems to trigger a gut rebellion. Say goodbye to tacos... well, beef tacos anyway. I can make pretty good ground turkey tacos and burgers. I love a good steak (I'm a Texas girl ya know) but unless it is the most tender of all filet mignons and I chew until it is pure liquid, I can't eat it. I certainly can't eat it for dinner or it will keep me up all night.

Eating out poses multiple issues too. I can't even begin to tell you all the problems I have when downing fast food. I'm not exactly sure what is in fast food that can cripple me, all I know is it makes life almost unbearable sometimes. It might be better that I don't know what's in it... There are a few places I can go that offer items that  don't seem as vicious, Chick-fil-a is one if I stick to just the nuggets. Fast food bread/buns are full-on gut war instigators. Maybe it's the preservatives? You know those things have a shelf life of 200 years and would probably be the only food left after a nuclear bomb.

In addition to rice, I eat a lot of eggs. Usually scrambled and occasionally, I throw in some left over salmon and cheese.  Baked potatoes are another staple but I tire of them very quickly.

The closer to nature the food is the better for my gut; however, raw vegetables, fruit, seeds and nuts can make my life most difficult. I must steam the heck out of veggies if I want to eat them. A salad would most likely land me in the hospital at this point.

There are many days where the thought of food and the torture it likes to inflict leave me with only one option: a protein shake. I found some really tasty ones at Natural Grocers. Lately, I've been drinking one a day in addition to regular meals. My hair has been falling out like crazy from the trauma and lack of nutrition from the 43 days I spent hospital hopping. Every time I run my hands through it, 5-6 strands come away wrapped in my fingers. When I wash it, oh my gosh, I loose handfuls! So, if you see me out and about and wonder why my hair looks like I haven't washed it in 3 years, you will know why: I'm trying to go about 3 days between washes to hopefully conserve what hair I do have. Crohn's is really hard on my vanity.

Aloe Vera juice is also a daily regimen. I drink about 8 ounces everyday. George's brand has zero taste so I often add it to my water bottle. It helps soothe my tummy and gut when things get stirred up in there.

Isn't IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) just nifty? It can seriously rob you of a part of life that is necessary and should be enjoyed. We often celebrate special events and occasions by eating. Family, friends and food always seem to go hand in hand. I used to savor a good glass of wine but that is a BIG no-no right now. Any kind of alcohol seems to be a hand grenade at this point. I hope this will change at some point but until then, I will stick with my aloe and water.
Scrambled eggs with salmon and a cup of joe for lunch.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

E is for Empathy

E is for Empathy

Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another. 

Empathy is NOT the same thing as hypochondria. Hypochondria is the OBSESSION with the IDEA of having a serious but undiagnosed medical condition. Empathetic people actually have the ability to share in the emotional and physical pain of another person where as a hypochondriac believes he has a condition all his own. The two are easy to confuse if you don't know a person well enough.

My hubby's name should be listed along with the synonyms of empathy. He will take on my pain as his own more often than not. If I'm having a bad pain day and share this with him, he will go from happy-go-lucky to down in the dumps with physical and mental pain of his own in a matter of minutes. If you know him, you know this too. It's for reals man!

I see this as an incredible gift and at the same time I think it can be a curse too. When I was in the hospital, he was absolutely miserable for me. I am blessed because he totally gets what I'm going through, he understands, he feels it quite literally. This is also when I think his life might be easier with out this trait. I find that I try to protect him by not letting him know every time I feel bad. I want to protect him just as much as he wants to protect me. 

Sympathy and empathy are not the same thing either. Sympathy is having feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else's misfortune. It can also be defined as the understanding between people, a common feeling.  For example: 

Sympathy is a wonderful and important trait as well. It's often what we feel when someone we know loses a loved one or suffers loss of any kind. With out either of these characteristics, friendships would be very hard to maintain. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

D is for Determined

D is for Determined

Determined: Having made a firm decision and being resolved not to change it; processing or displaying resolve.

*Resolute * PURPOSEFUL * Purposive * Single-minded * Unswerving * Unwavering* 
*Undaunted * Intent * Insistent * Steadfast * Staunch * Stalwart * PERSEVERING * Persistent*
*Indefatigable * Tenacious * Strong-willed * UNSHAKABLE * Strong-minded * Steely*
*Dedicated * Committed*

 Determination is a quality I've had to develop over years of living with chronic illness. It's possibly one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Well maybe it's in 2nd place to parenting...

Determination doesn't come naturally to me. There have been so many days where giving up looked really good and so much easier.

I mean REALLY good and SO MUCH easier.

So good that I made an exit strategy on a particularly bad pain day.

So easy that it's options are quite limitless.

I wrote it down with great detail in my journal and when I went back a read it, it scared the crap out of me.

I am at peace about dying. It doesn't scare me. I'm not afraid of what comes after, in fact, I think it's going to be absolutely amazing. When I reach those pearly gates and streets of gold, I am going to dance and sing all the way to the throne of God. I'm going to jump in His lap and hug His neck and tell Him how much I've longed for this very moment. I can only imagine what it will be like to be fully restored in His presence.

BUT, I can wait until He calls me to Him.

I cannot put suicide in my list of options. If for nothing else, the pain and grief it would cause my family. I feel like I must have some purpose to have survived some of the life threatening moments in my history.  I just need to figure out what that is exactly.

You'd think at 42 I would have some idea of what I want to do/be as a grown-up. I've been playing with the notion of a vision board, a tangible reminder of what I want to accomplish. Something that helps me focus when having a bad day. Something that says "YOU CAN DO IT!"

Now that the anger of the Crohn's diagnosis has dissipated some, I am working on what my "new normal" will entail. I refuse to let go of our dream of traveling all over the world when the last kid heads to college. We married young and then had a baby almost 2 years later while we were just poor college kids trying to survive. We are finally in a place financially to make those long ago dreams come true and I will not allow Crohn's to mess that up.

So what does this new chapter look like? Honestly, I haven't a clue. I'm just trying to make it one day at a time.

In my efforts to make the most of each day I have a little routine every morning:

  1. Rise and shine somewhere between 7 & 8 every morning regardless of how little sleep I had the night before. Sometimes I get a full 8 hours but mostly it's somewhere between 4 & 6 due to pain. My goal is that I will be ready for bed at a decent hour (before midnight) if I suck it up and get moving after a bad night. 
  2. Eat breakfast and drink coffee while having some personal quiet time. I use this time to read, journal, pray or just meditate. I find this gives me a chance to wake up and bring my mind to a healthy place before the insanity of a busy day hits. 
  3. I take my morning meds which consists of 1/2 hydrocodone 10-325 and a bentyl to help decrease the abdominal pain and cramping I have every morning. If I do this and get the pain managed, my day is 100x better. I've tried not taking 1 or both of these and it just makes for a rough day. So, for now, this is how it goes. 
  4. I run my essential oil diffuser with a blend of various oils depending on what I'm feeling at the moment. I'm a believer in aromatherapy and it's benefits. My oldest son told me it's just a mental game I'm playing but I don't care, it works for me. Besides, he's young and healthy what's he know? ;) (He's actually waaaaay smarter than me.)
I'm also working on being thankful. No matter what the day brings there is always something to be thankful for. When I point my mind in this direction I realize that ALL of my basic needs are fully and completely met. I am clothed, fed, and sheltered. Anything beyond those is icing on the cake.
  • I am loved by an amazing man--icing. 
  • I am the mother of 2 awesome boys--icing. 
  • I have a loving family and in-laws--icing.
  • I have too many friends to keep count of--icing. 
  • I have a working car that is far beyond my needs--icing.
  • I have a plethora of shoes--double layer of icing.
Do you see what I mean? When I am feeling sorry for myself, I just need to take a minute to realize that I have it pretty darn good. This gives me the strength, the will, the determination to make every moment count. To be my best self. And when I fail at that, I pick myself up and try again. I refuse to be my own worst enemy. 

I used to ask my kids "Is it true?" when they would be upset because of some derogatory comment someone said about them. They'd think about it for a minute and then answer "no, it's not true" to which I would reply "tell me, what is true then." They would go on to list positive attributes of themselves like "I am nice, considerate, fun, smart, etc..." I decided this is an exercise I must do with myself now. I can no longer allow Crohn's to tell me who I am. 
  • I cannot believe the lies it tells me. 
  • I cannot be bound by the ropes it tries to tie me up with. 
  • I will not allow Crohn's to crush my spirit.
  • Or dictate my future.
I will deal with this disease, I will take care of myself and I will persevere. I may have to take the occasional detour or sit out a game or two but I will live my life to it's fullest. I am determined.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

C is for Chronic

 C is for Chronic 

Chronic: 1) constant, habitual
              2) continuing a long time or recurring frequently

Crohn's falls in the category of autoimmune chronic illness. It has chronic pain, chronic inflammation, chronic diarrhea, chronic ulceration, chronic depression, etc...

Every morning when I get out of bed I spend the first 30 minutes (at least) trying to get my abdominal pain under control. The rest of the day is spent trying to maintain that control while also trying to function as close to normal as possible. I don't tell you this so you will feel sorry for me, I want to share why I am not always on top of my game. 

It takes a great deal of mental strength to deal with the level of pain Crohn's brings. Here are some of the characteristics you might see in me when I am dealing with pain above a 4 or 5 on the pain scale the medical community likes to use (0= no pain to 10=worst pain ever). I live somewhere around the 3-4 zone on good days. 

1) I am very quiet. I probably won't start conversation as most of my energy is being used to deal with pain. I may come across as angry or pouty and possibly even short tempered. It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the level of pain I'm in at that moment. I try not to leave the house and I try to limit my interactions with people who may not understand the extent of my condition. 

2) I might have a grimace or frown on my face, a knitted brow, clinched jaw. I may rock or jiggle my legs, wring my hands or seem a bit stir crazy. This is because intense pain is hard to ignore and not easy to sit still during. For some reason, rocking has a calming effect for me so this is something I do quite often. 

3) I'm not mentally sharp on high pain days. My mind becomes cloudy due to the pain which keeps me from thinking straight, making good choices or even simple decisions. Pain meds do not help this as they dim my brain function too. I might have problems carrying on conversations, answering simple questions, replying in a timely manor. You may see me staring into space or possibly looking a little lost. I may not see you or register that you are trying to get my attention if I'm somewhere like the grocery store. It takes an immense amount of concentration for me to complete a task like that on a bad day. It wouldn't be unusual for me to walk right by you and not realize it or to look directly at you but not register who you are. 

4) I have a super hard time putting my feelings into words as it is so when you add pain to that, I can sound like a real goofball. Words that I want to use don't always compute from my brain to my mouth. Many times I will mix up words or my sentences may be dis jointed and choppy. You might wonder what I'm smoking...which is nothing but I've probably taken a narcotic of some sort. 

5) It's quite possible that I will have the appearance of being fine, even healthy. On bad days that I must function I am more likely to be a little more dressed up. This will sometimes help me to feel better if I can look in the mirror and not see a total mess. My eyes will give it away easily though. I will probably tell you I'm doing fine because to tell the truth would cause me to break down. Plus, I just hate talking about it. There are times I will but I try with all my might to focus on things that are positive. 

6) The slightest thing might bring me to tears. I absolutely hate when this happens which just compounds the moment of ridiculousness so then I'm in tears and pissed. 

7) ALL small things become big complicated deals in my head when my pain level is high. I try to steer away from major decisions of any kind if at all possible. 

8) Pain is all consuming and completely exhausting. I might sleep on and off all day long and still be ready for bed by 7pm. Or I might not sleep at all because the pain won't let me relax. Add insomnia to the mix and things can go from bad to worse very quickly. 

9) You might get tired of me canceling plans or making excuses or even when my hubby does the same to protect me. I'm sorry for this, it's just how it goes some days. You might be frustrated because I won't comit to anything further out than a few days. I never know what each day brings until I wake up. 

10) I struggle with a lot more than just the pain on bad days. I am also battling depression, guilt, sadness, fear, anxiety, exhaustion, and even self pity. People with chronic illness and pain often feel like they are burdens to the loved ones in their lives. I know my hubby, parents, kids and friends often pick up my slack, run interference and generally protect me. I love and hate this. Mostly hate but I feel immensely blessed that they care enough to walk this road and help carry this burden. I wish they never had to though. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

B is for Brave

 I don't feel brave.

Not at all.

People are always telling me how brave I am in dealing with all this IBD/Crohn's crap.

It's not that I'm brave, I just don't have a choice.

I am alive and until God decides differently I will push through this misery to be the best I can, to make the most of each day.

By definition, I guess you could use the term brave loosely. I know I face pain and "unpleasant conditions" everyday and this is most likely the outlook for every single day in the near future but I don't feel brave when I get up in the morning.

I feel tired. I feel heavy. I feel determined but not brave. Determined to make it through today. Determined to keep my mind in check. Determined to move forward but not brave.

Mostly I feel afraid. Afraid I won't be able to control the pain. Afraid the meds won't work to control the disease. I feel afraid because there is no cure for Crohn's and so I won't look too far ahead for fear that the future may not be very pretty. This does not fit the definition of brave.

I have a little ritual every morning so that I can face the day: 1 hydrocodone and 1 bentyl to lessen the pain and discomfort of my bowels. Then I fill up my Essential Oils diffuser with a good smelling variety of oils and let it fill the air around me as I drink coffee and wake up. This is often time spent reflecting on the spiritual side of life. I pray a lot, read inspiring things and bible scripture, and of course, Facebook ;).

You might be asking with the roll of you're eyes, Facebook? Really Monnie, Facebook?

Yes, really. Facebook. You can add Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ to that as well. There are even a couple of IBD specific social media sites that I am an active member in too.

I follow several people, groups, organizations, etc... that are all things IBD/Crohn's related. I read their triumphs, discoveries, medical breakthroughs and daily progresses. I also read of their struggles, set backs, failures and frustrations. I watch as they pick themselves up and begin again, as they push through road blocks and follow detours on the way to success. I've even met a few of the people behind the profiles and developed friendships with them. I've bonded cyberly (my own word, thank you) with others through messages and good old fashioned postal mail. With out social media, my fight with this disease would be very, very different and extremely, horribly, frighteningly lonely.

These people who put themselves out there everyday, who publish the highs and the lows of their daily battle, these people are the true definition of brave to me. They fight every single day to hold on to their family, friends and even their jobs because IBD threatens to take it all away. Let's not forget the ones who get up everyday and commute to a job to declare war on the never-ending battle of autoimmune diseases. They may not see any breakthroughs in their career lifetimes but they still strive for new solutions. They are most definitely brave. Add to this, the doctors, nurses and other medical professionals who serve and care and move mountains for their patients. They are warriors too.

I am in awe and inspired. I feel like I'm not alone in this crazy messed up world of bowel disease, I am surrounded by a family of fellow gutsy (pun intended) ninjas. We are all doing the best we can with what life has handed us and because of their bravery, I can find the strength to be brave too.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A is for Acceptance

My cousin emailed me a couple of weeks ago challenging me to participate in April's A to Z Blog Challenge. I like it but I'm not always regular with my blogging. I blog for fun and stress relief so putting a deadline or strict timeline parameters on me takes the fun and most importantly, the therapeutic release away from it. I will lose interest super fast and begin to stress over it which totally defeats the purpose of why I blog.  I decided to follow the guidelines on my own time instead and even though it's March 25th,  I'm doing my 1st post in my own A-Z Challenge.

A is for Acceptance

January 29, 2015: official Crohn's disease diagnosis.

Week 8 as a Crohnie: Anger slowly being replaced with acceptance.

I know I really don't have a choice in the matter of accepting the fact that I have Crohn's and staying angry will be very destructive in the long run. Yes, it's natural to be upset, it's part of the grieving process after all. The process is meant to be healthy, to help deal with emotions that left unattended fester and become cancerous growths in the mind. When it's time, the mind, body and soul can move forward to find a healthier and hopefully, happier balance.

I am making a choice to move forward, to stop being mad, to focus on the positive. It's necessary or I will find myself in a black hole of unhealthy mind traps.

We just came home from spring break in Arizona. We spent a few days laying in the sun and wandering around Phoenix which was wonderful and much needed. We decided to explore Sedona for a couple of days before heading home and wow! What an amazing place! I wish I could just move there for a few months and take the time to fully heal and restore my body and mind in the beautiful handiwork of God the Creator.

I could just sit and soak up the sun for days.
Or stare at the gorgeous canyon walls. Or walk among the native plants smelling the rich soil...

These photos do not do the beauty of the area justice.  The colors and even the smell cannot be captured by man.

When you are here you feel much closer to nature. The peace and quiet of the land envelopes you and allows you to escape the daily toll of real life. You feel your shoulders relax and the tension of your neck subside. It is truly a place of healing.

As we wound through the canyons on our way home, I felt my rage against Crohn's begin to subside. We are not meant to hold on to such powerful emotions for long for they can turn against us and create negative habits. Anger demands to be dealt with. It must be acknowledged, to sweep it under the rug or deny it's existence or even to fuel it can bring about devastating consequences.

Today. Right now, I'm choosing to let go of the anger and disappointment of the Crohn's diagnosis. I will not allow it to control me any longer.

I just took my Humira injection and am now icing the sore spot on my leg. I'm not sure if I will ever get used to the burn of the medicine entering my body. Oh well, it's a small price to pay in order to be healthy. This was my 4th injection and I pray I start seeing significant improvement. Things are moving so dang slow! I know I'm getting better but I'm very frustrated with the time scale here. By this time after my ileostomy/rectum surgeries I was running. It was a slow run with lots of walking but I was exercising at least. This is not the case now. I couldn't run if my life depended on it. I'm barely able to walk at a normal pace to get the mail at the end of the block and back again with out feeling like someone punched me in the gut. Doc says it will get better, I was in really bad shape and I'm dealing with active disease. He says I'm too hard on myself. Maybe so, I don't know, I just want to be normal again.

See that? That last sentence in the above paragraph? That's what I'm talking about, that's the dangerous place my mind has a habit of going to. My new normal is a life dealing with Crohn's, I cannot allow myself to wish it wasn't so. I must accept this fact in order to move forward, to find a new normal with hope and excitement for the future.

I love this quote from Maya Angelou. What an amazing person! This is my new mantra, I must thrive or the darkness will overcome me. Every day I get up and decide that today, this day, I must be thankful that my feet are on the ground. I must let go of the disappointment and push through the unknown of living with chronic illness and pain. I must put my focus on things that are praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).

I told my hubby the other day that I couldn't dwell on the what if's like, what if the Humira doesn't work? What if I am always in pain? What if I have another flare? What if ...
It's too dangerous for me to go there. I will live in constant fear if I do.

If I am going to move ahead, I must have a positive mindset. This, I've discovered, is much easier said than done. I can often feel the negative creeping in trying to steal my joy. Not going to happen anymore! No sir, I'm wearing the big A for acceptance now so back it on up!

I'm going to own this disease.

It will rue the day it came to live in my intestines!

That is all.

Friday, March 13, 2015

My Frienemy Prednisone.

Hello Prednisone. I wish I could say I was happy to see you again. I really thought you were gone from my life for good.

December 18, 2014 is the date of my twisted bowel surgery. January 30, 2015 is the release date of my last (of 4) hospital stays. March 10, 2015 is the date I went to see my GI because I needed a 3rd refill of Hydrocodone 10-325. I am still having a lot of pain and I guess not all of it is surgery related, it's Crohn's related. I am averaging 2-4 pills a day plus 1-3 doses of Bentyl, an antispasmodic for the digestive system.  I was taking Entocort, a steroid designed specifically for the gut that doesn't have the typical steroid side effects like moon face, roid rage and weight gain but it just wasn't up to the task of my stubborn gut I guess. Doc decided I need a low dosage of Prednisone for a month or so and prescribed 10mg daily. As he examined me, he listed all the benefits of prednisone for a few weeks: quicker healing, pain management, getting inflammation under control, weight gain... Yes, he said weight gain. I've actually put on 10 pounds since I've been home from the hospital over the last 6 weeks. I guess I still look a little anorexic though.

I hate prednisone. It's a dirty word as far as I'm concerned. I had to fight back tears when he started talking about it.

I was already on the verge of a breakdown because as I've been getting things ready for our upcoming spring break trip I realized I did not have enough hydrocodone to last the trip. I take these very sparingly in order to make them last. Now that you need a paper script and an act of God to get them, I treat them like precious jewels. I was nervous about asking for a refill and so I decided to do it in person instead of over the phone. I'm so very glad I did. He is an awesome doc and very encouraging and understanding of what I am dealing with. He actually play scolded me a bit for being so worried about asking a refill. These were his words:
                           "Monnie, I know you. You are neither a complainer nor an addict. You have a horribly painful disease and you need pain management. I would not blink an eye if you needed hydrocodone every day from here on out. I have patients that take 1 dose every morning and/or every night just to help control the pain and/or ostomy output. It's already been established that your gut runs fast and with all that you've been through over the last 5 months it's no wonder you are still having pain issues so please do not hesitate to call and request refills. Your pain is legitimate." 
I felt my shoulders relax immediately and an audible sigh of relief from my heart filled the room. I have had doctors and/or nurses treat me like I am some crack whore trying to score my next hit and it's so humiliating. I would rather not take narcotics if possible but it's just not realistic for me right now. There are no words that I can use to adequately describe the relief this conversation gave me. It also gave me hope. Hope that I can function with less pain because my doc understands what I need and is willing to help me.

My healing process seems slow to me but I've been through hell for over 6 months so it's unlikely and unrealistic that I would just bounce back to 100% in a couple of months. This is the hardest part of recovery. Every day I push myself to the limit of my pain. I plan ahead of time what I will do so I can take the pain meds at the right time to help get through the tasks. It's like learning to read again and having to sound out each new big word in order to complete the sentence. I'm so over it.

Maybe the prednisone will speed things up a bit. 10mg isn't a big dose at all, I used to take 40-60 mg back in the day of UC. I'm on day 3 and really, the only side effects I've noticed so far are trouble sleeping and a little nervous energy. What are the chances this will be the worst of it? Probably not, the more it builds in my system I'll probably experience more side effects. Oh well, it beats feeling bad all the time.

My dear, dear frienemy, Prednisone, we are in this together whether I like it or not so let's make the best of it. I will take you faithfully if you will speed up my healing process. I will deal with your side effects if you bring down the inflammation of my intestines. I will take advantage of the extra energy you provide if you will go easy on the weight gain. I'm barely hanging on to my vanity as it is so please, can you take it easy on the moon face if at all possible? We can do this for a month and then we will part ways and I will deal with your younger brother of 5mg until I can send him packing too. I'm committed to this relationship so let's make it work and hopefully we will never have to meet again. At least not until the next flare anyway...