Potty Mouth

 No, I'm not going to throw fowl language around although, I could probably string a line of curse words together that would make a sailor blush. This seems to be a talent I am fairly good at unfortunately. One I'm not very proud of...

Moving on--

I wanna talk about poop. Yep, I said poop. Bowel movements, laying logs, crap, pooh, number 2, dump, dung, feces, toilet oysters, the dirty, stinky, and of course,  shit. (check out these: poop names) Whatever you call it, I wanna talk about it. We all do it. Don't pretend like you don't! If you really, really don't--go see a doc, now! Everyone should be well acquainted with how their body rids it's self of waste.

I am often asked how I knew I had Ulcerative Colitis. Well, this is not a simple question for me to answer. I think I had symptoms of the ugly monster long before a diagnosis was ever made. As far back as I can remember, my bowels have been a source of irritation and discomfort at various times. It wasn't until 2004 when the symptoms became more than I could handle that I was actually given a diagnosis. Up to that point, my symptoms were treated a separate issues and never looked at as a whole. My treated symptoms would respond to the medications and thus go away for a while, sometimes years.

As I child, I would have instant diarrhea anytime antibiotics were prescribed. I remember one time around age 9 or 10, I lived on only white foods (baked potatoes, rice, baked fish, chicken...bland, bland, bland!) for a month because the diarrhea was so bad. Luckily, my mother was a little ahead of her time and always fed us healthy foods, loaded me up with acidophilus frequently, and  kept dairy out of my diet during those times. I grew up on "health food" which I think kept my immune system healthier and full blown colitis issues away for so long.

Around the time I started my period my bowels would act up significantly. I thought this was normal. Period poop was how I referred to it. It is normal for BMs to change a little during this time as the menstrual cycle does affect the whole body but, not like it did mine. My cramps were not just from my cycles they were also intestinal. I know this now after having a hysterectomy at 28 and still experiencing cramping that I had always credited to my period. My period poop would go from one extreme to the other--no poop to constant (unstoppable) poop--hard a rock poop to nothing solid poop. Too much detail? Sorry, stop reading or get over it.

Pardon my French...
1994: I was 21 and working as a Montessori teacher at a preschool. When you work with kids, you tend to pick up every single sniffle, cough and sore throat they bring in resulting in round after round of antibiotics for me. I eventually became so ill (for over 5 months) from the side effects of the antibiotics because my guts were stripped of all their good bacteria and no amount of acidophilus would help that I had to seek professional help from a GI doc. OK, back up a minute--before seeking out a GI, I had many, many trips to a plain ol' MD who, upon my last visit, the jerk/idiot/Moron Doctor told me all my symptoms were in my head! I was furious and refused to believe that. Really? In my head? He suggested I relax and not dwell on my health so much and the symptoms would vanish.  Jerk. Well, between the cramping and constant pooping I was unable to work so something had to be done. Ignoring the advice of the stupid MD, I went to a GI doc and broke down crying as I told him everything about my poop. (Not easy and very embarrassing for a 21 year old!) After a horrific sigmoidoscopy done in the office with NO SEDATION, my GI determined I had a bacterial infection in my intestines, a bout of colitis and told me I suffered from IBS. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS definition) is much, much different from IBD-Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD definition). He treated me with the drug Flagyl which I took for 7 of the 10 days prescribed before having a severe allergic reaction in which my face swelled to the point that my lips split and my eyes almost swelled shut. Amazingly enough, even with the allergic reaction the drug cleared up the bacterial infection in my intestines and I resumed a normal life again.

2001: I am 28 and need a hysterectomy, BAD! Six months after that I have emergency gall bladder removal. I credit these two events to the onslaught of my battle against Ulcerative Colitis and my absolute hatred of all things poop related.

2004, Age 31: My very close friend is dying of breast cancer and I've taken on a nightmare volunteer position at my children's school. Either one of these is enough by it's self to induce stress related health issues so when I started having constant diarrhea, I wasn't too concerned. Until the blood started. It was just faint traces that I attributed to hemorrhoids, I mean I've had 2 kids after all. The faint trace soon turned into obvious amounts which then led to massive amounts-- like more blood than stool. By this time, I'm not only "pooping" 20-25 times a day but I'm also anemic and lethargic so off to the GI again... This time a full on diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis and a potent round of Prednisone, colorectal enemas, and a lifetime supply of Asacol.  This seemed to do the trick and I rebounded quickly. We buried my friend in August and I, (in all my infinite wisdom) decided since I was doing fine, weened myself off the asacol. BIG, BIG mistake. I was healthy for a few months and then the UC flared it's ugly head and I was hospitalized in November.

Long story short-- 2006: After several different drugs and only having minimal response and remissions, I was admitted to Scott and White hospital 9 hours away from my husband and boys for 11 days. I was in serious condition. My intestines were so swollen and inflamed I was at risk of rupturing and bleeding out. I was put on bed rest for several days until the bleeding was under control. I hadn't been able to eat for several days leading up to the hospitalization and quickly stopped being able to drink anything too. Due to the swelling of my intestines and colon, pooping was out of the question and my bladder was squished rendering me unable to pee, thus my body had no way to exit waste. With the aid of IV steroids, and IV nutrition I slowly began to heal from the worst UC flare yet. I was finally released and allowed to go to my in-laws home 45 minutes away, my own home was too far in case of a relapse. Azathioprine gave me enough of a remission to last for 2 years.

Flash forward to 2008, another flare, another hospitalization, another treatment-- Remicade.  This was my miracle drug. It gave me my best years during the UC drama however, t was short lived. 3 years was all I got.

My last hope came in 2011 after yet another flare and hospitalization, a surgical procedure called a colectomy that would leave me with an irreversible ileostomy.  So now I no longer poop like a "normal" person. My poop is front and center. No joke! It's literally on FRONT of my body and just a little to the right of CENTER. Go ahead, ask me "How's it hanging?" I'll answer, "A little to the right." ;)

My dream potty, you know, cuz diamonds
 are a girls best friend.
So that concludes my potty talk for today. I must pay homage to a few people before signing off though. I am so encouraged by fellow potty talkers who are paving the way for us non-normal poopers. Bringing awareness to the serious and sometimes life threatening conditions of IBD and life with out a colon.
BRAVO butt buddies!!
Check them out:
Girls With Guts
Blood, Poop and Tears
Inflamed and Untamed
The Great Bowel Movement
Intense Intestines
I Have UC


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