Sunday, May 12, 2013

An Ode to my Offspring

An Ode to my Offspring
By: Mollie Mills Sheppard

You've grayed my hair
You've wrecked my skin
Stitches outside
Stitches in
My boobs are rurnt
My hips are too
Those ugly veins
Are big and blue
I was once so nice
And did little bitching
But I now scream obscenities
As my left eye is twitching
I could sleep all night long
By myself if I chose
With no farts in my face
Or getting soaked while I doze
I was pretty and smart 
and energetic and witty
But you stole those from me 
when you fed from my titty
I guess that's just the way life goes 
as a mother
I'm glad it was you
And not any other

Thank God you are cute
Little babies of mine
And for all the good reasons
To drink tequila and wine


Your proud, if not somewhat haggard, mother

Monday, May 6, 2013

Tummy update: One year later!

It occurs to me I never explained what we finally figured out about my stomach issues and I wanted to pass on the info in case it might be able to help someone else.

I was hospitalized a year ago this month. The abdominal pain was excruciating, the joint pain was terrible, the nausea was never ending. The doctors found a long section of my small intestine was extremely inflamed and they stuck all manner of items into all manner of places trying to figure out why I was so sick. My stomach blew up to third trimester proportions. Dilaudid was my only friend... Everything else made me nauseous. It took weeks to get enough energy up to do short days at work, and I needed naps for months after. Steroids helped, and they helped a lot, but they also led to joint pain, edema, and weight gain, and my face starting bearing a striking resemblance to Zach Galifianakis. I slowly weaned down from 22 pills a day to none (on my own, without GI guidance) because, you know what? After I underwent an outpatient barium enema (OH MY GOD, never again) and swallowed a camera that took 56, 000 pictures of the inside of my digestive tract, the doctor told me I was fine.

Except I wasn't fine. I would drag myself upstairs sometimes to take a nap at 10AM and wake up unable to bend my knee. I would poop 5,008 times a day whether I wanted to or not. I would randomly become so ill I couldn't keep anything down and could hardly walk through my house without getting winded, and I knew I wasn't fine.

So it was Crohn's, obviously, right? That's what the signs all pointed to. The migratory arthritis, the fevers at night, and muscle aches, the abdominal cramping, the extreme lethargy, the general lack of enthusiasm or even tolerance of much of anything. Steroids helped, so obviously it was Crohn's, right? Except I didn't want it to be Crohn's, and I never really believed it was Crohn's... But what else could it be?

But then, as it often does, Facebook saved me. After my friends heard me bitch and moan for months about my symptoms, a couple of friends mentioned Celiac disease. I was skeptical at first, but I was willing to give it a shot to not feel like total crap every day. And then something magical happened... I felt better. Not perfect, but better. So I started looking closely at the other foods I was eating that might be triggers and one day it all clicked. Gluten is a trigger, and I have an obvious gluten intolerance, but it's more of a nuisance. My biggest culprit of my stomach woes is none other than sucralose. Splenda. The yellow packets. Oh, wow.

I used Splenda in everything. EVERYTHING. And the things I didn't use it in, I discovered over time the manufacturers used it in there anyway. All my favorite things... Sweet tea, Sonic's peach tea flavor, my Lifesavers orange mints I loved, my gum, my cough syrup, my sleeping pill I took at night to hep me sleep better when my tummy was hurting... Once I eliminated all the sources of sucralose in my life I have become 100% fine!!! My energy is back, the fevers are gone, my stomach isn't bloated anymore, my joints don't hurt, the two finger joints I haven't been able to bend for a year will now bend again, the acne that started about a year ago has gone... I feel like a person again. Like a 32-year-old person, not a 75-year-old person. It's been amazing.

I still can't do gluten, although I sneak some in every now and then. I don't pay for it like I pay for accidental Splenda use; that's much more unpleasant.

So, this has been a public service announcement. The longer I understand how these chemicals affect my body, the more I wonder how many of my friends with fibro or joint pain may be suffering from some of the same issues but just don't know it yet. It's worth a shot to give it up for a couple of weeks and see how you feel. Pain meds didn't fix it at all for me, but diet change did.

And thus ends today's episodes of Mollie's Being Dragged Kicking and Screaming into Healthy Eating. You may now resume eating your delicious foods I can't eat anymore. Enjoy them while you can!!