Monday 24 October 2011

Leap of faith

Long time readers will already have a far too intimate knowledge of my bowel habits.  I don't shy away from the less glamorous side of living with Bob.  And, lets face it, we've all been there at some point. Whether it's related to a chronic illness, a dodgy late night kebab, a stomach flu, or a trip to foreign lands (Bali Belly, Montezuma's Revenge), few are those who have not experienced the joy that is a disgruntled gastrointestinal tract.

I have been living with a permanent burning ring of fire since the beginning of August. And apparently supplying my offspring with endless comedic moments. My youngest will periodically sneak up behind me and play Johnny Cash's famous song on his ipod. Whilst simultaneously peeing himself laughing.  Because mum's chronic gastro issues are simply hilarious (or 'hil.hairy.arse' as we tend to say in our classy household).  Admittedly we, as responsible parents, played this same song for him when he was being 'cleansed' for his gastro scopes earlier in the year. So really I only have myself to blame. And, yes I am up for Parent of the Year.

Last weekend a trip to my GP reached a depressing low.  Bulk prescription for GastroStop.  Fanfrickentastic.  Because that's just what every 38-year-old woman wants to buy at the chemist.  Or even better, send her long suffering husband out to purchase on her behalf. Mind you he has carried a 4litre bottle of my wee to the local pathology lab, so really purchasing bulk stool hardening pills is a cake walk in comparison. I wonder if he thought he'd be undertaking these kind of tasks for me when he agreed to the "for better or worse" line on our wedding day. Love is a beautiful thing, no?

My next appointment to see Gastro Guy is not until the end of November.  (Is it sad that every time I say 'Gastro Guy', I envision him as some sort of comic book hero.  I can see the tagline now, "Villains tremble when Gatsro Guy produces his latex gloves, SCHNAP!".  Dear lord, I really need to get out more). I have not been looking forward to this delay as it means continuing imprisonment in my ever shrinking four walls.

After leaving a comment/whinge/woeisme/sookylalapants rant on a forum, I was contacted by a fellow Bobette in the same rectally-challenged position as myself.  She suggested that I try H1 and H2 antihistamines (often used for those who have Mast Cell Activation Disorder, MCAD, a common comorbidity in Bob) as they had worked well to control her own rear firehose.   Normally I double check this type of information with my GP. But given they are over the counter meds, so no prescription required, and I am over forking out my life savings for the pleasure of waiting an hour in a germ filled waiting room, followed by the usual, trial and error, medical guinea pig answer I normally get, I thought bugger it.  So once Mr Grumpy was sent off to the local chemist to purchase yet more pills.

To say I am surprised by the result would be an understatement.  From the first day of taking the combined H1 and H2s I have gone from double digit, bolting/stumbling/praying, to the loo, to 3-4 times a day.  WHOA! I here you say.  You're talking crazy, Crazy Lady! But it's true. These two little tabs have reduced my vacating substantially, and my butthole is oh so grateful.  Even the rainforests of the world have breathed a collective sigh of relief to know that their brethren will no longer be slaughtered in record numbers to meet my excessive tissue consumption.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to say it's not a complete answer.  I am still nauseous, consistency has changed little, and my stomach continues to speak in tongues at 80 decibels.  But frequency has reduced substantially.  And that has given me some of my life back.  Did you know that if you aren't crapping yourself stupid every three seconds you can pot a plant, and wait for it....walk up a flight of stairs.  Whoa, I know I can't believe it either.  As, I said to the lovely Linda, who put me onto this idea, I'm pretty sure I owe her my first born, or at least a kidney.

So the plan is to trial it for two weeks, stop it for a week, and see what happens.  I'll also be double checking with Gastro Guy, when I see him, about the safety of long term use.  As frankly, I hardly need to add another problem to my list, especially one that could be avoided.

So for now I am simply rejoicing in my reduced bathroom time.  Laughing at the irony that my newly reduced frequency, would still be a cause for concern for regular folk. Amazing what you can get used to. I may even get crazy and walk up a flight of stairs again. Or go all out, and walk to the letterbox.  Oh the possibilities.  I may even go all Braveheart, and scream "FREEDOM", from my bedroom window.  Its not like my neighbours think I'm normal anyway.

The world is my oyster dear readers. The world is my oyster.

Michelle :)
I'm back baby.


  1. I now have Johnny Cash stuck in my head.

  2. Woo-hoo! Happy news!!

    I figured something out with my own Bob-troubles that I will post here in the hopes it will help another Bobbo or Bobette--I've had to take beta-blockers every day for years for the crushing chest pain, numbness and tingling in the extremities, waves of nausea, sweating, etc. Lots of testing revealed there's nothing major wrong with my heart (they once diagnosed me with mitral valve prolapse but then changed the definition/diagnosis parameters, whatever you call it, to be more stringent, so I no longer have it according to the current definition--the valve is just a bit wonky but not wonky enough to be considered prolapsed). The beta blockers make me more fatigued and a bit dopey but that's better than the chest pains and etc.
    I've completely cut out red meat and cut way down on saturated fat--as a result I no longer need the beta blockers unless I eat something high in saturated fat by accident. Result--more energy!!--not normal energy levels, but definitely improved. And I'm less dopey/spacey. Woo-hoo! I thought I didn't have to worry about saturated fat because I'm skinny (underweight) and my cholesterol is OK, but apparently I can't handle much of it.
    **N.B. people, don't stop taking your beta blockers without checking with your doctor!**

  3. Kim - Bwahahahahaha. Such a catchy tune.

  4. Amy - Woo Hoo! Whatever gives you back some quality of life is fantastic. I've been running around touching wood, so I don't jinx myself. Mind you I've also tried to do to much because I feel a little better, so now I'm knackered. But it's worth it. Go More Energy!

  5. I mentioned this post, and your blog (which I love) over at my place.

  6. I'm half-chuckling, half sympathizing with your little situation. I went through a similar "imprisonment" due to a tumor in my uterus a few years ago, and I actually spent most of my time just crying about it.
    I love your pic at the beginning!
    (By the way, I click over here from Dicky Carter's blog.)

  7. Damn all my responses have disappeared. And they were so witty and wise. Okay take 2.

    Dicky - thanks for the blog share. Off to read the others you recommended

    Nessa Roo - thanks for stopping by. Believe me there have been tears too, but I'm trying to find a chuckle through out.

  8. I have the opposite problem -- a good day is a day when I have a bowel movement. The H1s and H2s close my g tract l down completely, immediately. Which given that I have MCA issues is frustrating. I have a couple of meds that have helped me but I'm unable to take them because of the constipation issue - the laxatives I've tried either exacerbate my MCA issues, trigger my migraines (I have chronic dailly migraine) or, in one case, bought on an anaphlyactoid response. If I hear one more doctor (not my gi doc by the way) tell me to drink more frigging water and eat more fibre I don't know what I will do.

    I am convinced that in medical school the doctors teaching the medical students about constipation held them captive in class and had them, 'repeat after me, in cases of constipation, a patient needs to eat more fibre and increase water intake.' And they had to repeat it until they no longer thought for themselves and had been effectively inculcated with the constipation/fibre/water solution. Breakaway doctors, who would not believe the programing in these classes, were the ones who went on to become gi docs (or Gastro guys).

    Ta, Michelle for your insights. I can attest to H1 and H2 anti-histamines slowing down my gi tract.

    1. Oh Red, I hear you. This post was from 3yrs ago now I am at the other end as more nerves have died off. :( I'm waiting on a specialist GI appointment currently in the hope that he can give me some ideas to get things moving. It's always extremes with this disorder. Who knew that simply having a poo could be so difficult. The only time my GI tract seems relatively normal is the couple of days following 2lts of IV Saline the rest of the time it doesn't want to work. Unfortunately regular IV Saline isn't an option where I now live.

      The rock and the hard place of trying to manage this is one of the side-effects they don't talk about. So often we seem to have competing issues where the med of choice for one is contradicted in the other. And the abnormal reactions to meds, and......


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