Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Changing it Up

life's a polyp

Life is an ever changing being, what once was may not remain. I've experienced far too often and far too infrequently the unexpected. We never know how we will be tomorrow or a few years down the road. Time changes us and it's no different for how our body and systems are affected. Seems like every so often my body goes through a cycle of changes on how it operates. S

 The first major unexpected changes were after my last surgery as over time my body started to adapt and I was better able to tolerate food and a larger variety of foods. In Evils of Food, I first discussed food and what once was an excruciating experience gradually returned to an enjoyable experience, for the most part. Still though, there are times when food remains to be the primary contributor to flare ups that usually last for just a day or a night and I'm able to return to normal activities the following day. But then again, this can change also. Foods that are normally upsetting cycle and are not upsetting for a period whereas "safe" foods become bothersome. Periodic changes make it difficult to know what to expect and how to resolve the issue. A few years ago, I went through a period where any food other than raw vegetables and fruits were very upsetting to my stomach and system. Any other foods caused severe abdominal pain and cramping. This lasted for a couple of weeks and my system seemed to reboot itself and returning me to my regular diet.

I've experienced cycles in how my body reacts to medications as well. Through a Medication Mix Up I discovered that Lonox, the generic for Lomotil, was once again an effective medication for my SBS. Yet in just over a month, my system changed again and I required an increased dosage of the Lonox. And then, just a month or less later I was able to reduce the dosage yet again. I'm nervous to find out how long the current effectiveness of Lonox will last as I'd prefer not to return to the higher costing brand name Lomotil. Only time will tell.

I'm currently enduring another change that has yet to resolve itself. Due to the SBS, I usually am up during the night to use the restroom 2-4 times. And although this may seem like a lot to others, it's actually preferable for me. The last week or so I've been sleeping through the majority of the night without any restroom use. Because my intestine isn't being voided, my intestine is slowing to an uncomfortable pace leaving me feeling bloated and in pain until late towards the next day. I'm not sure the reason for this sudden change. I suspect it may be related to reducing calorie intake as I'm eating healthier or perhaps I'm not receiving enough fluid intake although I drink when I'm thirsty except  I try not to eat or drink within a couple hours of bed though. Drinking too close to bed causes severe pain from abdominal cramps all night long and is very miserable for me. Is it the foods I'm eating or the amount of or timing of fluid I'm drinking that needs to be altered? Or perhaps it's just my body's way of saying it needs to be flushed out? No clue. As I experiment with altering my habits once again to accommodate my body, I'm hopeful I'll find the solution or my body will resolve itself as it usually does over a period of time.

We're never guaranteed that life will remain the same, we're always faced with challenges. And that isn't a bad thing. The status quo becomes stagnant, stifling. Challenges break us from the mold, we're forced to find new solutions, fight new battles, enjoy new blessings, learn a new way. We strive, we strengthen, we change along with life.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

20th Anniversary with FAP

fap life's a polyp

I'm not very good about remembering health milestones. I don't usually think about how many years since my first surgery or my last and when I do it's not typically anytime around the anniversary. But this year I did remember that it's been 20 years since I've started with my GI doctor. 20 years since diagnosis of FAP, 20 years I've been listened to and 20 years I've battled what FAP is and can become. 20 years.

I had such a difficult time getting any PCP to listen to me and my parents to obtain the necessary referral to see a GI specialist. I'm not sure how after such a fight for the referral I finally obtained one for the best pediatric GI specialists in the state and who is well respected outside of the state. But I did and I'm so grateful. I haven't always liked my doctor. As I mentioned in my last post, there were several years that I hated and blamed her. As I started my own psychological healing, I've realized how terrified I am of losing her as my doctor. I greatly admire and respect her. She has always stood by me and fought for me, whether with other doctors, hospitals, insurance, schools and jobs. She is my greatest advocate. 20 years I've been so fortunate.

I've seen a lot in the last 20 years with diagnosed FAP. I've had seven surgeries, more than enough near death experiences, endured PTSD, cycled in and out of severe depression, given the prognosis of stomach cancer by age 30 (I have two more years to make it past that prognosis!), completed school and maintained full time employment, got married and looking at surrogacy. I have good and bad days like everyone else but I'm hopeful that the worst days are behind me. 20 years it's taken to get to the place I'm at now.

Who knows what the next 20 years will hold. There's always guaranteed sadness and happiness. I do know that I won't have my doctor for another 20 years, it's very likely in that time period to develop cancer again, I hopefully will have adult children by then., I am likely to have lost and gained more family and friends. These are all realities I keep tucked away, taking it one step at a time.

That's how the last 20 years have gone, one step at a time. Although at times it felt like crawling steps and at times giant leaps. I look forward to seeing the future and what's in store but for now, I'm going to savor where I am at now and honor what has transpired to get me here. Our trials and our joys deserve to be honored, they help shape us and direct us in life.

20 years, I've made it. And here's to another 20 years.