Embracing life with chronic pain and illnesses.

Archive for August, 2014

Stress and IBS

I am sure that I will be preaching to the choir here!

I have learned something more from my body….from the many health challenges that I have experienced…..from experiencing issues that I had to educate my physicians…..

Stress is beyond our control! It is the one element that we cannot dictate….we cannot completely control our exposure to it. We have limited input….we do our best to reduce the stress in our lives….to protect ourselves as much as possible.

The reality….what we experience at work….in life….some stress is easier to control….to deal with than others. Our bodies react more so to some situations than others.

We also have to focus on what is important! Our families….our kids….our spouses…..

We must also try to balance physical activity to promote our own individual personal health. Such a frustrating balancing act at times! Especially when we are trying to regain control! Trying to improve our physical strength/health….improve our time with our family……to just regain a sense of ourselves after dealing with so many years of struggling with serious health issues.

Personally, I have found that the stress from work is the part that I cannot control. The knots in my stomach…the pressure in my gut…is caused by the stress induced by things completely outside of my control. I can do nothing! I can only focus on the time with my hubby and son…..game nights, walking our property in search for tracks and hearing our son’s theories…these are the tools that I use to chase away the stress!

I also use physical activity….walking on the elliptical…lifting weights…..hiking the property…..although I cannot use these options as much as I’d like….I am working towards setting more time aside for me…these physical outlets will help to burn energy…to help to combat stress.

One other key stress release for my is being able to shoot bows with our son. It is such a wonderful stress relief……to breathe….focus on the target…..draw…breathe…then release. We have fun with different challenges.

We have to learn the best way to react….to respond to our body’s response to stress. I wish there was a magic cure….

Ultimately…I wish that none of us would have to deal with issues of stress for our bodies…..


This is dedicated to all those fellow Ostomates! The long road that has been traveled to bring us to the point of “rejoining” the living! To be to the point that we have returned to our lives!

Day to day living….going out for a road trip….planning a vacation….all things most people wouldn’t give a second glance….however, if you have had to undergo surgery…especially some type of a stoma surgery, these concepts are forever altered.

I am a proud permanent, colostomate. However, I was very nervous with our first family vacation. So excited and empowered by its success!

Road trips have been a joy! Yet, I was just reminded that my Ostomy can rear its head and remind me that I must pay attention. If I feel that pulling and itching sensation, I must speak up and say “please, pull over”.

Things were going very well! Then last week when returning from my parents, I wanted to ignore that itchy/pushing sensation. My hubby noticed my hand on my tummy. We pulled over at the next wide spot…..

Needless to say…output was overpowering my stoma….I changed my bag…knowing that I had just enough time to get home to completely change my baseplate and bag.

Even being healthy….being able to achieve more than I have in a long time….I know that I have to continue to pay attention to my body.

I cannot take anything for granted. I must truly appreciate every opportunity and continue to challenge myself!

This is the time to embrace each day and to enjoy each new challenge!

My body is very different now. I have been “re-plumbed”….altered….

Now it is time to continue to strengthen….to exercise and become stronger. To show that all the struggle…the pain…leads to a new beginning. To the opportunity of a life that has no limits!

At least no limit as long as one has necessary supplies on hand! LOL

Our Families

As a Mom (or Dad), we put our family first! Our kids…our spouses are the most important. We do all we can to make their lives the best we possibly can. We push ourselves…we put our families first…

We do this without thought for ourselves. We push ourselves…

We witnessed firsthand our parents and grandparents efforts. We saw that they gave…..they gave of themselves. We witnessed firsthand their struggle….even if they tried to hide it from us.

I know my parents did their best to hide the financial struggle from us (meaning us kids)….I know that I was too acutely aware as to their predicament…

I want only the best for our son….just as my parents wanted for me. I want only the best for our son….just as my hubby wants…just as his parents want.

We work hard to provide….to provide better opportunities…

I know that I based initial life decisions on my concern of my parents financial needs (knowing there were other siblings)….I hope that I can encourage our son to make the decisions he will need to make irregardless of our financial state.


It is a phrase….
A man-made restriction….or limitation.

It is best expressed as
Those hugs and kisses
Shared with your kids
Shared with your hubby/spouse/significant other.

Our shared experiences….
Actual shared activities….
Board games, cards….
Or outside activities…
Walking, hiking, fishing, shooting….

It is limited.
It only lasts as long
As we can draw a breath.

The lesson for each of us…
It is limited….
We do not know how much we are allotted…..

Maximize each opportunity….
Embrace every hug….
Enjoy every smile….
Take advantage of all the kisses and hugs!

We are blessed with one life….
One opportunity….
To enjoy as much time as possible……
With our loved ones around us.

The length we know naught….
It is relative….
Focus on the quality….
Truly being present in each and every moment.

That is the true lesson!

Never lose sight of the quality….
The true fully involved time…..

When gifted the opportunity with our kids….our loved ones….
Give the most of ourselves…..
With no thought….

Then we are freed to….

Let us vow to embrace….
And to give as much of ourselves
As possible….
During the time
That we are allowed by our Creator.

Pelvic Floor Syndrome

This is the “catch all” for a lot of syndromes that modern medicine does not yet have an answer for…..does not yet understand. My extreme spastic sphincter was tossed into this diagnosis. As my specialist said, “we just do not understand….we do not know enough about this extreme reaction that your body had…..we have nothing to compare it against……maybe one day”.

My hope is that one day all this will lead to better education….better understanding so that others will not have to go through all the extremes that I have experienced.

I know that my specialists were able to take my case and apply it in some sense to other cases to help provide relief to others.

This description is like life….”life” is a broad term….it encompasses all….everything around us. It is a broad definition that is not completely fine tuned. Each of us will have our own unique definition or description for it.

My “pelvic floor syndrome” definition included rectal prolapse, spastic sphincter, spastic colon…..and now IBS.

Pizza Night

I had decided to pick up a pizza tonight for my husband and son (taking advantage of the $10 pizza special through Papa Murphy’s). I can order so that 1/2 does not have cheese (since our son is lactose intolerant). I just bring home and sprinkle his cheese on top of his portion (the almond cheese that he likes or Sharp Cheddar).

Tonight though, I thought I would also try a Low FODMAP pizza for me! I stopped at the market to pick up some thin sliced ham that I could use. Once home, I got their pizza in the oven, then pulled out a boxed Chebe basic bread mix. Used that bread mix as my pizza crust. Rolled it out…..made a tomato “sauce” from a basic tomato paste I can use (seasoned with basil, oregano, pepper, sea salt, and a touch of sugar)…..added the ham and pineapple….sprinkled with Sharp Cheddar cheese and baked it at 400 degrees! YUMMM!!!!!

I will change my recipe a touch…..I will bake the bread for about 10 minutes…then add the sauce and toppings……put back in the oven to melt/brown the cheese. This will make it a bit more crispy.

Overall….YEAH! So cool to enjoy pizza night with my guys!!!!!

Living with a Permanent Colostomy

Just shy of three years since my colostomy (repair of rectal prolapse, pelvic mesh repair and hysterectomy) and almost two years since making it permanent (removal of rectum). One year ago the removal of ovaries and Fallopian tubes.

One year of no surgeries! One year of learning to adapt the LowFODMAP diet to help control the last of my gut challenges. All is going well!

As I have posted, I was able to enjoy a vacation with my husband and son. A wonderful road trip that lasted 8 days. We covered a lot of ground. Did a lot of hiking. Had our own snacks and are out.

So empowering! Life has improved so much for me since this procedure!

I find a lot of negative postings and thoughts in regards to ostomies. I know that I am not alone in saying it is not the end of the world. It is a beginning! It is the opportunity to regain one’s life.

I am enjoying life to the fullest! I am exercising, shooting a bow (my first ever), fishing, shooting guns, hiking, playing, swimming!!!!

It IS different. As you will see in postings with a stoma, you have no control over your “output”. It happens when it happens. You do adapt and learn the tell-tell signs of your body. For example….if the stoma is protruding you know that there will be output…..there is a bit of sensation in the gut area, so you know that there is some action.

It does take time to become accustomed to your new body. It took me almost a year before I showered without a bag/barrier. It was very scary at first! However, I now enjoy that time. It allows my body to breathe….to be cleansed with warm water. (I quickly learned to have a washcloth handy in case things started to “move”.)

I am so thankful for a supportive husband and son! They have been so helpful and nonjudgmental! Our son even came up with the name for my stoma sounds. (Yes….you still pass gas….and no….you have NO control.) We refer to them as tummy toots or as our son says “Mom’s Elk call”!

Believe me! Very embarrassing the first time in a grocery store line! Thankfully our son was with me. He just laughed and looked up with a big smile….”Mom, good elk call!” We both laughed.

Since then, I have learned that I can place my hand strategically to help muffle. I have learned to feel the nuances of my body….to understand when a movement (gas or otherwise) will occur. There are times I am caught off guard. It is going to happen. Embrace it with a smile!

I would never go back to the pain…the misery that I was dealing with. I am thankful that I have this “new” me. I am looking forward to running again! And I am looking forward to many years of hunting/fishing with my husband and son.

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