Embracing life with chronic pain and illnesses.

Archive for November, 2014

Holiday — Joy and Frustration

The Holiday’s….a time to enjoy time with family and friends…..which includes gathering for meals. Don’t get me wrong….these gatherings are so important! Precious time shared…especially with our kids…..spending time with extended family that we have the opportunity to see very often.

This Thanksgiving I thought I had prepared things well. We had advised family that I would supply some additional food to supplement the traditional meal that was being prepared.

Upon our arrival, food preparation was well under way. We added our goodies…..tamale pie, seasoned potatoes/carrots, and pumpkin custard (adjusted for my modified, Colostomy friendly, Low FODMAPs diet requirements).

My mistake! I should have had a snack! With my “mini-meals”, I was off-track. I had hoped the timing of a late breakfast would allow me to delay so that I could eat at the same time as everyone else. Did not work out that way!

I ended up with the shakes and could feel the knot in my stomach! Yikes! I had to get a portion of the food I had brought. The frustration for me was from comment made about “well…your not going to eat what we are preparing”.

That cut! As anyone on a restricted diet understands, our diet is not an “option”…..it is a life change that we had to make in order to be healthy….in order to be able to participate in life’s adventures with our family and friends.

Our diet can make us the “outsider”……by bringing our own dishes…..it can at least attempt to bridge a gap….to let us feel that we are participating in some way.

Believe me…..it is hard to not join in! To not just simply think, ok….just a couple of bites won’t hurt! Yet…..in my case, I know it can (and has)! So I have chosen to not chance it! It is simply not worth it.

Awesome Morning

We went out early again to hunt elk. We spotted them at the top of a ridge line. After watching them for a while, we had an idea of where they would go.

Once again, we headed down a hill and headed up another hill…..working our way to a small clearing where we hoped they would come to….that they would use this as their way to head back up to the tall timber.

We nestled ourselves among the trees and listened. We were waiting to hear the breaking of branches….the movement of the reprod as the herd would make its way down the hillside.

After about 30 or so minutes, we heard it! A snap followed by movement. Two deer broke out of the reprod in front of us….we looked up to see the back of the first elk working its way down.

Then the small clearing came to life! Within 40 yards of us were 30 cow elk and 3 small spike bull elk! Wow!

My husband did a cow call. They stopped and looked around. It was awesome! So many elk….so close!

After a brief pause, they continued their next climb….disappearing into more reprod to work their way to the tall timber.

We were so excited! Our son’s first comment was “we should have gotten that on video”!

Yes! Excitement and high fives! What an awesome way to start a day. To be able to share such a fantastic experience together as a family!

Our son witnessed a valuable lesson today. The joy and beauty of the hunt is not always measured by filling a tag….it is the experiences like this that most others will never witness….and to be able to share this precious memory!

A Great Day

A great, yet tiring day! It was the first day of Second Season Elk. We were up early and to our location in plenty of time.

The wind was starting to whip around and the sky was darkening. We hiked and scoped several spots. My son and I headed out one ridge while my husband went back towards the truck to check another spot.

He signaled to us…..so we hustled to him. He spotted a herd of elk on the hillside. We raced down the draw and then started climbing the next ridge as quickly as we could. We knew we would be able to see the elk once we made that ridge.

With hoods drawn…..hunched and moving as quickly and quietly as possible, we moved into place to scope. The wind picked up, the rain and hail starting beating down.

It was an awesome sight! Small herd feeding and making its way to the tall timber. Unfortunately, the storm got them moving faster than the normal feeding pace. We saw a number of cows but no bulls.

As we turned to start the long trek back to the truck, soaked and fighting the wind, I couldn’t stop smiling! I had kept up!

I still have a long ways to go to get my physical strength back to where I’d like it. Yet today I was able to keep my husband within eyesight and a close distance. I was able to scamper down the hill and climb quickly. Yes….I was out of breath at the top of that second ridge!

So exciting to have this wonderful day with my guys! So awesome to feel good and to truly be getting my health and strength back.


After years of dealing with a number of health issues, I am now dealing with the remaining issue of IBS.

I have had a rectal prolapse, an colostomy, the removal of my anus and sigmoid colon……all to take care of the pain and internal issues. Once all these layers were taken care of, I still had some intestinal issues.

IBS was yet another underlying condition! As prior posts will show, I have been using the Low FODMAPS diet to help alleviate my IBS symptoms. It really has helped! The diet has taught me what my body is sensitive too. I have learned to adapt….to change up my cooking….to modify my food intake.

The one issue that is the hardest to control is stress. We can protect ourselves somewhat…..we can exercise……we can meditate…..we can use visualization…….yet….I have learned that sometimes that is not enough.

Perfect example is work. We can do all that we can…..and find ourselves in a situation where support staff hired is not capable of fulfilling the work required….or that support staff is truly not qualified to do the job. How to keep from internalizing the stress….the pressure that results? I am still struggling!

I am thankful for the peace that I have once I am home…for the time with my family and friends. The wonderful distraction of our son and his many activities! Each of these help me to relax!

Life with IBS is an intricate game. I have found it to be a combination of diet (read this as how my body interacts with food/allergens/etc) and stress (read this as things I can’t control).

The key pieces in this game have been the new diet and the time that I enjoy with my family.

Illness Has Taught Me

As I sit reflecting on the past years, I realize that illness has taught me a great deal!

Illness has taught me to live every moment, to embrace every opportunity, to enjoy those around me, to embrace my family/friends, to encourage, to appreciate, to see…..to really “see” all that is around me.

Illness tries to take from us……to make us focus on the pain….the stress…..the loss…..as if “it” is in power.

Even at our lowest points, we are in “control”…..we make the decision….we “control” our attitude…the way that we choose to embrace what we are enduring.

During my years of health struggle, I held closely the promise that God will not test us beyond what he knows we can handle. Believe me….there were many times that I cried out “Uncle”! I prayed and cried that I could take now more…….

Always though….strength was given…..strength to move forward…..to progress. To continue…..to shift focus to those around me.

I have had a wonderful year of health! I still have a lot to learn. My body is still teaching me…..

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