So, a few weeks ago, I posted my strategy for dealing with my still un-diagnosed stomach issues. I figured it was only fair that I check back in on the progress. Here we go…
- Be really good about keeping a food diary.
Meh. I haven’t been too good about this. I think maybe I need to do a bit more research on it because I don’t find it really useful when I eat a meal with 7 ingredients and then get sick. It’s too hard to tell what caused the problem, and it makes me scared of all the foods. I’ll do the research and get back to ya.
- Ease up on the restrictions so I don’t lose my mind, but monitor my intake of “trigger foods.”
See above. I’ve been eating more gluten, and there’s no obvious link to stomach issues. Still, I’m not ready to fully rule it out as a trigger. Maybe I’ll abstain for a few days then eat some gluten and see what happens. I’ve been really careful about lactose, spicy foods, and, unfortunately, chocolate. Again, it’s hard to tell if these things are really helping because some days are good and others are not.
- Stick to “safe foods” in a flare situation.
This has been a biggie for me. I’ve made a couple significant diet changes that have really seemed to help. I find I always have problems with my stomach in the morning and afternoon. I have this theory that it takes my stomach a long time to “wake up” so even though I’m hungry first thing in the morning, anything I eat before 10am makes me sick. Also, I feel like sitting all day at work really irritates my digestion.
Because starting my day at 10 and walking around all afternoon is not an option I’ve been sticking to really bland food before dinner. I eat low fiber cereal or toast with butter or avocado most mornings with the occasional egg when I have the time. Lunch used to always be a huge salad or something else veggie based because I love that, but it was wreaking havoc on my guts (gross, sorry) so I switched to simple sandwiches, wraps or leftover dinner (minus the veg). Basically, I eat another low fiber meal.
I felt kind of crummy about this because there’s not a whole lot of nutrients to be found in white foods, but I think I found a solution. I starting “juicing” (I say “juicing” because I don’t have a juicer so it’s really just blending to a fairly fine consistency) 2-3 cups of spinach or kale with pineapple and orange juice. It tastes great, and it seems to be a lot easier on my digestive system than straight up raw veggies. I try to drink one a day in order to keep getting those vitamins. I also load up on veggies at dinner time. It’s not a perfect system, but it does seem to help.
- Learn to manage my stress and anxiety effectively.
Meh. No huge progress in this area. There’s a lot going on these days with the house and the wedding. I’d love to start doing more yoga because I find that really effective. Yoga in a class setting is super relaxing for me. Yoga DVDs? Not so much. I just can’t get as into it, so I’m waiting until we get settled in our new town to find a new place to get my ohm on. Otherwise, I’ve been trying a few little things here and there. When I feel stress coming on, I do a “full body evaluation” and try to release any tension I’m holding on to (usually in my jaw, shoulders and stomach). I also try and practice my deep breathing every few days.
- Explore alternatives.
None so far. Again, I’m waiting to find an acupuncturist in our new locale. It didn’t make sense to me to try and find someone in Jersey City if I won’t be here much longer. I’m still totally on board with the idea though. I’m also taking 1-2 probiotics daily, and I can definitely notice a difference on days I forget to take any. Those expensive little pills are wonderful!
- Maintain a regular exercise schedule.
I’m doing great in this area! Since choosing not to do the half marathon, I’ve felt so much more enthusiastic about working out. I don’t worry as much about being too sore to do a long run or getting injured, so I’ve been running, lifting or biking pretty much every day. I do think it helps. At the very least, it makes me tired enough to get a good night’s sleep which is always good.
So that’s where we stand. Since the colonoscopy I’ve had more good days than bad, and I’m so thankful for that. I’m beginning to trust my body again, and it’s giving me enormous peace of mind. That being said, I’m still sick more often than I’d like, and it’s still discouraging. I’ll have a week of good days then find myself sidelined for a weekend. It doesn’t make sense, and it’s frustrating, but I’m forging ahead and hoping for the best.