Sunday, July 16, 2017

Umbilical Hernia Repair - Day 5

Today has been a good day so far. I haven't taken any pain medicine and am only slightly feeling the affects. I do have to move slow and carefully lest I cause myself any issues. I would say that I am probably at 70% of normal capacity right now. I find that I am more aware of what I should and shouldn't do at this point because of the lack of pain medicine. I can more acutely feel what is going on and just how much any certain aspect will impact the incision.

Oh well...I still love my abdominal band. It really does make the entire process easier. It acts in a very similar fashion to the pain medicine and helps alleviate some of the pain, etc.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Umbilical Hernia Repair - Day 2

I forgot just how difficult certain things were after surgery. I remember having issues, but some things do get blurred with time. From the major cuts in my abdomen to the after-affects of the anesthesia to the side-affects of the pain meds, I am getting reminded rather quickly. The biggest issue is using the toilet. Not so much peeing, but pooping is more of a hassle. Not only do I have to factor in my Crohn's, but I also have to utilize obscure methods of force since I cannot fully use my core and I had to get my bowels moving again due to the anesthesia.

You read that last sentence properly, get my bowels moving again. Many people don't realize this, but anesthetics put your who body to sleep. Everything is shut down. And the last thing to restart after you wake up from the medically induced coma is your bowels. What that means is that you probably should save that 10 course meal for a few days since any food you do eat will be moving rather slow at the moment. Your best bet is to keep it small and soft. In addition to that, I find that drinking a lot of liquids helps me at this point since it will reduce the need for too much interaction from my core. My green juice helps in this respect a lot. Another thing I like to do is to take 2 cups of water and mix in 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar and 1/4 teaspoon of REAL brand salt. With as much water as I drink at this point, the water-electrolyte mixture is helpful in making certain I don't ruin the electrolyte balance in my body while replenishing needed minerals and potassium.

The electrolyte solution is also helpful because of the side-affects of the pain medicine. If you are having a similar operation, chances are Hydrocodone or something similar will be given to you. You will take it, and if you don't at first, you will learn you should. It is just better to take it and slowly wean yourself off of it. For day one I was taking it every 4 hours until bed. I didn't take again for 12 hours and then I was taking every 8 hours. I can feel it, but the pain is manageable. I have lots of experience with this sort of pain; chances are if you have never dealt with something like this before you will be completely taken off-guard by how much pain you feel. The wonky feelings and suppression of pain aside, you will also notice that your bowels become a tad more difficult to budge. Yeah, that salt water solution I drink two to three times a day coupled with my green juice and soft food really makes my life easier.

Even with all of the precautions I put in place, my abdomen not only feels swollen but it also feels bloated. If you think I am being redundant, I am not. Think of it as having one person pushing on the inside and another person pushing on the outside directly at the point of incision -- yup, take those pain meds. I don't think the anesthesia fully wore off until about 18 hours after the surgery. At that point, the "relief" was much appreciated. As I remove the pain meds from my diet, I find that the last hurdle for me is the actual incision. So far, that means sucking in my gut, holding my belly at that position with both hands or with a pillow, and then allowing myself to do what comes naturally.

So far so good...and did I mention the abdominal wrap yesterday? I think I did. I love this thing. It makes me look like a dog that is being trained not to mark the curtains, but I don't care. It makes life so much more bearable. Where was this thing when I had the other surgeries?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Umbilical Hernia Repair - Day 1

I thought that with the repair of my inguinal hernia over a decade ago that I would never have to go through another one of these surgeries. I was wrong. After working out one day in June 2017, I looked at my belly and saw that my belly button had turned a deep red color. I took this as a sign that I should go to my doctor and make certain that there were no issues. I noticed over the past few years that my "innie" had turned into more of an "outie," but this fact didn't really have an impact on me; I assumed it just happened since I was letting my belly grow. 

After meeting with my doctor, I found that I had an umbilical hernia. She said that it was minor -- very small -- but that it could, and most likely would, turn into something more drastic and painful unless I had it dealt with. She referred me to a surgeon. So far, I had learned that the change in appearance of my belly button was a sign and that the fact that my belly button changed color was a second sign. I made an appointment with the surgeon.

I am no stranger to surgery. If my mind and body were two separate entities that just happened to coincided at the same point in space and time at the same time, then I would say my body is a masochist due to all of the surgeries my mind has had to endure. I have had an inguinal hernia repaired. I have had an intestinal resection. I was fairly certain I could fathom what to expect because of this, but figured I would listen to the surgeon and ask my questions. 

Due to my Crohn's, I have become very "aware" of my body -- for the most part. I have seen a lot of doctors and I can truthfully say that they are always surprised at how matter-of-fact and up-front I am in addition to the knowledge I bring to the situation. My surgeon was not an exception to this particular trend. I found it easier to explain what I learned from my intestinal resection (what to do and what not to do) and then ask if there was any thing else that I had missed. He had nothing to add and told me that as long as I followed what I did before I should be fine. 

I learned that he would be cutting a slit in my belly button about 1 inch to 2 inches in length, potentially installing a piece of mesh, and then closing me up. I questioned if it would be laparoscopic surgery since I was always hearing about this type of surgery in instances where small cuts were made. He looked and me and said no. I learned that it would require more cuts in my skin to do that (3-4 cuts) and I was just fine with indulging my bodies masochistic tendencies and stopping at one incision versus more.

After the doctor left the room, I knew that this surgery could not be as bad as the resection since he was only cutting through the skin and not layers of muscle and organ. That being said, though, I knew I was going to have pain and made certain to get a prescription for pain medicine while I set up my appointment for surgery. 

Fast forward two weeks and it is the day of my umbilical hernia repair. As with anything else in the medical world, we are made to starve ourselves for at least 8 hours before any medical procedure can occur -- no eating or drinking past midnight. Luckily, I am used to not eating until 2pm in the afternoon since I only eat between 2pm and 10pm (I will write about this later) making the noon surgery start a non-starter.

It is always somewhat perplexing to figure out what form of stupidity and malice medical professionals must experience with the ways they act and the questions they ask. I was asked my full name by every single person that came to help with the surgery at least three times as well as my date of birth. What could have happened in the past that now requires these professionals to now make EXTRA certain I am the person? And then there is my allergy to tape adhesive. Amazing, right? All of those new pieces of tape and clear, sticky pads that make the nurses and doctors life easier? Can't be used with me. Hello paper tape, you make my life so difficult but you are the only thing they can use to attach anything and everything. Paper tape does NOT stay on very well.

After getting all dressed for the occasion with my gown, booties, hairnet, IV, etc., the last nurse I remember came to get me and give me antibiotics. The asshole pushed the sludge in to the IV in way that was just wrong. I could feel the pressure and then the burning. I told him that I could feel the pressure and I told him that it was burning when he started. As a note, those are signs for the nurse to press the plunger SLOWER -- not ram it in like he did. This was really the only bad experience I remember having during the entire time at the surgery center. It made me very nauseous, thankfully it was very cold in the room allowing me to breathe it away. It was amusing that the anesthesiologist put an alcohol swab in front of my nose. I must be an anomaly, but the smell of rubbing alcohol makes me want to puke instantaneously. I saw it coming and stopped breathing until he removed it. I told him the cold air did better for me and thanked him for his thought -- even if misguided.

It was at that point they started to inject the anesthetic. Remembering the nurse earlier, I made certain to ask them to go extra slow when putting it in since the pain  in my hand from the IV was just beginning to subside. I felt the wave of sleep hit me and I didn't fight it. I was ready to sleep.

I woke up 90 minutes later as the nurse woke me. Par for course, I did not want to wake up. They put a band around my waist to help the repair -- you really want one of these if possible -- and then I got dressed and zombied my way to the waiting area where I met with the doctor one last time and left with my ride. 

When I got home, the first thing I did was take one of the pain pills. It wasn't because it hurt. It didn't hurt. There was soreness that I could feel, but it didn't hurt. I took the pain pill because I didn't want it to hurt; the first 48 to 72 hours is going to hurt if you don't take the pain meds. I have learned to just take it and then see how I feel afterward. After that, I found that I needed to lay down and passed out for 3 more hours of non-productive sleep. 

This is the first time I am using one of these bands that wrap around my midsection. I must say that I really like it. In the past, I have always had to use a pillow to hold my midsection when doing anything that engaged my core. The band helps A LOT. I have already taken three of my pills (one every 4 hours) and am ready for bed. I learned years ago, that getting up and down after one of these surgeries is an art form. Sitting down or standing up requires your back to remain straight the entire time, a lot like doing a squat without weights. Laying down and getting back up is another matter. You need to use your abdomen no matter what, so I learned to use my sides. Rather than lay back I will lay to the side and use my arms to go down and. When getting up, I roll to one side and use the opposing arm to lift me up and then the arm I was laying on to push me up the rest of the way. 

We shall see how this pans out.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Out of Steam...?

I haven't gone running in six weeks.

Six weeks.

I really want to start up again, but the lingering affects of the vertigo are really kicking me in the butt. I have slowly been able to build up my speed and distance over the past few years. I currently max out at 3.33 miles, but considering I could barely run .25 miles when I started I am not complaining. I did learn to place a public restroom at around the one mile mark lest I mess my shorts during the run.

On a more positive note, I have been able to restart my workouts at a much slower pace than before.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

"6 Shots of Espresso is NOT a lot of coffee!" or "How I Gave Up Caffeine - Part 2"

Around 2008, life changed again as work took on a life of its own. I was so busy. So busy that I wasn't getting sleep and I needed to stay awake. I had been doing rather well with my 2pm cut-off for caffeine, but that can only last so long before an artificial lack of sleep causes one to look for methods to fill the gap. It was at this point that I learned that I could add shots of espresso to my coffee. I also learned that I could order shots of espresso alone as a drink. So I did what any good consumer, workaholic would do and started to add shots to my coffee in the morning. I also started drinking cortaditos throughout the day. A cortadito is an espresso shot in Miami for those that have not visited this little country at the tip of Florida.

Like most drugs, my body would start to tolerate the current level of caffeine and I would up the dosage. This continued for a little more than a year. At my height, I would drink 12oz of coffee with 3 shots of espresso in the morning. Another of the same in the afternoon. And then 1-3 random shots of espresso through the day. People in Miami have little diners everywhere selling cortaditos and so they are VERY easy to come by. One morning I looked in the mirror and saw a sullen face. I was so tired. I had hit a plateau and I could no longer substitute caffeine for sleep. I was taking in so much caffeine, and it had never occurred to me that there would be a point where it would no longer work. The decision to remove a big chunk of caffeine from my diet came at this point; the decision was helped along by my stomach and frayed nerves.

I gave up all caffeine cold-turkey. Bad, big mistake that no one should EVER make. The next day I was hit with an exhaustion I have never known in addition to a splitting migraine. It didn't matter how much will power I had, I was not going to make it through this going cold-turkey. I decided to be a tad more realistic and decided to wean myself from caffeine in a slow manner. I decided on a plan of action:
1. No more lone shots of espresso.
2. Reduce my afternoon shots to zero
3. Remove all caffeine after 2pm (again).
4. Reduce my morning shots to zero
5. After allowing my body to equalize, remove the morning coffee and any remaining caffeine.

I just went slowly removing the caffeine, bit by bit. Always making certain that the transition was minimal. I knew that it wasn't going to be easy to break the habit, but I had no idea that it would take me three years to get to step 5. Let me repeat that: Three years to get to the point where I was only drinking a small cup of coffee in the morning and nothing else. The amount of pull caffeine has on the body is amazing. And then to feel the yearning for caffeine for three months after removing it entirely from my diet; it makes me wonder how such an addictive substance can be legal.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Round n' round n' round you go...

Today was an abysmal day for me. I felt it coming last night, but I was not expecting to be hit as hard as I was. When I woke in the morning, I was hit with vertigo. I learned the hard way that I was fully immersed in vertigo when I got out of bed and immediately fell to my left and to the floor. For those unaware, vertigo is chronic dizziness. When experiencing vertigo, your body loses sense of which way is "UP." As I settled in for my slow-motion adventure of the day, I was able to pin-point that my body thought that "LEFT" was "UP."

For someone that has never experienced prolonged dizziness and vertigo, it can be a bit difficult to understand. To better understand the feelings and sensations, try holding yourself on a rope at different angles. At each of these angles, you will notice a weird feeling as your body tries to tell you to correct yourself. Hold yourself so that the left side of your body is pointing toward the sky; that is how I am feeling right now, except that no matter which way I turn or lay down my body still thinks that the left side of my body is in the up position. This obviously causes me great anguish and limits my mobility. I cannot walk without assistance and I find that I must prop myself so that I don't fall to the left.

I have been experiencing vertigo since I was young and have been unable to pin point the cause. I can only assume my recent trips coupled with an inability to sleep and early 5am rise on Monday contributed to my current predicament. I would really love to hear if others have had to deal with vertigo, how they have managed, and if anyone has found a cause for it. I know that I do not have peripheral vertigo, which is caused by the ears. I can hold my neck and back of head and alleviate the vertigo, which leads me to believe I experience central vertigo.


Monday, April 14, 2014

"PLEASE LET ME SLEEP" or "How I Gave Up Caffeine - Part 1"

It has now been two years since I gave up caffeine. I'd be lying if I said that I haven't had any caffeine in the past two years. Every now and then, I do have a small 6oz cup of black tea. I think I have had three cups like this in the past year. I am truly amazed at how such a small portion of black tea can make me feel so energized. Three years ago, it used to take me drinking an 8oz cup of coffee with three shots to feel as much of an effect as I feel now with just the small cup of black tea. This realization is what keeps me away from almost all things laden with caffeine. Not going to lie, there are some days that I feel so dog-tired and contemplate getting a cup of coffee in the morning. On those days, I push through it with yoga, jogging, working out, getting in the pool or something else to get my blood going. 

I look back on myself in 1997 and remember all of the foods and beverages that I ate and drank. The amount of caffeine that I ingested was staggering. I would continuously drink Coca Cola, coffee, tea, and other caffeinated soft drinks throughout the day in a non-ending stream. It didn't matter that the foods were laced with caffeine. I just "enjoyed" the flavor and kept on taking these foods into my body. As much as I took in, I was always tired and I always wanted to sleep throughout the day. When it actually came time to go to bed, it was so very difficult to go to bed. As tired as I was, I suffered from insomnia.

I started reading about what I could do to help with this situation. There are a lot of interesting postulations, theories, hypotheses, and opinions out there. Of everything I read and learned, the one item that resonated with me the most was stopping caffeine after 2pm. There were many people that wrote about how this self-imposed rule helped them sleep better.

I tried and I failed. With high school and then college, I needed the "energy" to get me through. Had I known what I know now I might have kept with the reduction. It wasn't until 2005 that I actually made myself follow the rule. It was very difficult to only drink non-caffeinated beverages after 2pm. Caffeine was in everything and was hawked without a second thought. I eventually managed to keep myself to this rule and eventually found that I did sleep better. At this stage in my life, I had been giving myself B12 injections for 3 years; I think that this gave me real energy that allowed me to break through part of the caffeine chains.

I would not break this rule for several years.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

FDA Approved!

Everyone in the USA has heard of the FDA. For those that haven't heard of it, it is a federal agency better known as the Food and Drug Association. Like most other governmental agencies, the FDA is populated by a large number of people from myriad backgrounds. At its inception, I can believe that this agency was focused on helping and advocating for the general populace. I can believe that in its time this agency has done a lot to set standards that have improved the health and eating habits of many. Unfortunately, I can see what worked, even a few decades ago, is not viable in our current world.

Big corporations have learned how to purchase their own rules while also lobbying for legislature to create loopholes. I am not anticapitalist, but I am in favor of full disclosure of any information pertaining to the food I eat. When I read about GMO's, time-bomb foods, addictive additives, nutrient stripping, it does give me pause. All of those cheap foods are created using methods that make them empty. Yes, they are cheap by themselves, but one must still purchase all of the singular nutrients that were stripped out of the foods during processing. Are those foods really cheaper when you have to purchase all of the components separately?

The minimum standards set forth previously, while good as a stepping stone, have become a benchmark for measuring health. The minimum standards were set as a means to measure for everyone to know what was necessary to just get by in life. These standards are far below what is necessary for most people to live well or even to thrive or be active. That's right, there are minimum standards and then there are healthy standards. Unfortunately, healthy -- or maximum -- standards are not so easily quantified and we, as a society, are lazy.

Everything is based on calories and singular components. Why are we so focused on calories? We are starving ourselves of nutrients by worrying about the number of calories we eat. This calorie counting is only exacerbated by the fact that our foods have been processed down to the singular components listed as necessary by the FDA and then laden with sugar, salt, and artificial fat devoid of any nutritional content just to make those foods palatable.

I think about these points and realize that FDA approval no longer means, "Safe for consumption." Instead it means "According to these corporate sponsored studies, we are assuming this untested food is safe." I read about ingredients that are banned in other countries across the globe. I read about these same ingredients require warning labels in California. How can something be considered toxic in England or California but be safe according to the FDA. I despise over-legislation and rules for the sake of rules; but something tells me that the FDA is not going away any time soon. It would be wonderful if big business was removed from the equation. Let them pay for the studies by putting money into a lump account that funds all studies for the FDA, this way it becomes a true double blind study.

The more I read and learn, the more I just want to live on a farm and grow my own food.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Where I am...

Hello everyone and Happy New Year. I am still here and still chugging along. I wish I had more time to write, but life intervenes. I am just writing to let you know that I am still here. I have had some ups and some downs over the past year. I learned that quinoa is the grain of death in November, but on the upside I have increased my running distance from 1/10 of a mile to 3 miles (5k) over the course of the year. As I have time, I will upload additional postings. I am hoping there will be more posts in 2014 than there were in 2013.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Full of Shit

I have Crohn's Disease. I have been in remission since 2005, so this past month has been a bit of a hassle for me. I am used to having diarrhea for many days at a time. I expect diarrhea whenever I have a stress-flare or a flu-flare. So when I go to the doctor to figure why my Crohn's is acting up and the doctor tells me it isn't my Crohn's, I am both happy and apprehensive at the same time.

I am very happy that my Crohn's is not flaring. I still have it under control and can keep it under control -- mostly -- with my diet and lifestyle choices. I was quite worried that I would have to reassess the foods I eat to see what had changed into contraband. A big weight has been lifted knowing that I need not do this for my Crohn's.

I am quite apprehensive due to the fact that the doctor told me I was "very constipated." You read that right, "VERY constipated." Both my ascending and descending colon were overfilled and not moving. These two sections of the colon are not normally the same size, but in my X-rays they looked fairly even in size. The doctor went on to give me advise to deal with this condition in the future:
1. You should exercise. Just walking will help with this condition.
2. Be certain to eat more fiber. You need fiber in your diet.
3. Drink more water. You should stay away from soft-drinks, etc.

I can only guess that these three tidbits of advise work on everyone else that comes in (when they have never experienced constipation previously.) I had some news for her, though:
1. I jog 4-8 miles a week while also walking and biking on days I don't go jogging. I have a home gym that I use 4-5 times a week.
2. I eat fresh veggies and juice daily. I get fiber. I stay away from most grains and complex sugars.
3. I only drink water. I drink water to the point that I must pee at least once every one to two hours

The doctor looked at me not knowing what to say to my confessions. Seeing her unease, as I was not a normal patient, I proceeded to ask the doctor what other factors could influence or induce my body into such a state. I then started to ask my questions:
1. What sort of impact does caffeine have on the intestine?
2. How does stress contribute to constipation?
3. Is vertigo a precursor or sign?

The doctor told me that stress could cause the issue, but that stress could be a catalyst in just about any situation given the convergence of several necessary components. She then went on to state that while vertigo isn't a direct cause, it is a symptom of possible dehydration. I told her I had experienced slight vertigo the previous two days. I can only assume that the excessive heat at this time of year caused me additional fluid loss.

I then revisited my caffeine question. The doctor took a moment to weigh the question against potential answers and then told me that caffeine usually has one of two affects on people: it can cause drying up of the colon and it can cause an increase of liquid in the colon, both with varying degrees based on the persons body.

I must postulate at this point that there must be a connection between my caffeine abstinence and the recent onset of this new way my body is working. When I was drinking coffee and other caffeinated drinks on a daily basis, I never had any issues going. In fact, within 6 months of removing caffeine I noticed that loose stool became almost non-existent for me. And I thought this was a good thing.

I am left in the quandary of whether I want to worry about potential impaction or whether I want to return to dealing with allergies. I will see if I can deal without both.

August in Hell

My body has changed. Something is going on and I don't know what. I haven't been in the dark concerning my health and body for over a decade. I have been thinking that I have been dealing with stress-flares and flu-flares, but I am really beginning to doubt that. It feels as though I am stopped up. My belly is bulging and it feels like I am going to burst at the seams.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


I have come across the term "antinutrient" quite a bit recently. I remember laughing the first time I saw this word because I really couldn't understand what it meant. As I have read more, I have understood more of the meaning and the application of "antinutrient." There are two concepts surrounding this term that are important as pertains to my Crohn's and I thought I would share.

Our bodies need vitamins and minerals in order to function properly. We eat foods in an attempt to get to these essential components into our system. What most people do not realize, myself included, is that foods we eat can actually remove nutrients from our body. If a particular food mist have iron and Vitamin C in order to be properly processed, then when you eat that food your body WILL have those nutrients to process the food. It will either get the nutrients from the rest of the meal you are eating, the first place your body looks, or it will go to the next available source, itself.

The human body tries to act like a nutrient bank so that we don't have to worry so much about balancing every minute iota of food we consume. Whenever there are excess nutrients, they are stored in different parts of the body for future usage and emergencies. What the body never factored in was that it would only ever receive foods that were lacking in a large number of nutrients needed for processing. The continual consuming of antinutrients has made many of our bodies nutritionally bankrupt.

How can we expect our bodies to work properly if we are only eating antinutrients? Foods that are processed, homogenized, and overly pasteurized become antinutrients. Commercially farmed produce and commercially raised protein are on the precipice. Artificial components are the worst.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Month to Die For

I've been a fairly bad boy this past month. I cheated and ate things I haven't eaten in years. So many people have asked, "...but a little bit of this wouldn't hurt, would it?" recently that I felt compelled to actually test it out. I'd be lying if I said this was entirely altruistic. While I was apprehensive, I was more excited to break this fast than worried.

I did set some ground rules for myself so that I did not put myself in the hospital, I.e. at most, only one meal per day for cheating. I really wanted to see for myself just how much one cheat would affect my Crohn's and my overall health. I am not going to detail every poor decision I made. What I will say is that every small item I ate during an otherwise legal day usually had a noticeable effect on my body.

My biggest cheats were cupcakes and dinner at an Italian Restaurant. I haven't eaten cupcakes in years. I found this little cupcakery and tried one and then another and another. I gorged myself on more than six cupcakes before I stopped myself. I experienced such a decadent sugar rush from the sweets. Within the hour I was experiencing the after effects. As much as I loved the flavors of the cupcakes, I doubt I would make them a habit.

I don't eat at many Italian restaurants due to the preponderance of noodles and breading in most of them. I decided to wave all inhibitions away and had a traditional Italian-American meal on a Thursday night. I had chicken noodle soup, fried mozzarella, garlic bread, baked penne in a tomato-cheese sauce, and hazelnut cookies. Again, things that I haven't had in such a long time. It was amazing just how much I enjoyed the flavor. I didn't feel wonderful the next few days, but I figured that proved I should stay away in the long run. On the following Monday I was in such pain that I couldn't eat the entire day. It took two days for me to recover.

Two weeks later we returned to that Italian restaurant and I ate the same things. This time it was on a Friday. Lo and behold, the same thing happened with my health. I have never experienced a delayed secondary response like this before, but the fact that the same thing happened both times only proved in my mind that pasta, bread, processed cheeses, and sweets are anathema to me. This experience also showed me that there can be multi-tiered and delayed responses with the secondary responses being much worse than the primary.

All of my experiences during this past month only helped to solidify in my mind that diet truly is important to making certain that my life doesn't spin out of control. I can also answer the question, "...but will just a little bit affect me?" Without a doubt, that answer is, "Yes!"

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I have been so busy the past month. I haven't had time for very much and I am craving a small break at this point. I haven't really had time to change or experiment with my diet. The last thing I want to do is cause a flare up during a particularly stressful time. I have been training a lot of people at work and 4 of them are starting to show potential, maybe I will have some time to write again soon.

Friday, August 17, 2012


I am now fully decaffeinated. I'd be lying if I said it was easy or a cake-walk to go cold turkey. I have been fighting through my lack of energy and the craving I have for coffee and tea. It doesn't help that I actually enjoy the flavor of black coffee and tea. According to several books, it takes at least three weeks for your body to expel all caffeine from your system and to reattenuate to a normal hormonal regimen.

At the four week mark, I can say that I am finally starting to feel my energy return. I am starting my workouts again and am surprised at how alert I am at the end of the day without any caffeine. In the mornings, I no longer have that shadow of sluggishness. The only time that I feel the day beating on me is around lunch time, and I still feel compelled to get some tea. I will let my body adjust to this new equilibrium, though.

I can see people scowling as I talk about my self-immolation. Why would I do such a thing? Why would I put myself through this hell when I have so many other health issue to attend to? It is because of my other issues that I am doing this. My breathing is better. My allergies don't feel as bad. And I don't like prednisone. Caffeine stimulates your body in a very similar way to prednisone and causes many of the same issues. That was my biggest motivator.

I won't go into nuance, but I do know that the differences in my body and attitude are already perceptible. I will continue on this path and build my energy reserves back to their previous heights.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Chronically Malnourished

Our food sustains our bodies. If our bodies cannot process that food, then we become malnourished, get sick and waste away. This series of thoughts is very prevalent in IBD. Everyone "knows" that in the past my Crohn's has kept me from absorbing nutrients thus causing a downward spiral into flare-ups and pain. I am at a point that I am questioning this paradigm. I am asking myself, "What if the entire reason I have Crohn's Disease is because of the fact that I have been chronically malnourished my entire life?"

In the past century, our foods have become processed more and more. Everything is overcooked, extruded, or stripped down to a singular defined purpose. Our original foods were synergistic containing many natural nutrients that worked together in our bodies well. When we destroy most of the nutritional merit of our food through processing, it means we must eat that much more just to get a base minimum in order to survive. Couple this with the added artificial vitamins and minerals that our bodies cannot process as well as their natural counterparts, and we have an issue.

I remember growing up and always having soda, sugar, and other boxed confections continually throughout a given day. Eating this way for so long, and being told by the governing bodies that it is okay, would have depleted so much of my bodies resources and capacity.

I am going to see what happens. My body is a bank for vitamins, minerals, and energy and I currently have little to no savings.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Entities that evolve are able to move forward while those that stay the same eventually die-out. There must always be some form of evolution in how we live our lives, otherwise we aren't really living our lives. I am always reading, always learning, always testing my boundaries. My evolution through time has very little room for absolutes. In reality, there are very few absolutes that stand the test of time. When I read Breaking the Vicious Cycle, the one thing that always disturbed me about Elaine's arguments was the finality of it all. It was all so perfect and absolute. I was already so close to Specific Carbohydrate perfection, that I decided to use the diet as a stepping stone to allow me to do more research without having to worry about whether or not I was going to set-off a Crohn's flare.

Over a year later, I am still doing rather well with my health. The diet I have followed has been a beginners step allowing me to do much research into many different methods of food preparation and into myriad different types of food. I am at the point where I think I need to put theory into practice to see what my body tells me. I am hoping that my research into probiotics, fermentation, phytic acid, organic foods, enzymes, caffeine, etc. will help me take a step beyond. I am not afraid of failure, though. The worst that could happen is that I go back to a strict Specific Carbohydrate Diet. 

Don't misunderstand my intent, either. I am not going to be going back to sugars, potatoes, and breads. Those foods are addictive drugs on their own. I decided that my full decaffeination would be that transition point. As of today, I am fully free of caffeine. I haven't had anything with caffeine for three weeks. Let's see where this goes.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hospital Sleep

It's been so long since I have been in the hospital, that I forgot just how little a patient gets. One of the biggest contributors to any recovery is ample rest and especially sleep. You would think that doctors and nurses would know this and so let people sleep. Instead, patients are poked and prodded throughout the night as a means to supplement the very uncomfortable bed and the noisy, belligerent roommate that wants attention from everyone. I wasn't even the one spending the full night in the hospital this time, and I was drained.

I would hope that at some point, the establishment would realize that they would do better to let us sleep through the night when we are interred so that we might get better faster. Then again, if we recuperated at a faster speed, the hospitals wouldn't be able to charge our insurance like they do.

Monday, August 6, 2012


I love Pedialyte and I extol the benefits of drinking it to just about anyone around me. It is a very delicate electrolyte solution that also replaces zinc lost when we have diarrhea. It is made for babies, so it is still a little harsh on our sensitive systems. I always have two bottles in my home at any given time for an emergency situation. If I am fasting, I will use Pedialyte to help maintain balance. If I find that I have eaten something inappropriate and need to let it pass through my system, I can always rely on Pedialyte to help keep me going when I cannot eat anything else. I am fan.

Last week, I found myself purchasing Pedialyte again since I had caught a bug and was having extensive diarrhea. In the past I have always purchased the original, clear version of the drink; but there was another that was partaking and so he asked that I get one of the flavored bottles. Having only ever drank the clear I had only ever checked the label on the clear. As I was purchasing the fruit flavored variety, I decided to check out the label. I was amazed to find that it had sucralose in it. On a following trip to get more Pedialyte I checked all of the flavored varieties and found that they all have sucralose. I was amazed that such a noxious anti-sugar was incorporated into something that is purportedly made for babies.

In case you have missed my feelings concerning fake sugars: I hate them. They cause so many issues with my system that I stay away from them no matter what. Why would anyone want to use a fake sugar that was originally intended to be an insecticide? Regardless, I still find the clear Pedialyte to be a great help in staving off dehydration and keeping me on the side of the living.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Dehydration is a looming issue for anyone with Crohn's Disease and is a very dangerous thing. This past week, I was able to see first hand what can happen when someone is dehydrated. Dehydration follows a very linear path as someone loses the water and electrolytes in their body to different bodily functions while neglecting to replenish them at a commensurate rate. That means that you not only have to replenish the water expelled, but the sodium and potassium salts that are lost during urination, sweating, and breathing. This is very important to acknowledge for anyone with any form of IBD due to the excessive amounts of diarrhea we experience.

We lose a lot of water. We lose a lot of salts. We lose a lot minerals, especially zinc, when we have diarrhea. If you are just drinking water rather than electrolyte solutions, that fatigue you are experiencing is the first sign of dehydration. If nothing is done to remedy the dehydration, then you will eventually be unable to get out of bed and lose your mental faculties. I saw all of this occur first-hand. If you find that your mouth is dry, it is really hot out, or that you have even mild diarrhea, make certain that you are drinking a pediatric electrolyte solution. Don't drink the flavored varieties, just the clear ones.