Irritable Bowel Syndrome Is Irritating

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 10.07.33 AMToday I am sharing some information about living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). While it may be too much information for some, I am really just sharing in case anyone needs the information and for awareness.

I’ve had the symptoms of IBS most of my adult life I just didn’t know that what it was. My flare symptoms include gas, bloating, stomach pain in the left flank area, burping, hiccups, acid reflux, alternating constipation and diarrhea, sweating, fatigue, stuffy nose, nausea and etc. It can really make me miserable and that’s why I try to very hard to keep it under control.

While I’ve had the symptoms most of my life, I was only diagnosed about six or seven years ago. At the time, I had IBS-C which means I had constipation on a regular basis. In recent years, my flare-ups can swing either way IBS-C or IBS-D (diarrhea). I was even put a medication when I was first diagnosed to help relax my bowel and reduce bloating. The medication was unsuccessful. I have had more success with controlling my diet and getting regular exercise.

IBS can be triggered by food, mediations, emotions, stress, environmental issues and weight changes. My biggest personal triggers are dietary, lack of physical exercise and stress. I force myself to get at least 30 minutes of lite exercise even if I don’t feel well because it helps move things along in my gut.

IBS-Graphic

I started seeing a Gastro specialist at Jeff in Philly. He diagnosed me with Pancreatic Enzyme Deficiency which he believes is underlying cause of the IBS. In other words, I don’t have enough Pancreatic Enzymes to digest food properly which means they rot in my gut if I am not properly elimination which triggers the symptoms. He prescribed a prescription strength Digest Enzymes to take with meals. It can have an explosive effect so I don’t use it every meal. He also diagnosed me is Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO). SIBO happens when bacteria from undigested food in the lower gut comes up into the upper gut. It is triggered by not properly digesting food. SIBO is the Trojan horse of IBS and requires a course of antibiotics to settle the gut bacteria down.

I am current on an antibiotic. The doctor prescribe one that would get my sinuses and my gut bacteria. In some ways, I feel better. In other ways, I am still in thick of it. Once a flare-up is triggered, it takes some time to settle down. It slowly fades away. I get the most relief for extended periods of time when I follow the Low FODMAP diet. This diet only limits carbs that are fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides and polyols.  While the diet is restrictive, it has been a Godsend. I learned I can eat food that normally trigger me. It about the portion size but there are still foods I can NOT tolerate. As of last week, I am back on a highly restrictive version of Low FODMAP to help settle things down. Spiritually I always trust my gut but physical – I agree that my gut is bastard!

IBS Meme

As I look back on my food diary, I can see where I slipped up. I expanded my diet too far. I was eating beans. BEANS! WTF Linda? I don’t really tolerate beans well. Especially Chickpeas and Black Beans. I can eat Chili occasionally as long as it is cooked a long time. I was eating Cherries and Blueberries – both are high FODMAP. That combo alone could have trigged a flare up. I was eating raw veggies. While I can tolerate a salad when I am feeling good and take a digest enzyme, I can’t really tolerate a lot of raw veggies. Cooked veggies are usually ok. Apples. OMG. The Green Apple almost killed me. I felt my belly immediately swell up. Did I not learn anything from Adam and Eve about Apples🍏

If you’d like more information on IBS, Dr. Axe and Dr. Mark Hyman are great Functional doctors with good tips:  Here are a couple of links to get you to their sites.

https://draxe.com/health/gut-health/ibs-diet-food-cures/

https://drhyman.com/blog/2015/04/17/powerful-strategies-to-eliminate-ibs-other-gut-issues/

FODMAP-1

So here I am. Still bloating. Still with upper left flank discomfort. Still alternating between IBS-C and IBS-D. Just getting through every day waiting for the flare up to fade away but the reality is it’s going to be a few more days. Yes, I will going back to work not feeling a 100% but it’s ok. I am a remote employee. They even told me I can telework more often if needed. I worked for my new GM last year. We’ve become friendly. She recruited me knowing my issues. She knows my belly issues won’t hold me back in work.

If you are having any symptoms that could be IBS, I suggest you make an appointment with Gastro specialist. You will need your Pancreatic Enzyme levels checks. You will need breathe tests for SIBO and other gut absorption issues. You will need an Upper GI with biopsy and maybe a Colonoscopy. I’ve had it all.

ICYMI – I’ve been posting every day this week since I haven’t been working; scroll down to see all of my posts from this week. I will post my regular Self Care Sunday blog tomorrow morning instead of later tonight.  After tomorrow’s post, I will be taking a break from writing for a few days.

(C) 2019 Highest Good Holistic Health Coaching, LLC ~ All Rights Reserved

Everything is always working out for my highest good💙🦋

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Loving Kindness Prayer
May you be safe
May you be healthy
May you be happy
May you be loved

Catalyst Of Growth ~ Love, Sex And Poetry 

Catalyst Of Growth ~ Love, Sex And Poetry
By: Linda A. Long

Can you
Let go
And love
A little deeper
Can you
Crack your
Heart open
A little wider
To let
In the sun
Of my love
And use my love
As your catalyst
Of growth
Can you
Sit with
Your pain
Heartbreak and loss
Without trying
To hide it
From yourself
Can you
Shine love
Into the darkest
Part of your soul
And let
Someone brand new
Rise from
The ashes of destruction
Can you
Allow yourself
To feel the
Warmth of my love
And source
Your own growth
Through my light
Do you love me
Unconditionally
Without
Expectations or attachment
Can you
Use me
As mirror
Into your soul
And dig a
Little deeper
To find
The softest spot
That needs healing
Will you grow
And rise with me
In love
And
Claim the love
That is given
To you freely
You are
My catalyst
Of growth
And change
I’ve grown
Because I love you
Will you
Grow with me
Will you
Share this
Catalyst of growth
With me
I love you love
Unconditionally

(C) 2017 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved

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Life Is Best When Lived Passionately

NOTE:
The below commentary goes along with this poem. One of the underpinnings of the Integrative Nutrition course I am studying is Primary Food. Primary Food is what nourishes and sustains a person in life such as: Exercise, Spirituality, Career and Relationships. Being balanced and nourished in the Primary aspects of life is essential for wellness. The actual food on the plate is considered a Secondary Source of nourishment in the Integrative Nutrition world.

Recently, our class was given an assignment to reflect on the health of our relationships and we were asked to identify opportunities for growth and development. Through this exercise I was able to see that I’ve grown and healed on a very deep level in the last year through my relationship and connection with a man I refer to as “Blue Love”.

It was clear to me from the first moments our eyes locked that our connection was about more than just a sexual connection. Intuitively I knew there was something spiritual simmering under the erotic undertones between us. It wasn’t until last year when he took a temporary assignment out of town and we were separated that I found myself coming face to face with my abandonment issues, fear of loss and pain that I buried deep in my soul.

The first few months he was gone were emotional chaos for me. Old hurts, painful memories of loss and buried heartaches came to surface. Something about the void I felt in his absence made everything feel more intense. I became anxious, clingy and eventually depressed. I was depressed because I couldn’t believe his absence was triggering this deep emotional response in me. I understood what was happening in me was a call to healing. I was being called to sit with my fear of loss and abandonment. I was being asked to let him go and focus what happening within myself so I could heal.

In that moment of complete depression and rawness, I realized I was attached to him. My “attachment” to him was spiritually unhealthy for me and him. Attachment isn’t love. Attachment comes with expectations, clinginess and possessiveness. For years I’ve spoken about unconditional love. Yet, it wasn’t until I clearly saw I was attached in an unhealthy way to “Blue Love” that I realized that I wasn’t loving him or myself unconditionally. I was trying to hold on to him and to the part of us that changed. I was making myself anxious worrying about what he would choose next and if I would be a part of his plans or if he even still cared about me. My “attachment” was blocking my ability to let go. My attachment was blocking my ability to truly love him or myself.

In the last year “Blue Love” has continued to explore his professional options. While we continue to be physically separated something changed in me over the last year. In allowing myself to feel the pain of my separation from him I brought other repressed pain to the surface for healing. By sitting in the middle of all of my shit, loss, pain and abandonment issues I awakened my inner Healer and mended pieces of my heart that were broken a long time ago. In learning to let go of my “attachment” to “Blue Love”, I found a new deeper truer love for him as well as myself.

By healing myself on such a deep emotional level, I also awakened spiritually and started embracing my soul’s true calling to be a “Healer”. I found the courage to face illness with strength and self love instead of fear and self pity. In choosing to love him and myself truly unconditionally, freely without expectations or attachments, I let go of all fear and broke myself open to profound growth in all areas of my life.

“Blue Love” is still in my life. I am very grateful for our relationship and our connection. It is clear to me now he was put into my life to help me grow spiritually. I was meant to learn how to truly love myself and others unconditionally through my relationship with him. He is truly a “soulmate” and maybe even a “Twin Flame.” For that I am forever grateful.

So, I ask you now to reflect on the quality of your relationships. Are there any opportunities to growth, self awareness? Can you let go and love a little deeper? Are you attached or in unconditional love? What is your opportunity for growth in the Relationship aspect of your Primary Food?

 

Slowing Down – A Journal Entry Post

Sorry for being so quiet on my Blog this week. It’s just that I’ve had a tough few weeks and I needed to just unplug. I’ve been writing in my journal with pen and paper this week instead of online.

Doctors orders were rest and sleep for a week. I’ve done my best to follow those orders. Actually I really had no choice because I’ve been exhausted.

The stress of the last three years of my life finally caught up to me. It was creeping up slowly but swallowed me whole the Friday of Memorial day weekend when I had an anaphylaxis reaction to Celebrex and was in the hospital again. Then I had a subsequent allergic reaction to Icy Hot. I am allergic to Aspirin. Celebrex is similar to aspirin and Icy Hot has Methyl Salicylates in it which is just like Aspirin. So anyone allergic to Aspirin should never use menthol products containing Methyl Salicylates.

Anyways the stress of both events pretty much left me a crying mess with, as my Doctor called it, Post Traumatic Stress. I couldn’t sleep for five days, I was confused, worried and couldn’t stop crying. My Doctor told me to go home take Xanax short-term and focus on rest and sleep for week – nothing else.

Well, I had tickets to see Joel Osteen in Heshey, PA on Friday night. My sister and I planned it months ago. I was very excited to see him. Even though I was exhausted  and a bit of a frayed knot, I still went.  My sister was good company.  She listened while I talked, cried some more and she just let me have whatever experience I needed.  There was no pressure.  She understood I needed an afternoon nap and was exhausted by the time Service was over and needed to go to bed.  I stopped at Mom’s house on the way to and from Hershey just to get a Mom Hug.  She was glad to see me and I was glad to hug her.  I came home late on Saturday. I jumped under the covers with some new reading materials and rested until bedtime.

Today is Sunday. Sundays are my favorite day of the week. It’s day I always feel the most relaxed.  I went back to Yoga this morning for the first time in three weeks.  Instead of pushing my super flexible body to it’s edge I held back. No aggression, no pressure. I kept things slow and easy.  I am a beach lover and the summer is my season. So, I went to the beach for about an hour.  That was enough. I am now baking Chicken as I write this blog.  Making Mashed Sweet Potatoes and roasted cauliflower, Broccoli and asparagus for dinner.  I also did my home physical therapy exercises.  Other than that just resting and watching the Phillies game. From what I was told it’s going to take some time for me to feel like my old self. I want to wake up tomorrow with all of this behind me and have things be normal. The worst allergy season ever isn’t helping me becuase I do have seasonal allergies too.

What I’ve learned through this is I have a tendency to push myself and my body.  But, all along my body was asking for rest.  I learned I need to stop pushing my body to its edge.  No more maxing my heart rate out while working out. No more excessive weight or aerobic training.  I’ll still walk five miles but I don’ t need to power walk four days a week. It’s just wearing me down.  Yoga is my sanity so I will do that almost every day. But, now I will be more gentle and not aggressive. I don’ t need to prove anything to myself. I won’t be taking vigorous Vinyasa for while.  I also know now that my body doesn’t like a lot of medicine so less is best.

For years I’ve resisted wearing a medical alert bracelet for my allergies and my congenital arrhythmia.  Doctor’s told me years ago to wear one.  I always thought it was a sign of weakness and wouldn’t wear one.  Well, I ordered one last week.  It’s a leather cuff with a dog tag.  Very fashionable.  I spent years resisting and pushing my body to be and do things it just couldn’t do.  And, now it’s time to accept that my body needs a slow pace and gentle movements.

I lost 75lbs a year ago and have had no problem keeping it off.  But because of the weight loss my body’s chemistry has changed dramatically.  So, I am just trying to calm down, relax and rest and give my body the time to adjust instead of pushing through it the way I always did.

It’s not easy of me to cry and be depressed. It’s not easy for me to admit I need help. And, it certainly wasn’t easy for me to have a Doctor say to me “you look confused, stressed and exhausted and you are verging on a breakdown”.  But, that is what happened and I am living through it.

I go back to work tomorrow and I go back to Physical Therapy tomorrow.  But, I will be approaching everything differently now and I will have no guilt admitting that I just can’t be strong all the time.

Admitting you are weak is a new strength for me.  God keeps forcing me to learn new lessons. I keep thinking I am done. But, he keeps raising that GOD damn bar on me.

As they say, That’s life.

Peace, Love & Happiness,
Linda

Photo Credit:

Gerson – Rest

 

Retreived From:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gerson_The_Rest.jpg

 

Exercising To Eat or Drink More?

Now that I am in the “maintenance” part of my weight loss/fitness journey I thought I would share one little tip I learned recently along the way.

Many diets(weight watchers and others) advocate “earning points” through exercise. This basically equates to burning calories through exercise to eat or drink more. Be careful doing this. As my Doctor told me recently, it’s not always a one for one exchange. When people work out a lot, they overestimate how many calories they may have burned. Many of the fitness apps out there (myfitnesspal, etc) actually over-estimate the calories burned during exercise. So, people end up over-eating. In other words, they walk three miles and burn 200 calories then eat a 300 calorie dessert or drink three glass of wine worth 300 calories.

If you are using exercise so you can eat/drink more, be sure to keep it in proportion. In other words, if you only burned 200 calories that day, be sure you are consuming 200 or less additional calories that day. Otherwise, you may gain weight and sabotage your efforts. 

Photo Credit: anewmode.com