Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Liquid Weapon

With my IBS becoming an irritant not only to me, but also to my husband, and starting to affect my ability to do my job, Ambrose and I knew that the time had come for some experimentation.

We had been avoiding certain foods, such as oats and soy, for a while now. Sticking to cereal for breakfast rather than oatmeal. Switching from soy milk to almond milk.

But that didn't help long term.

So the new plan is liquid breakfast. For the last five days, I've been drinking my breakfast.

And although drinking a nutritional supplement meal makes me feel like an invalid, it seems to be improving my situation. I'm still getting some bloating, but it's less. Some pain, but not as much as before the switch. My bowels are moving more consistently, especially in the morning.

Of course, I'm not doing the experiment in an entirely fair way. I've also gone back to a goal of drinking a gallon of water a day, because that seems to help, too. I do think that the combination helps. I'm not eating solid food for about the first five to seven hours that I'm awake, and it's an improvement.

But it could be just an improvement for now. It seems the one thread that ties together this whole IBS journey is the efficacy of change.

My diet changes, and I start doing better. I embrace whatever the change is with religious fervor, and before I know it I'm stuck in a whole new rut. Eventually, my gut tires of the rut and starts to complain. I agonize for a month or two, and then the bright idea comes about to change things again. Presto! The new change is the new path and I shall not stray from it!

Until next time the pains return.

I'm not sure what to make of that. Maybe I'll try rotating what I eat every 30 days or every 60 days. The thing is, I'm really quite content eating the same thing most days. For breakfast, especially, I like to have a routine (can't spell routine without rut).

So we'll see how long this lasts. I really should start recording what I eat, and how it makes me feel, and probably my weight, too. But I just don't want to. I don't want to admit that I've got this condition that requires those tasks of me.

But if I don't, then I'm never going to be able to track what's going on and figure out if this stuff is really all random or follows some underlying pattern - even if that pattern is change.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Written Word

I haven't been getting my butt in the writing chair over the last week or so. Ambrose and I did go on a short backpacking trip last weekend, so I have a partial excuse, but that's not really enough. I want to finish my solo write up by the end of the month and have the book for sale before I visit family in October. Though I won't likely have finished copies to give them at the visit.

I know once I finish the write up, the photo part can be accomplished in a weekend's steady work. Formatting the book and getting the layout right for print is not a hard part for me. I enjoy creating the photos and captions and making it all come together. It's simple work, repetitive, steady. When a mistake is made, it is simple, if not always fast or easy, to correct.

The writing part is different. I don't have a template. I don't have as much structure to dictate what I should or shouldn't be doing. I look at the photos I took as I write, but they don't provide the narrative. They can't convey the harshness of the wind, how cold it was and how it sometimes drove particles of sand into my face or blew so hard that I had trouble walking forward. Even the video I took of the wind whipping my tent doesn't tell as much of the story as my words must bear.

I have to find the story, create it and frame it without knowing exactly what its shape should be before I start. I know what I want to do - I want to share my adventure. And I want to share how these adventures have changed me and how I approach life. Hiking alone grows self reliance. It makes me more confident and sure of myself. It proves to me that I have the ability to do more than I realize.

And, if I write my book right, it will give others a taste of those results, and encourage others to strive and try to do things that they never would have thought possible.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Everything and Nothing

I'm going through another period of having IBS issues. I have to say that what I like least about this whole diagnosis is how random it seems to be. I don't know how to control what's happening. I really thought I had things under control last winter after I started taking the mint pills, but it didn't last. I don't know if the mint pills really had any effect, or if they just happened to coincide with a time that I was feeling better. 

Changing what I eat doesn't help, at least not for long. Excluding certain items, including others, drinking more water, drinking less water, nothing seems to make a difference for long, as if my digestive system just has trouble making up its mind, what will affect it and what will leave it calm. 

There's a burning pain going on that is pretty constant at the moment, but it isn't heartburn. Too low, too frequent, not helped by heart burn remedies. It keeps me awake past bed time and disturbs my sleep so I feel exhausted, which stresses me out more, which surely doesn't help anything. 

Gas buildups cause pain and nausea, but I'm almost at the point where I've accepted that the feeling like I'm going to puke is really just a burp. There does linger a trace of paranoia that this time, that burp will be more than just gas. But so far, I haven't had any vomiting even though it has felt like it was going to happen. 

The gas pains can get intense. They don't like to stay the same, so sometimes it feels like pressure, other times like a stitch from running, and sometimes it feels like ripping inside. 

My husband is frustrated to see me in pain and be unable to do anything about it. I know he's not mad at me, but I still feel like it's my fault that I'm not feeling better faster. 

I suppose I'll have to start looking at more unconventional methods, perhaps starting with dancing naked under a full moon, followed by a snipe hunt. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


I finally got my butt in the writing seat over the last week or so! The write up of my solo trip is proceeding nicely, nearly finished, and then I can get serious on the Chamberlain Guidebook that Ambrose wants me to write and the Queens River Guidebook.

The guidebooks will be short pieces meant to help people who want to explore those areas with a little more recent information than is readily available right now. After our eclipse trip into the Queens River area, we learned that the area isn't well described in the guidebook that we learned about it from, in part because the terrain has changed and the trail has been rerouted in places. The Queens River literally changed its course between last year and this year at one of the crossings, so a short guidebook that could be updated every year might be useful.

I'm almost done with the third day of my solo trip write up. One more good weekend of work and I'll be done with the writing. Then it's Ambrose's turn to do the proofreading and I'll start with the photos. I'll definitely have these books ready for Christmas gifts.

I just hope the air around here clears up soon. Boise has a red air quality alert going on right now, and I'm definitely feeling the effects. Everything smells like smoke, even indoors, and my eyes have been burning all day. Not conducive to focusing on writing or anything else.

But I know that I just need to get my butt in the seat and I can get it done.