Wednesday, February 28, 2018

In Which I Write About Exercise, IBS and Pooping

Lately, I've been experiencing diarrhea fairly regularly on the weekends. Looking at what I typically eat on the weekends, I've made a decision to stop eating cheese. I typically have grits and eggs on Sunday's, and have been adding cheese to it because cheesy grits and eggs are delightful. But having to poop a lot is not delightful, so no more cheese. And a conscious reduction of dairy, though not an elimination - not yet.

With that change in place, I was surprised to be experiencing the weekend diarrhea on Saturday night, and less happy than I usually would have been, because I was going to re-do the CrossFit Open workout on Sunday morning, and I had committed to a specific time to do so, 9 am.

I went to sleep at a reasonable time, before 10 pm, and got up early to make breakfast so I could eat by around 7 am and have plenty of time for my stomach to settle before the workout. The breakfast was good, even without cheese (I added chicken soup base to the grits, which is super tasty). I felt mentally good, but physically, I wasn't feeling so hot.

There was a coldness in my tummy, a rushing and wooshing that I did not trust. I thought about cancelling, about changing my plans, about showing up just to cheer... But I knew I could improve on the score I posted on Friday, so I got my stuff together, visited the toilet one last time in vain, and walked over.

I volunteered to judge someone in the first heat and had to take a bathroom break before it started. Just pee. Then I managed to last the entire twenty minutes of the workout without needing a bathroom break, which was a relief, because on Friday I hadn't lasted (but the person I was judging wasn't in the Open so didn't need to be judged).

During the second heat I started to warm up by getting on the rower, still wearing my sweatpants and sweatshirt over my workout clothes. I felt freezing cold, I even still had a hat on. I planned to row for five minutes, but I only made it two before my bowels informed me that I had about 30 seconds to get to the bathroom or else.

The diarrhea was back. I got out what wanted out and went back to warming up. I went to the bathroom twice more before the workout, but it seemed like the worst of the poop had past. I was worried about having to go during my twenty minutes of working out. I was worried that I would never feel warm again. But I told myself that once I started working, my body would focus on that and not on pooping. It was too late to switch heats with someone, I told myself.

I did the workout, and hardly thought about the chance that I might have an accident during it. I ignored the cold rush in my stomach that fluttered up when I did the row. I got through it even though my stomach felt awful by the end.

I've been having more instances of diarrhea lately, to the point that I don't know if I can really be said to have IBS with constipation anymore. I don't know what's going on with my bowels other than they give me pain and frustrate me. And I'm going to figure this shit out.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Breakfast Adjustment

I've been avoiding solid food in the morning for about two months, and I'm finally back to feeling comfortable with reintroducing it. Not exclusively, but as an adjunct to the meal shake I've been drinking. I'm not sure if this change means that I'm experiencing a dip in IBS symptoms or if I've figured something out.

I had good results back in October with doing liquid breakfast for two weeks, and then I went right back to normal food because I was vacationing. And after the vacation, I didn't know what to do. Having a meal shake for breakfast makes me feel like I'm ill. I don't like it. I should be able to eat whatever for breakfast. Cereal. Sausage. Fruit. So drinking a meal shake is like admitting that this IBS stuff is real and something I actually have to deal with.

I really hope the pain I was feeling yesterday in my abdomen was not a result of reintroducing solid food at breakfast. I don't think it was, because I had some of it Monday as well, and I didn't start with the solid food until Tuesday. But the pain seems to get worse when I'm being active. Riding my bike home from work last night gave me little jolts of pain with each cycle of the pedals.

If the pain continues, I'll go back to liquid breakfast just to see if that helps, but I really hope I don't have to. I enjoy having a bit of meat with breakfast. And, yes, okay, I enjoy my morning Spam :)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


My husband has been asking me how I feel on a scale of 1 to 5 every day for over a month now. It's his way of troubleshooting my illness(es). He isn't entirely convinced that IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is the correct diagnosis, and neither am I. We could be in denial, but one way to try and figure it out is to troubleshoot the system.

The system being, in this case, me.

So I've started to track symptoms on two tabs of a google spreadsheet. I tried using an app, but I just couldn't stick with it. I found it very discouraging to open an app and record every time that I had a bowel movement. And to make sure that every time I had a symptom that I open up the app and record what kind of symptom it was and the corresponding intensity. That's like a full time job right there, without getting paid.

So I've got one tab with a list of my common symptoms down one column and dates across the top row and I just mark when I have the symptom on the day. On the other tab, each date has a place for notes. The symptom columns should help me track cycles and patterns and the other tab allows me to get more specific with timing or mood or food.

I do feel like there are some general cycles that I'm experiencing, but having the data will be better. More data is always more better.

I've also signed up for an online forum for people with IBS. I haven't really started using it yet, but I signed up. I figure I can compare what I've experienced with what other people have experienced and see if there is some difference that would point to me not actually having IBS.

I think both my husband and I don't want it to be IBS because there really isn't a fix for it. You adjust your diet, reduce stress and basically deal with the symptoms as they come - and they come no matter how "good" you are at being chill and eating only foods that don't bother you.

I mean, I've cut out alcohol, coffee/tea and carbonated beverages (except for Alka Seltzer). I hardly eat dairy (except for kefir, which is chock full of probiotic goodness and low in lactose). I do yoga at least once a week and I get a massage once a month. I exercise a lot. I drink tons of water. And I still have symptoms. It's frustrating as all get out and I really just want to fix it.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Guidebook for Sale

I've got the Chamberlain Basin guide book up for sale on Amazon in both ebook and paperback editions. For now, I'm leaving it exclusive to Amazon, though I'll probably put the ebook wide at some point. I don't really have a business plan with my writing at the moment. I create the content, including designing covers and interiors, which are simple, but adequate. I think. I'd rather leave the business part to my husband, but he is busy building computers and robots at the moment.

I guess, in a way, I'm afraid of trying harder to sell things. As long as I'm not trying to sell books, the small amount of sales that I do make feel just right. Less than a dollar a month, well, sure, it's not like I'm trying to sell books.

If I actually invested myself in trying to sell what I write, instead of just writing and publishing... then I'd have to figure out what to do if the efforts didn't work. If I invested $100 into advertising or marketing or whatever, and got nothing back, then I'd be really disappointed in $1 per month in sales.

So I'm just going to keep writing what I want to write and build up a catalog of things for sale. And maybe, in time, that will lead to $2 per month in sales. And by the time I retire from my day job, maybe it'll be up to $5. Which, by that point, probably won't even be enough to buy me a latte, but maybe I could save it up and start investing in marketing and business plans then.