Here Kitty, Kitty - Uncover Ostomy
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Here Kitty, Kitty

Holy mother of god, blockages hurt.

Like, a lot.

Yesterday, I experienced my first one in the almost 10 years of having an ostomy.

Well,  I’ve had some similar-to-a-blockage issues before, but nothing like I experienced yesterday.

Geez louise – do I never want to experience that again.

For those who have never experienced a blockage, it includes sharp pain to the abdomen, dizziness, and nausea, among other unpleasant things. Basically, they are awful.

The worst part about this particular blockage, however, was that I really did not see it coming. It came out of left field from eating a food that I’ve eaten plenty of times before with no issue. When I say “plenty of times before”, I also mean I’ve eaten this food in all-you-can-eat quantities before. Yesterday’s event was a complete surprise.

Luckily, I avoided the emergency room (barely) but I’m still feeling the after effects today. My tummy still hurts 🙁

Now why in the world did I get a blockage after eating food I’ve eaten tons of times before? I thought about it all day yesterday (since I had nothing else to do but roll around in bed in pain) and I think I came to a conclusion: stress.

Stress has been known to flare up Crohn’s disease – a disease which I am unlucky enough to have. Since I came back from my trip to Italy and Israel I’ve been nothing but a ball of stress. I’ve been working morning till night, barely leaving my house, and only seeing the light of day on rare occasions – really rare occasions since, as of late, there has been almost no sun in Toronto.

The cure for this stress, you might say, would be to take a break and relax. To just sit back in my PJs, enjoy some television and not focus on work, right?

Unfortunately, the stress that’s getting to me isn’t work. I’ve worked my way through high school, university, and grad school with tons of responsibilities and extra curriculars and not once has that ever affected my stomach. I’m hardwired to take on more than the average person and I thrive off of it. I only wish my stomach issues were based on overworking, because then I’d have an excuse to be lazy.

Instead, thanks to my lucky stars, my stress manifests itself from annoying interactions with other people. Interactions like arguing over insignificant things, or people playing mind games with me, or people that just wont stop bugging me and make me want to punch them in the face. It’s not like I care about the actual interactions, but sometimes these people just can’t be avoided and the whole thing can be utterly exhausting. This exhaustion, unfortunately, tends to reek havoc on my GI tract.

I’ve had this issue for a number of years and, so far, there’s nothing I’ve been able to do to change it.

Well, that’s because I haven’t taken the step to change it; the step I’ve always known would do the trick.

I need to become a cat lady:

I’ve been contemplating this move for a while now. I’ve dealt with so much crap from people that I’m totally ok just living in my mother’s basement, cutting myself off from human beings (except my mom cause I love her and she’s awesome), and surrounding myself with cats. Cats are great replacements for human beings because they usually just roam around don’t bother you. Sometimes they may scratch you or nip at you, but their cute fuzzy cuddles totally make up for it.

I’ve also come to this decision because I’ve heard that pets are great for reducing stress.

If I follow through with my plan, I will be making a few life changes. For one, I will only leave the house to buy groceries, cat food, and ostomy supplies. (Though, I could probably get those delivered. Actually, all of it delivered…) I will also only wear leggings paired with large sweaters with cats on them to prove my love for the feline race. I will also need to make some decor changes in my living space. Anyone have any spare one of these lying around?

I’m just really sick of getting sick because of other people. I can’t control other people, so it’s basically like I can’t control my own health. So, theoretically, if I stay away from people, I can stay away from pain. Right? Right.

It makes sense.

And I mean, come on, how can you not love this:

…Alright, alright, you caught me; I’m kidding.

I am not going to become a cat lady.

I really just wrote this post to regale you with cat memes (because they are awesome).

But I really really wrote this post to ask for your help on de-stressing. I am looking for tips to stay calm, cool, and collected so that I don’t get sick over silly little things.

So, friends, lay your tips on me. What do you do to ensure you don’t have blockages or Crohn’s flare ups when things get tough? Do you exercise? Are there movies I should watch? Is there anything I need to get prescribed to me? Whatchya got?

Oh, and if you don’t have any tips to share, that’s ok too. I’m taking donations so that I can buy this, just in case:

Jessica Grossman
  • Ken Dwiggins
    Posted at 03:23h, 02 November Reply

    Great blog, stop allowing people to live rent free in your head, Jessica.

  • Kate H.
    Posted at 03:29h, 02 November Reply

    I started working out. I run for as long as I can handle it, and then I bike a mile followed by intense stretching (just do what you can, somedays all I’m good for is walking aimlessly). And if that doesn’t work, I put on my Ipod (happy music only) and flail around my living room. I do have a cat as well…

    I also started meditating last winter, and once you get in the groove of it, it really does help.
    I hope this helps. We’ve all been there when it comes to stress.

  • Amy Kendall
    Posted at 03:33h, 02 November Reply

    “Boundaries” by Henry Cloud – a great book with great wisdom about establishing personal boundaries with people – and hereby reducing one’s stress one thousand fold!

    • Donna Leung
      Posted at 13:03h, 02 November Reply

      Excellent book – highly recommend it!

  • Wendy
    Posted at 04:10h, 02 November Reply

    There is an ever so sweet kitten in need of a good home if you get that whim. Totally cute and homeless at the moment.

  • Karen
    Posted at 05:03h, 02 November Reply

    White grape juice is supposed to have a chemical to unblock…I have no idea if this works b/c my blockages usually land me in the ER but I cling to it and from a psychological perspective it works. Also, reflexology/accupuncture particularly on your feet, coke syrup (sipped over ice), short walks if you can and I’ve even been told a cigarette will stimulate the walls of the intestines to start contracting again. My favorite questions at the ER are 1) how do you know you have an intestinal blockage (b/c I’ve had 40 of them and they feel the same…always hits a small spot in my upper back, not sure why) and 2) why do you have a blockage…hmmm…because I woke up this morning and decided to eat a head of broccoli!

  • Sheila
    Posted at 05:59h, 02 November Reply

    I go to Aqua fit classes when ever I can. My issue isn’t blockages (I’ve only had 1 thank goodness) but I have issues with Periannal abscesses monthly. I also went to a Chronic Pain Management course for 6 weeks and learned alot of different stretches and Ti Chi that have REALLY helped me immensly with D-Stressing and centering my mind and body.

  • Claire
    Posted at 09:26h, 02 November Reply

    I’m really sorry to hear stress is bothering you that much. Stupid blockages! Hope your tummy feels better soon ~hugs it better~. I used to be (and still am to a lesser extent) a little ball of stress, with cartoon crazy wavey lines coming off. A few months back though I started writing a diary-ish. Not every night, only when I need too, and I don’t fill it in with nonsensical stuff like “went to the shops today”. I only write in it when I’m annoyed/angry/upset, and sometimes while I write solutions present themselves, sometimes they don’t, but either way when it’s all written down I feel a tiny bit better. I also add lots of unhappy faces around the pages. Every now and then I write a happy page just so the diary doesn’t turn into a hate book. On the plus side you can do this while watching a movie, it’s a two-for-one experience.
    Hope you find a way that suits you.

  • PaulO
    Posted at 10:53h, 02 November Reply

    “Stop thinking what other people might think of you …” made my life a lot easier.
    Oh, and I never eat steamed brocolli again (that caused my blokkage)

  • ErinO
    Posted at 12:03h, 02 November Reply

    I’m with you on the blockage thing! It sucks!!! The other day I also had my first blockage in years…although I probably could have seen it coming because I usually boil carrots to soften them before eating…but this time Pinterest told me I should bake them lol!!! So I did….and well…lets say I didn’t make it through work that day…and that evening I had to make a quick trip to Costco…which involved me sitting down on the floor and rocking back and forth to relieve the pain! haha. And to see my stoma swelled up like that…well I was freaked out to say the least. So I completely sympathize with you!!! ahh!

    Anyhow… I used to be a huge ball of stress, but these past few years I have taught myself to concentrate on only things that make me happy. If something is making me angry, I just leave the situation and don’t dwell on it. I read a book called Key to Living the Law of Attraction by Jack Canfield which helped me to focus only on the positive things in my life and I also read some of the things Buddah has written and taught. Nothing to do with religion or anything…totally on how to live your life in a simple and unstressful manner. It has made all the difference. Plus I have two cats, which totally make my life whole! haha. Anyway good luck!!!!!!

  • Ed
    Posted at 16:58h, 02 November Reply

    I have had my ostomy since April of 2001, and I have had 23 (yes twenty-three) full bowel obstructions that have required me to visit the ER. My last full obstruction was in Dec of 2011, while I was traveling to Florida. I keep a spreadsheet with this information updated (what can I say, I’m a rocket scientist). I have had twice that many (I don’t keep accurate track) of partial or full obstructions that I am able to resolve at home.

    A full obstruction is where NOTHING passes through, a partial obstruction is where only gas and / or liquids will pass through. Partials hurt enough, but a complete blockage is agony.

    By the time I have decided to go to the hospital, the pain is much worse than anything I have ever felt (including the three kidney stones I have had). My body has already purged whatever I put in it that can’t get past the obstruction. As my doctor has told me many times, it will come out one way or the other.

    Treatment is pretty standard; x-ray or MRI to see if they can find the bkockage, NPO (of course), IV fluids about as fast as they can go in, and, once the ER has determined that it is (or most likely is) a blockage, IV pain meds.

    I guess the only upside is that I have never had to have surgery to remove a blockage. I have been in the hospital for up to two days a couple of times before the blockage passed. Usually one day is sufficient once the IV fluids get started.

    And I have learned over time what to eat and what not to eat. I love broccoli, but it no longer loves me.

    Add stress into the equation, and all bets are off. Crohn’s is bad enough.

    I feel your pain Jess.

  • Chloe
    Posted at 03:39h, 03 November Reply

    i hate blockages too!! i remember my first one i ever got, back in 1st grade…… blockages almost always land me in the ER, except for the past few ive gotten, and the one i got yesterday 🙁 tea is great for blockages, but i usually try to eat anything. good luck with it 🙂

  • Tom Wood Sr
    Posted at 13:38h, 07 November Reply

    Jess, you are such a wonderful person! I have had my Ostomy since 1987, and have come close to a blockage but not a full blown one. Sorry to all fellow Ostomates who do get then, like insult to injury! I have been gong to Kickboxing for the past 3 years. I was so tired of feeling tired and helpless. The empowerment was amazing! Since joining i have watched many new members come in apprehensive, and end up so mush stronger in all aspects of their being!

    As for the others, the ones who bring you anguish, screw them. Please be as judicious with your mind and heart as you are with your physical health! This comes with experience. Not with age! lol. If you ever need a friend to bounce off, I would be honored. Any one in your presence should be honored to know you! Thanks for all your candid words for the many who share….


    • Jess
      Posted at 06:11h, 14 November Reply

      Thank you for your kind words and advice, Tom!

  • Tom Wood Sr
    Posted at 13:39h, 07 November Reply

    I need a spell checker… sigh…

  • AQ
    Posted at 22:49h, 10 November Reply

    Hey Jessica

    I had one not too long ago – not the nicest experience. I also have the same problem as you – nothing stresses me except annoying people that are in my life!

    I recommend yoga, meditation – and if you believe in God, prayer. These all help me relax.

    Keep smiling,

    • Jess
      Posted at 06:11h, 14 November Reply

      Love yoga- need to get back into it.


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