My food journal has become vital to me. There was a period of thirteen days that I didn’t have any sort of a bowel movement. The bit of stomach that I do have left and my intestines stretched with each day, causing me to look like a pregnant grandmother. I decided that measuring it would be helpful, but although it was informative, it wasn’t much help in regulating my bowels. If I waited the thirteen days, the dumping syndrome would be brutal. I had to find a way to regulate my system myself, through my diet, to avoid the grueling pain, since I am unable to take laxatives.

 There are numerous forms of fiber. The poison that I picked was a cereal that has been around since I was a kid. Somehow that is a comforting thought, giving me a false sense of trust. But truly, the trust was in me. I decided on the massive portion that I ate the first time, and its consequences, although, how would I know?. Between sprints to the bathroom, I lay exhausted in bed. That, in itself, is depressing. It is hard to stay positive when you look in the mirror and are shocked by the sunken face that stares back.  After the fibrous assault was over, I eased myself back into eating food. Hummus, for me, is very helpful, but we are all different. Eat the gentlest things that sound appetizing to you, and that you know your body can tolerate.

The second attempt at regulation was far more successful. I still ate my trusty childhood cereal, but in a much smaller portion. Then, I had to be aware of the food that I ate after the fiber. These had to be easy to digest foods. All the while, I had to be conscious of what was on my list of approved foods.  These are foods that I tried from a list that provided me with a particular vitamin. Some were down right unappetizing, others didn’t agree with my GI system, but there were those that I could tolerate. Then, the approved foods started to make me feel stronger. I just had to be vigilant about the size of my stomach. This I grew to understand was an indicator.

I waited for nature and/or gravity to take their course, but to no avail. My stomach was beginning to reach  the “baby bump” size. My, what a picture. My little ole body literally looks like it has been rode hard and put away wet…and pregnant too? Oh my Lord! According to my calculations of the gastroparesis in my upper intestines and what affect that might have on the process, I needed to eat a small portions of my childhood cereal, every three days. That is my rhythm. It is not always foolproof, sometimes the respite in between is practically non existent. These are the hard times. Somehow though, I have accomplished the desperate need to gain weight and I am still here to plead the case of my two grandsons, they want to grow their hair out long. Colten 11, wants the George Harrison cut and Justin 8, has a picture from his Mohawk to a full head of hair in his imagination. My son is starting to soften up, which is a good sign.  I was a hippie,  I don’t know what happened?

Achieving the balancing act is very empowering. I have gone to a couple big box stores without the severe anxiety that I normally experience. I have had accidents, so the unsuccessful experiences are hard to overcome, but I have reluctantly done it. I so clearly remember being mortified and that will probably stay with me for  a long time. I may have more embarrassing experiences, but I desperately want a life. I don’t drive anymore, so I have to look into public transportation, but the fear of an accident and not being able to get to my house, paralyzes me, so I procrastinate.  What would I do? Without help? I long to just go to the lake park and walk around, watching the parents with their children.,the ducks and the geese, fighting for food in the water, just be. I wonder if that will ever be a reality for me. Meanwhile my thoughtful care giver drives me to the lake with a loaf of bread and we have a time.

I have almosst conquered the four walls and that is a part of regulating too. One can only read for so long. Personally, I have to mix it up. I have ankle/wrist wieghst that help my body get stronger. I have my yoga mat and my relaxation/meditation tapes the fuel my mind and stretch out as much of the pain as I can. I have herniated vertibres, so it helps some, but not much. Yoga seems to be good for my body though. I don’t have a schedule since I don’t know how I will be feeling on any given day, so I adapt. I guess in the end, we all do.

Do the best you can with what you have, I’ll write soon,

Elaine