gut update.

by Janetha on October 14, 2011

in questions answered

a lot of people have asked what is going on with my guts, so i figured i might as well blog about it. you guys can handle it, right? i mean.. everybody poops.

so, here’s the deal. for the past 5+ years or so, i have always had a distended stomach at the end of the day. some days were worse than others, but there was always a little bloating and protrusion. i have lovingly (okay, not so lovingly) referred to this as my “bump” and never really knew what caused it. i knew a couple things for sure: it was embarrassing and uncomfortable. oh, and sometimes it hurt.

i did body for life and after completing the challenge i was the leanest i’ve ever been (around 14% body fat.) however, i would wake up with a 6 pack and go to sleep looking 6 months pregnant. no, this is not an exaggeration. it was ridiculous! i ended up going to my doctor for my problem (just my GP).. i had a CT scan and they saw nothing. i went to a plastic surgeon because i was convinced that i had diastasis recti (abdominal separation).. um, nope, wrong again. i never went to a gastroenterologist, though. i didn’t really think to do that. since i was cleared by the CT scan i thought it was something i just had to live with and my body was just crazy.

fast forward to this summer, where i was experiencing more pain than usual. my bowels were all over the place. sometimes i’d poop every four days and other times i would poop four times in a day. not normal. also, my stomach was protruding out WAY more than usual. think 8 months pregnant rather than 5 or 6. again, not exaggerating. plus, it hurt.

i got an appointment with a GI on september 19th. that’s when all the testing started. i got an upper endoscopy, a CT scan and a colonoscopy. the first two tests showed nothing unusual. i also got some blood work that came back normal, i am not allergic to anything and there were no strange results. while i may be intolerant to foods (which would take an elimination diet to discover which ones) i am definitely not allergic to anything. (can we get a *yay* for not having celiac disease?)  i had my colonoscopy yesterday.. that’s when we got a couple answers.

first of all, i had to do a two day prep for the colonoscopy because i rarely poop. “normal” for me is to poop every other day, or maybe every three days. i realize this is not normal for anyone else. i’m “special”…

anyway, my last meal was monday night around 9 PM. tuesday and wednesday were rough to say the least. i managed to get a sore throat on top of being hungry and having a pounding headache. it was so rad. the multiple laxatives i had to take for the prep were pretty rad, too. it’s ok to be jealous. i won’t go into detail. you’re welcome.

i went into the hospital for the colonoscopy yesterday at 8:15 AM. aside from the needle for the IV, it wasn’t so bad. (i hate needles.)

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i woke up and my GI told me that he could clearly see that i have a lazy colon. the colon is a muscle.. and mine is a total wimp. it doesn’t function the way it should, it doesn’t eliminate the way it should. it doesn’t move things along. i accumulate waste and gas in abnormal amounts. my body is a hoarder!

he gave me a prescription to complete a 20 day antibiotic/probiotic regimen to get rid of any bad gas and introduce good bacteria into my guts. i thanked him and was on my merry way. first stop was obviously a restaurant so i could eat my first meal since monday, which was actually the same as my last meal—a grilled cheese and tomato soup. favorite.

about 10 minutes into my meal, my whole insides started hurting like something fierce. i didn’t finish my lunch because i was in so much pain. we (momma b and i) headed to REI to snag my mom the vibrams i promised to get her for her birthday.. and by this time i just wanted to get home and crawl into bed! we got back to my house and, as luck would have it, i was locked out. i forgot to grab my keys on my way out the door earlier that morning.

good thing there was a ladder in the back of marshall’s truck.. and good thing momma b is AMAZING. while i was doubled over in pain on the porch, she managed to hop the fence and go through the back (unlocked) door.

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isn’t she the best?

anyway, we got into my house and got in touch with my doctor (i had been trying to get a hold of him since the pain began—i also tweeted about the situation and a few awesome ladies told me that NO, this pain was in fact not normal and to see what was up.) my doc told me to meet him at the emergency room right away so he could see what was going on. he was actually on his way out of town, but said he couldn’t leave town without making sure it was nothing crazy.

so.. it was BACK to the hospital! we got to the ER and my doc took a look at me.. listened to my abdomen with his stethoscope.. had me jump up and down.. and then escorted me to radiology so i could get an xray. worst case scenario, i had a perforation in my colon. i won’t leave you in suspense and just tell you right away that that was NOT the case. i know my mom, deb & missy were worried sick that it was—i hated to worry them, but it’s also nice that they were so concerned. love you guys!

what it turned out to be was TONS and TONS of gas. way more than a person typically has after a colonoscopy. it’s normal to be gassy, but it’s not normal to be doubled over in excruciating pain. turns out, my body hates me and hoards gas like nothing else. this is what causes the pain and distended abdomen.

i took some photos post-colonoscopy (around 11 AM) and then post-xray. the only thing i had ingested between the two photos was the bit of sandwich and some soup. the photos on the right were right after the xray, when the pain was at about a 8 (down from a 10+!)  you can clearly see that i am waaaay distended. it hurts just looking at these!

oh.. and hope you don’t mind the bra shots. these are all relaxed shots—no sucking in, flexing, or pushing out.

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while this is definitely the most painful my issue has ever been, it’s not the worst (visually) the distention has been. it’s been far worse on days i have consumed five meals and a gallon of water. those are the “i look 8 months pregnant” days.

today i woke up with a pain level of a 2 or a 3. i have had a protein shake, a simply bar, a chobani yogurt, a kombucha and quite a bit of water. the pain is hovering at a 3. it’s annoying. the bloating has gone down quite a bit from the photos above, but i am still a bit distended.

to be honest, it’s a little embarrassing to share all this with the world wide web—even though i have NO control over what is happening with my body, i am still very uncomfortable with it. it sucks to work my ass off with clean eating and working out, only to have a huge, bloated gut by the end of the day. i am not comfortable wearing tight shirts simply because i look like i have a beer belly when, in fact, it’s a bunch of air. it’s frustrating and i really hope to get to the bottom of my issues soon.

but it’s like my doctor said… the journey has just begun.

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in other news

  • the winner of the better breakfast challenge is  #9—tiffany with her okonomiyaki.. a VERY unique breakfast that deserved to win. congratulations, tiffany! please email me your address so i can get your package shipped out before the new year…
  • marshall’s birthday is on sunday! wooooo! we are having a mexican fiesta tomorrow (saturday) night for the birthday boy. super stoked!

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have a great weekend! can’t believe october is already halfway over!

xo. janetha g.

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