May 31, 2008

Health talk: Me, myself and the tummy

(Edited)

I know I said I wasn't going to talk about my digestion any more, but since other bloggers have given me information by telling their stories, I've decided to give an update.

It is clear that alcohol and coffee do not agree with my stomach. I can drink coffee if I make it weak. Alcohol I haven't tried since restricting my diet after my doctor's visit. That hurt the instant it hit my stomach and after debating with myself on my way to an anniversary party last night (a co-worker's turn), I decided flavor and buzz did not outweigh being pain-free, especially at a party. So I had non-alcoholic wine with my five-course meal, which included the most tender and tasty lamb I have ever eaten in my life. My stomach was on its very best behavior until I was served fruit. With cream. But even then it was just a little comment from the tummy. I did avoid the cake later, and watered down my cup of coffee. It's the first time I've eaten such rich food and not spent that evening or next morning reading in the bathroom. Obviously, alcohol really does irritate the gut.

This past week, I had several reminders of my own old observation that I had forgotten: That anything with "cream" in its name will upset my digestion: Ice cream, whipped cream, coffee cream, sour cream, cream cheese. I feel a bit stupid for forgetting, but now I've been reminded and know what to be careful with. I've already switched to popsicles if I want ice cream.

I'm still not regular, but now I have reason to believe it is hormone-related. Frequency does depend on my cycle. I have a new perimenopausal symptom, too: I get very cold inside the last week before a period. It's weird. It's regular room temperature, and still I want to turn on the heat and pile the blankets on the bed. (I did measure my temperature, and it is lower on days like that.) And with that, constipation. (At least I completed my stool samples and special diet for that before the party.)

That said, I picked up my blood test results yesterday. Although three values were marked with an asterix, showing they had moved just out of the normal range by a point or two, the nurse at the doctor's office said to me, "But the doctor signed this off without comment, so he must think you're OK." I think my doctor has the attitude that I'm not interesting unless something's clearly wrong. (That's not necessarily a bad thing.) But I am curious, so I'm spending the day hunting with Google for more information on what the various blood tests are. For the ones marked *, I hunt with the attitude, "What am I thinking that's making my body do this?"

Several times I've come across the claim that the body is essentially healthy and without a will of its own. That means that ill health is caused by a non-bodily influence. The most likely and common non-bodily influence are our own thoughts. We often expect disease. Now, I'm a whiz at not being paranoid about other people's germs. The fact is that if a co-worker with a cold stops five feet away from me for fear I'll catch the cold, I'll usually say, "Oh, you can get closer. You won't make me sick." I'll even hug them. I know I won't get sick because I know that my immune system works well, and that the only thing that can compromise a good immune system in a healthy person is stress. If I'm not stressed about something, I can withstand anything you might bring to work. The times I do get sick, nobody else around me is. But I have always been stressed out just before my throat started to hurt and my temperature went up.

I'm kind of halfway there with my belief that my body is essentially healthy, aren't I. I can wrap my brain around hand-born germs not being a problem, but I haven't made the connection to chronic conditions in my own system. I still have to work on that, and believe completely with my mind and heart that this healthiness applies to every cell and function in my body, no matter how long they've been operating less than well. Then my problems will all go away, and I will be regular and can eat anything. For someone who hasn't experienced that, it's a fantasy. And I think that's why it takes some work. Some inner convincing. It is so foreign to me.

I have to proselytize to myself.

PS: Yesterday I didn't post. Consider yesterday my February 29.

2 comments:

Miz UV said...

I am bummed out because the evidence is becoming increasingly clear that cake makes me sick. Can you believe it? Maybe it's just chocolate cake -- I'll have to do an experiment. The last couple office birthdays when I had a (small) piece of rich choccy cake, I had nausea and an upset tummy the rest of that day and half the next one.

Sadness.

Keera Ann Fox said...

That is truly sad. And wrong. A woman who can't eat chocolate! Goes against nature! Here's counting on it being some kind of ingredient and not the chocolate itself.

BTW, a co-worker swears by some kind of ginger candy (taffy) she gets at an Asian store here in town for nauseated tummys. I've tried it. It works better than the ginger tea.