IBS Be-Gone!: Day Four

I woke up pretty tired but I think that is due to not sleeping well, rather than diet. I'm settling into the program. I am definitely still having cravings, but they aren't as strong. Things may be much tougher at the weekends, though, when I'm out and about and, perhaps, around people who are eating things I can't eat.

Saturday, I'm going to an Amazon party with Brugos. There's bound to be loads of free food I will have to ignore. And I get to be the Juice Purse Lady, carrying around my own 100% juice mixers for my glasses of vodka.

What I ate yesterday:

Breakfast: Bowl of rice with a little bit of butter and salt. Tea with milk.

Lunch: Black bean soup over rice. Tea with milk.

Snack #1: Two broccoli patty things that were remarkably yeast-free. A piece of monteray jack cheese.

Dinner: Rice cake PBJ. Apple. Tea with milk.

Later, I met a bunch of people to see a live adaptation of Total Recall at Rebar. It was awesome. Nick Garrison, who is famous, locally, for doing an amazing version of Hedwig and the Angry Inch played Sharon Stone's character. The guy doing Arnold was spot on. Hilarious. They ad libbed some things and took liberties with the script, but the most amazing parts were the parts where they obviously were reading the actual, original script. For instance “We see a beautiful midget hooker. Her name is Thumbelina.”

Again, I ordered glasses of vodka and had some apple juice on hand for a mixer. You get really strange looks when you order vodka on the rocks. I guess people are more inclined to sip scotch or bourbon straight. Not so much vodka.

Snack #2: Cashews.

I went back to Brugos' after the show and scoured the kitchen for something to eat. I found only cheese. I cut myself off a slice and made do.

Snack #3: Piece o' cheese.

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It Ain't Shakespeare

To distract from the terrible craving for sweets that I am suffering from right now, I decided to transcribe some of the GOD AWFUL poetry that my high school boyfriend wrote. An old friend of mine recently found some xeroxed copies of the stuff and mailed them to me. I wish I had a scanner so you could see his “artistic” handwriting and the way he organized the poems on the page, but you'll just have to make due with the words themselves, in all their teenage angsty glory:

Outcast
I am not blind
Yet I cannot see.
I am not deaf
Yet I cannot hear.
I am not dumb
Yet I cannot speak.
I am not dead
Yet I cannot live.
Enough…
At all…
Goodbye

The Edge
In a box I lay,
Dead myself of independence.
On the edge of my own cliff I lay,
Slipping slowly into the painless void
Which consumes us all.
On the edge of my cheek a tear, it lays
My last pure gift to the world as slowly I do slip
Into the painless sense known only as my mind.
Vertigo…

Fragile
Your heart beats
Makes mine stop.
Your breath of life
I'm out of air.
Your soulful eyes,
My shallow; not full.
Your life goes on
I break.
Crumble…

Advice From a Head in the Middle of the Desert
“Am I real?
I am not…
Are you real?
You are not…
Pain is real…
Is it not?
Pain is life.

Wilted
(For Jess)
A sun with no heat
A mirror with no reflection
Eyes with no sight
A heart with no love
A life with no soul
Without her I am nothing.

A tree in the desert
As I am compared
A sun in one's sky
As she will always be
A tree withers with dark eternal
As I am compared
Without her I am nothing.
Nothing.

PS: He also played guitar and admittedly fancied himself the next Kurt Cobain. His friends all told him he was super talented. They probably thought he was. Everyone I hung out with at the time were wankers, myself included.

Obviously, he was kind of depressed, but don't feel for him because he dumped me. Even after writing me such a touching ode.

IBS Be-Gone!: Day Three

I woke up today remarkably clear-headed for having had three LARGE vodkas at trivia last night. (I would like to congratulate team Dirty Water Wiener and The Krauts for pulling out the third place spot despite having fared miserably on a round that was comprised entirely of David Caruso questions. WHAT?!)

Thankfully, the headache is gone. I am definitely still addicted to caffeine and plan to make myself another cup of sugarless tea in a minute. I feel OK. I did swoon a little when walking through a cloud of Top Pot Donut aroma on my way into the office. However, I think this kind of thing will level out over time.

There are many challenges to this program, but one of the biggest I've noticed is the expense. I know there are people who eat like this all the time. The Madison Market was FULL of them last night. (And, as Brugos pointed out, they all looked like homeless zombies). But how can they afford it? Well, one theory is that they save money by wearing rags or making their own clothes out of hemp. But seriously, I've spend $70 on groceries in the last 3 days. This does include $25 for the probiotics and $12 for a good multi-vitamin. But this is only a month's supply. The food I bought will only last me through the week. Luckily, I have a little cash in the piggy bank, otherwise, I simply couldn't afford to get better. And what of people who make less than me? (And, while I am by no means well off, I do not make minimum wage). A large portion of the population has no CHOICE but to eat Wonder Bread and Jiff instead of whole grain bread and Adam's peanut butter. Fresh vegetables are twice as much as a can. Statistically, one in 5 people, in ANY tax bracket, I assume, has IBS. I garauntee you that IF they have health insurance, it doesn't cover probiotics treatment. It's hard not to complain about depriving myself of the bad food I'm addicted to, but I'm damned lucky I can afford to try and make myself better.

Here's what I ate yesterday:

Breakfast: Grits with milk, seasoned with salt and pepper. Cup of tea with milk.

Later, I had another cup of tea.

Lunch: Fresh rolls wrapped in rice paper from Whole Foods, sans delicious Thai peanut sauce. Rice cake with peanut butter. A couple of pieces of jicama

Snack: Apple slices with cheddar cheese. Cup of tea with milk.

After work, Brugos and I went to the Madison Market. Shopping there at 6:00 sucks because it is packed and people block up the aisles, making it difficult to navigate. By the time we got to the store, I was starving and low in blood-sugar so I was feeling pretty shaky. I just wanted to grab something and get out but I was thwarted with that ever-present sugar ingredient at every turn. Finally, I found some corn tortillas, grabbed some veggies, and we escaped the Co-Op Zombie Hell.

Snack: (Consumed while making dinner because I just couldn't wait any longer) Rice cake with peanut butter.

Dinner: (Which Brugos kindly ate with me) Quesadillas with organic corn tortillas, red pepper, onion, shitake mushrooms and cheddar. Salsa and sour cream on the side.

At Clever Dunne's, I smuggled in a 100% Cranberry juice and ordered glasses of vodka on the rocks from the bar. At Clever Dunne's, a glass FULL of vodka is $3.50. I love that place.

Naturally, by the time trivia was over, I was hungry again. On our way out, I ordered a veggie dog from the new hot dog cart that's parked outside. The man who owns this cart is a genius. Clever Dunnes and the neighboring Crescent don't serve any food and are packed with drunks 7 nights a week. To have veggie dogs as well is just covering his bases. He doesn't have any cream cheese, but he does have NACHO CHEEESE! I can't eat that right now, but a month from now, you can bet I am going to be scarfing a nacho cheese dog. So…

Late Night Snack: Veggie Dog from hot dog cart with mustard, sans bun.

IBS Be-Gone!: Day Two

I woke up this morning with a headache. I was extremely dehydrated, despite having had a couple of big glasses of water before going to bed. In general, I drink a lot of water so I don't know if the probiotics are using the water or if it's something to do with the sugar withdrawal.

And yes, I think I must be going through some major sugar withdrawal that will only get worse. I am still light-headed and my headache hasn't really gone away, though it's gotten better after downing ungodly amounts of water.

Being the carbophile that I am, it's hard enough to avoid yeast, but the sugar is going to be the real rooster in the hen house here. There is sugar in EVERYTHING. I wasn't even careful enough when shopping yesterday. I grabbed a couple of cans of soup that I know to be vegetarian, without looking at the labels. When I got them home, I realised they had sugar in them. Lentil soup and split pea, I can't eat you. Luckily, I can still eat my organic tomato and my organic corn chowder, but NOT my Progresso roasted tomato. I venture to guess that Progresso (and probably all of those major canned soup brands) have sugar in them.

As I'm typing, I notice I'm making a lot more errors than usual. I also seem to keep adding superfluous E's to the ends of words. Naturally, I'm correcting as I go, but I am having a great deal of difficulty concentrating. I think my brain is jonesing for a sugar rush.

Here's what I ate yesterday:

Breakfast: Bowl of cheerios with milk and banana. Cup of tea with milk.

I now know that this was cheating in a big way. I ate the cheerios (low in sugar) before I confirmed that I am not allowed to eat ANY sugar. Also, bananas are on the high end of the sugar spectrum as far as fruits are concerned. I think this is OK though, because I ate breakfast before I bought the probiotcs. So, technically, my diet started at lunch.

Lunch: Salad with baby greens, tomatoes, mozzarella and balsamic vinaigrette dressing. 2 organic frozen black bean tacos with fresh Whole Foods salsa.

I was ready for my afternoon snack MUCH earlier than normal. Nothing I ate seemed to really fill me up.

Snack: Jicima and 4 yeast-free, organic crackers.

Dinner: Red potatoes, red peppers, garlic and tomatoes cooked in olive oil. Two rice cakes with Adam's creamy peanut butter. (I have a feeling I am going to be eating a lot of these.) A glass of milk.

Snack: (Because by 8:00, I was starving again) A few bites of the rice I made to bring to work today.

My saving grace here will be the fact that I can still eat low-sugar fruits. Apparently, the naturally occurring sugar is good for the probiotics. But I'm not allowed to overdo it. Most of my favorite fruits are, of course, high in sugar and therefore off the menu. No bananas, oranges (or orange juice) or pineapples.

I can have grapefruit, cranberries, raspberries (and all-natural raspberry jam!!), blueberry, blackberries, peaches and apples. But only in moderation. Moderation is tough for me in almost every aspect of my life.

I do have a plan for the drinking, however. I will be smuggling cranberry juice into bars because I'm fairly certain most places only serve that from-concentrate frankenjuice. I can also have martinis without the vermouth. (Yes, even vermouth has sugar in it!) So I won't have to be giving up all my vices at once.

IBS Be-Gone!: Day One

I decided to keep a record of my progress on my probiotics diet.

First, a little background: I developed IBS about 2 years ago. At the time, it seemed to arrive out of nowhere. I saw a G.I., who very helpfully told me that it happens to a lot of women around my age, there's no cure and it may go away one day as quickly as it arrived. OR it may never go away. Regardless, I can take some over-the-counter meds and I should be fine.

I bought these meds. They helped a little. I sought some more natural remedies. They worked better. Regardless, I still HAD to take these meds, in conjunction, every day or I would not be able to go normally. Even WITH the meds, I would still have alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation. They always seemed to come at inopportune times, though I don't know when an opportune time to have these problems is.

I was concerned about having to take meds every day and wondered what they were doing to my system. I called the G.I. He said it was fine. Nothing to worry about. I asked my OBGYN. She also said it was “probably” nothing to worry about.

Flash forward two years later, I am still having these issues, still taking the meds every day, and the pain when I have problems has gotten worse. I have also seen some blood. I was getting ready to go on a whirlwind tour of Seattle G.I.s and, possibly even a naturopath when Brugos' friend Joey saw me taking my meds and asked me about them.

She told me she had the same problem several years ago. She developed this problem after a year of having taken antibiotics. For me, this triggered a memory. I had an unusual number of UTIs the year before developing IBS and had taken a lot of antibiotics for them.

She went on a treatment of probiotics (the opposite of ANTI! HA!) and had eliminated sugar and yeast for a month. This had re-developed the bacteria necessary for normal digestion into her body and she hasn't had a problem since.

I jumped all over the prospect of being rid of this issue. No sugar or yeast will be a nightmare for me, especially since I don't eat meat, but I am willing to try anything once if it means having a normal digestive system once again.

So here I am, Day One. I haven't had any sugar or yeast in almost 24 hours now. I am feeling a bit light-headed and kind of hungry. I am going to the store after work to stock up on beans, potatoes, low-sugar fruits and nuts. I may lose some weight over the course of this month. Especially since I can't drink wine, beer or cocktails either.

It's about to get weird. But, hopefully, it's for the best.

Weekend Recap

FRIDAY

After pre-cleansing our bodies with a nice, big salad, B. and I attended a wine and cheese party at his friend's house. We were both still a bit rough-around-the-edges from having gone out the night before so we didn't last too long, but we managed to socialize till a respectable 12:45, before heading home to bed.

SATURDAY

Too much cheese + IBS = pain. I woke up in the middle of the night with my tummy not very happy with me. The problem continued to plague me throughout the day. Regardless, I was able to be out and about. We brunched at my favorite restaurant (food-wise…not as much atmosphere), The Vegetarian Bistro. The other attendees seemed dubious but agreed to try all-veg dim sum because the meat-loving B. attested to its deliciousness. They all seemed to be pretty happy with the outcome, apart from Darsh who was mortified to discover the abundance of mushrooms in everything.

Next, Andrea drove Brugos and me to the opening of the Sculpture Park. It was a lovely day and we wanted to be outside. This was the best idea we had for doing so. The park was pretty neat, but also packed with people (and guys in dog suits schilling for Target). It will be nice to go back once the fanfare has died down.

We returned to my apartment to rest and pick up some movies for Brad's DVD night. I chose 6 titles from which the group could decide at a later date.

The bus to Wallingford took forever and my stomach was not happy enough to allow me to walk very far. We finally arrived with enough time to play some Cattan before everyone else got there. Brugos cleaned up this particular island.

The Brit Boys, and Elle arrived, and later Justin and Steve and some people who's names I can't remember. We ended up officially watching “Cannibal! The Musical” and “Brain Candy” and unofficially watching parts of “Bloodrayne” and “Jaws 3” on TV. Later, I slept through most of “Bubba Ho-Tep” on TV. By then, my stomach was taking no prisoners and it hurt to move.

We thankfully got a ride home from Elle at 2am and said goodbye to the Brit Boys, who were very fun to hang out with.

SUNDAY

The medicine kicked in and I woke up with my stomach issues all but (temporarily) taken care of. I was given some great advice from Brugos' friend, however, on how to possibly cure my problem. I am starting a month-long pro-biotics/no sugar or yeast diet. It's going to be very difficult but will hopefully re-balance my system and get rid of this IBS once and for all.

ANYWHO, after breakfast and loads of sitting around, we organized a little game night with the Boobergs and the Brunswicks. We hopped on a bus to the Hill and picked up some ice cream and wine for my last meal of sorts. The Boobergs brought over some delicious brownies as well.

We played Apples to Apples, Uno and Dominoes. I had never played Dominoes, other than to set them up and knock them down. It was actually pretty fun, even though it's centered around luck-of-the-draw and quick math: two things I'm patently lousy at.

Fresh Meat

So says the myspace: Tired of those same old 55 questions about me surveys? Well here are 55 I guarantee you've never answered.

1. Is your second toe longer than your first? No.

2. Do you have a favorite type of pen? black gel pens or ultra fine point sharpees.

3. Look at your planner for March 14, what are you doing? I'm going to be in Austin at SXSW so I will probably be drunk at noon and going to shows.

4. What color are your toenails usually? Toenail-coloured.

5. What was the last thing you highlighted? A holiday in my day planner.

6. What color are your bedroom curtains? White venetian blinds.

7. What color are the seats in your car? My seat is lily white.

8. Have you ever had a black and white cat? Nope. They've all been tortoise shell or ginger.

9. What is the last thing you put a stamp on? Christmas card.

10. Do you know anyone who lives in Wyoming? Negative.

11. Why did you withdraw cash from the ATM the last time? To have cash.

12. Who is the last baby that you held? Dom's niece.

13. Do you know any twins with rhyming names? I don't know any twins. Which is good because they give me the creeps.

14. Do you like cinnamon tooth paste? Never heard of it but it doesn't sound so bad. I enjoy cinnamon dental floss.

15. What kind of car were you driving 2 years ago? No car.

16. Pick one: Miami Hurricanes or Florida Gators? I don't even know what sport you're talking about.

17. Last time you went to Six Flags? Once when I was 8.

16. Do you have wall paper in your house? No.

19. Closest thing to you that is yellow? Legal pad.

20. Last person to give you a business card? My supervisor.

21. Who is the last person you wrote a check to? My landlord.

22. Closest framed picture to you? No framed pictures in my cube. Just photos tacked to the wall.

23. Last time you had someone cook for you? Brugos made me soup when I was sick.

24. Have you ever applied for welfare? No. I tried to get unemployment once but they said I hadn't been working there long enough.

25. How many emails do you have? I'm all caught up. That's why I'm doing a meme.

26. Last time you received flowers? It's been a very long time. It might have been when Neil died. That's ok though. I think flowers are a waste.

27. Do you think the sanctity of marriage is meant for only a man and a woman? Trick question. There's no such thing as sanctity. PS: I HAVE answered this question before, meme!

29. Do you play air guitar? Does Guitar Hero count?

30. Do you take anything in your coffee? Cream if necessary.

31. Do you have any Willow Tree figurines? Likely not since I don't know what they are.

32. What is your high school's rival mascot? Our rival was St. Christophers. I don't remember their mascot. My distaste for sports started in high school.

33. Last person you spoke to from high school?

34. Last time you used hand sanitizer? Camping?

35. Would you like to learn to play the drums? Sure.

36. What color are the blinds in your living room? Same as bedroom.

37. What is in your inbox at work? Since it's forwarded to my gmail, lost of emails that aren't work-related. Also many emails that are work related.

38. Last thing you read in the newspaper? I haven't read anything but the headlines in a long time. I prefer the internets.

39. What was the last pageant you attended? A Christmas Carol in middle school.

40. What is the last place you bought pizza from? Wherever that pizza I ate on Monday was from.

41. Have you ever worn a crown? A Burger King crown.

42. What is the last thing you stapled? An intern resume to an application.

43. Did you ever drink Clear Pepsi? Once. For curiosity's sake. It did not make me feel any more refreshed.

44. Are you ticklish? Yes. In weird places.

45. Last time you saw fireworks? New Years Eve.

46. Last time you had a Krispey Kreme doughnut? It's been years. I foresee never eating one again. I think they're revolting.

47. Who is the last person that left you a message & you actually returned their call? Eh…Ryan?

48. Last time you parked under a carport? Personally, never.

49. Do you have a black dog? No.

50. Do you have any pickles in your fridge? Why, yes.

51. Are you an aunt or uncle? No.

52. Who has the prettiest eyes that you know of? My baby.

53. Last time you saw a semi truck? In The Hitcher, a new film from Rogue Pictures starring Sean Bean.

54. Do you remember Ugly Kid Joe? Indeed. I sang “I Hate Everything About You” karaoke recently. I did fairly well, but stumbled over the fast-talking part which I'd forgotten about.

55. Do you have a little black dress? Most of my wardrobe is little and black.