Poopity poo poo poop.
Let's talk about poop, baby. Let's talk about you and me. Let's talk about all the good things and the bad things that BMs be.
|That is NOT how it goes.|
There's a stigma surrounding open bowel movement discussions and with my mighty fetid flaming sword, I shall cut down my polite-in-public foes! It's important to know your feces intimately, people. Your fragrant fluffs are some of the loudest messages (pfffft) your body can communicate and in staying silent (but deadly?), you could be denying yourself and your favorite medical professionals valuable information about the state of your health.
Many of you already know I suffer from the always exciting rheumatoid arthritis. Most of you don't know that I also live with another autoimmune issue: ulcerative colitis. It's an inflammatory bowel disease with super fun side effects and in my case, I get flares during stressful periods. My UC symptoms worsen when my RA worsens, usually during the humid (Texas) summer months.
How does it impact my life? I'm very fortunate in that I have less severe symptoms than most because I don't have the common painful abdominal cramps and I am SO thankful for it. I've altered my diet and behaviors to accommodate both conditions and the changes have helped a good deal. Other than that, I'm on some new medications, my bathroom breaks take a little longer than they used to, and my BMs aren't the same beautiful, perfect poos I once had. Ah, those where the days.
My symptoms started almost a year ago. I was going through a particularly difficult and stressful period with work, school, and my personal life. I wasn't sleeping much and I'd managed to bite all of my nails off again (a good indicator of my stress levels, if you were curious). During the first week of the Summer II session, I had the strangest poop of my life. It was the most bizarre pale clay color and...it was bloody and mucus-y.
|I can't even|
This had never happened before. I tried to explain away its ongoing shocking appearance for a couple of weeks before I worked up the courage to tell (and show) The Hubs. He was floored and encouraged me to tell my physician, who immediately pointed me at a gastroenterologist, who promptly scheduled a colonoscopy**. My gastro was 99% sure I had internal hemorrhoids, which would have made for a simple treatment. But, nooooo.
Lesson: look at your fecal matter. Look. At. It. Don't fear it or dismiss troubling poos. The color, texture, floating ability, and smell are all important and they act as indicators. The Bristol Stool Chart is a hand-dandy tool. Do you know what you're eating? Some foods and medications can make your urine and BMs turn colors that even the late 60s would envy. Some foods increase the sense of...urgency. Having a hard time with your plops? Squat like a samurai. Embarrassed of your fragrant friends? PooPourri is an interesting (real) product I haven't tried, but has consistently received rave reviews.
But above all things, look at it and be willing to talk about it. You would be amazed at how many people have the same questions, concerns, and experiences as you. I hope this encourages and empowers you to take accountability for your poos. It's right there, just beneath the surface, waiting to be uncovered and dropped into the (discussion) bowl.
|Talk about it. You got this.|
And now, the embarrassing story, which I will present to you as a series of actions, thoughts, and (non-poop) pictures. I'm telling a story we have all lived in the hopes that you'll laugh at my nonsense and know that you're not alone in the porcelain jungle.
The setup: We got in one night and decided to behave badly and pick up some Jack in the Box tacos on the way home. It's been a while since we've had that kind of junky fast food, so this felt really naughty and fun. I stayed up late to do some homework and only got about 4 hours of sleep. The next morning, I decided to take advantage of the Starbucks gift card my cousin was kind enough to give me for my birthday because I was really tired. I got my ice cold caffeine and started to wrap up my commute to work. Then, 10 minutes from the office...
*singing "wake up" music* "The girls want to be her! The boys want to be her! I wanna be her! So do y--"
Oh no. Oh nonononononono. I'm almost to work, just hang on. Be strong. Concentrate. You can do this. You can d-- no, no I can't.
|Must drive faster, MUSTDRIVEFASTER|
Why is this happening again? Why now? This hasn't happened in months! Things were going so well... C'mon, c'mon, c'mon. Longest light ever. Whyyyyyyy? ...Jack in the Box. Coffee... what was I thinking?? C'mon, c'mon, c'moooooon.
I finally pull into my parking spot and go to plug in my car...
Why isn't this working? Whyisn'tthisworking? What's going on?? Oh no! I forgot my card is broken! I have to use the app! IT'S GOING TO TAKE TOO LONG.
|EFF THIS NOISE|
Plug in the car after you go to the bathroom. Priorities! Gogogogogo!
|Didn't know I could speed walk? Neither did I.|
I'm inside, gogogogo. Oh no. I can feel it. It's coming. I won't make it. I won't make it. What do I do? What do I say? "Sorry boss, gotta go home because I pooed myself"?? Who says that? I can make it, I have to make it. I can ma-
*burst through bathroom door, barely make it to the stall*
PANTS! WHY DO YOU HAVE BUTTONS AND ZIPPERS THAT DON'T WORK I CAN PULL THEM OFF WHY AM I SWEATING
|Good luck eating watermelon ever again.|
|That spells relief.|
Teach me to eat JITB tacos.
** The Colonoscopy Rant: I was pissed that I had just turned 30 and immediately needed a colonoscopy. WTF, body? You figured it was time to completely fall apart when you heard I turned 30? But you know what? If I hadn't been diagnosed, I'd be miserable and in deteriorating health. People with UC have a significantly higher incidence of colon cancer, so I'm totally cool with literally nipping this in the bud. Do not be afraid of having a colonoscopy. Grow up. Your little ego will recover. It is not a violation of your sacred a-hole. You won't even feel it. What you will feel, however, is the day before and that is a story for another day.
This post is in no way a substitute for a chat with your doctor. This isn't medical advice, disclaimer, disclaimer, please don't sue me if you have sad poos, etc.