I still ordered the gluten free options. I couldn’t bring myself to go back to eating gluten yet after everything I had read decrying it as a gut inflammatory with huge negative consequences. So that week I ordered the gluten free burger and in my starved condition it was simply delicious. And I ordered the gluten free waffles, which were like tasteless cardboard. But smothered in butter and honey they were divine to me at the time! And I ordered the gluten free brownie for dessert! The only sugar I had eaten in the past few weeks was from honey and fruit. So the brownie was supremely satisfying to my sugar deprived brain that was so addicted to refined sugar and chocolate (as I would guess most people in America are.) After that I ordered dessert at every meal! And at breakfast I ordered the blueberry muffins with my eggs.
But my guts were just screaming at me. As I trusted the doctor and kept eating, my guts constantly bloated, and my severely painful bowel movements came every two hours. Only heavy doses of drugs were enabling me to make it through the days without total agony all the time. By the time Saturday morning rolled around, I felt I was going insane. My hospital bed felt like the sleeping bag of my youth that my brother would trap me inside of kicking and screaming. The repetitive life of lying in a hospital bed, being prodded and poked with needles all day and all night, and constantly moving from bed to toilet in severe pain, all took a huge toll on my mental and emotional state. I never left my room once that entire week.
It was an extreme challenge to be happy some moments. But my weight was going up! And that was motivating. And I did feel a bit more strength every day. And finally by Saturday the Doctors and my wife and I all agreed I could go home. Nan was hesitant and scared though, unsure how she would care for me at home on her own. I appeared to be on the recovery path…kind of. And I really did think I would go crazy if I stayed there another day. It didn’t seem they were doing anything for me anymore. I could take the pain pills at home if I needed them.
That morning Nan came and rescued me and took me home.
I posted this the next day on Facebook:
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October 21, 2012
I gained a few pounds in the hospital this week and I’m seeing slow forward progress. I think I am on the recovery path. Though from where I stand it looks like a pretty long path.
The hospital stay was a blessing. But after 6 days in 1 small room dragging my IV between the bed and the bathroom…I thought I might go insane.
Yesterday morning at the hospital was one of the lowest feeling times in life I can remember. I was becoming overcome with negativity and discouragement despite the progress during the week. All I was seeing was a pretty bleak life for some reason.
But my angel wife Nan came and rescued me. And thankfully I came home last night. Home sweet home has never meant more than yesterday. My 4 year old Ali couldn’t stop hugging me and her beaming smile and love felt so amazing.
So now I will keep taking one shuffle step forward at a time, until I am back to taking normal steps…and then running free again. 2 months ago I ran a personal best of a 4:37 mile. I will be running again someday. For now I’ll be taking a bunch of pills and pain meds and doing my best to find the good in and make the most of each moment I have.
Thank you all so much for your loving, positive thoughts, prayers, and energy toward me and my family. We feel it and are so grateful.
This promise lifts my soul and carries me in the darker moments:
“Hast thou not heard that the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding.
He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary…
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”[/features_box_light_blue]
Reading that passage now brings tears to my eyes. I can’t help feeling overcome with gratitude at God’s grace and mercy. I love that promise. I know it is real. I have witnessed it over and over in my life. Now I fainted almost daily every time I walked. And I certainly wasn’t running anywhere anymore, let alone doing it without being weary. Yet running was such a fulfilling and positive part of my life. So trusting in this promise gave me hope. I believed deeply that it was true, and that I would run again, and walk and not faint.
[headline_tahoma_medium_centered color=”#000000″]Chicken and Clay[/headline_tahoma_medium_centered]
But I still had no clue how that was going to happen. Or what I needed to do. When I got home from the hospital, a new book had arrived in the mail called “Restoring Your Digestive Health” By Jordan Rubin and another Doctor. It contained more specific recommendations tailored specifically to my diagnosed disease, and the only option I saw was to give it another shot. I still couldn’t bring myself to believe the GI Doctors and just eat anything and everything. My heart just wouldn’t allow me to believe them yet.
So I started in earnest the next day doing a 14 day cleanse eating nothing but chicken soup, mineral water, and liquid clay (bentonite).
Every night I had my family shut the door to my ‘suite’: a sound proof living room addition at the back of our house where I was sleeping. That way nobody would hear me screaming and moaning all night long with every bowel movement. Very quickly I started noticing improvement in my stools thought. No less pain or moaning or screaming, but they thickened up.
On October 24th I was feeling enough energy to stand up for a bit, and I asked my friend Eric to take some pictures of my deterioration for posterity. I thought surely I couldn’t get much skinnier than this and I hoped I was at my lowest point.
I happened to have taken some pictures just three months prior as part of a before/after series of photos I had started in 2009 when I was 30 pounds overweight and needing some motivation. I had no idea when I took these ‘after’ pictures in July that they would become ‘before’ pictures in a new disease progression.
The next day I wrote this on Facebook:
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October 25, 2012
It’s hard to know how my body is doing right now. Everything is so cyclical I often can’t tell whether I’m getting better or worse. Yesterday I felt better all day than I have in a long time. I was still in bed all day, but not in much pain and able to work on things and be productive. It felt good.
Then last night I was in extreme pain off and on throughout the night and no amount of Percocet seemed to be helping anything. It was really rough. I’m getting a slight reprieve from the pain this morning. But this is such a crazy, intense, persistent challenge. It’s hard to describe. It’s a big roller coaster…but not the fun kind.
But somehow I know it has to pass. I know I’ll get beyond this and be better because of it. And meanwhile, I’m going to do my best each day to heal. And I’m going to do my best to make the best of my situation.
My firm belief is that this is a Truly Amazing Life. Even despite the current struggle I am in. And this belief has been put to the test for me nearly daily for the past 3 months. And it continues to pass every test.
I am in the thick of the battle right now with a disease that is trying to take me down. But I am determined more than ever to live to the fullest and continue my mission of helping others live fully.
Thanks again for all your prayers and support for me and my family in this intensely difficult time! I feel so blessed by it all.[/features_box_light_blue]
My morning breakfast on Thursday October 25th: 5 partial spoonfuls of chicken soup and 2 tablespoons of clay.
Certainly the soup had been deliciously prepared by my angel wife, but my body didn’t go for it. I felt like heaving just thinking about eating it. Still on the 8 to 10 pound per week pace of losing weight, I was literally starving to death. I knew this couldn’t last.
So I force fed the chicken soup for the 5th day in a row. But I couldn’t get much down. Finally that night I cracked. It had been four days of nothing but chicken soup and liquid clay. This was the cleansing part of the latest diet I read about in Jordan Rubin’s book, and I was supposed to be improving. But I wasn’t.
In fact the pain during bowel movements was worse than 4 days earlier. I couldn’t do it anymore. The bowel movements were runnier and more painful, not the other way around. So I quit. I asked Nan to just get me some normal food. I can’t remember what I ate that night, but I do remember it being supremely satisfying. That morning was the last time I kept track of my food, totally burned out after tracking it for nearly two months and finding zero improvement.
The next day I called my Gastroenterologist and amazingly got in to see him that day at 2 p.m.
He scolded me for not eating and told me to start eating anything and everything I could. I was beyond tired of trying to figure out what to eat and starving myself anyway, so despite the fact that I still couldn’t logically agree with him, I decided to take him up on it. I couldn’t argue with his assessment that I was starving myself.
After the appointment Nan picked me up a huge, juicy burger. I lay down sideways on the bench in the front lobby of the Doctors office (my butt in way too much pain to sit up), loaded on a packet of High Fructose Corn Ketchup and mustard, and went to town. “Who cares how bad this hurts coming out! It couldn’t be worse than the burning I already have. And even if is, I’m done starving myself!” Then I devoured the sweet potato fries with only one lament: I was out of high fructose fake tomato sugar to dump all over them.
“Mmmmmmmmmm! Food!! What an amazing concept!”