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Thursday
Oct212010

Focus on Pooping

It was inevitable. It was to be expected. 

A post about poop.

I have colon cancer for God's sake. Talking about poop is imperative, and I'm going to do it. I almost named my blog "Focus on Pooping," so if this topic is starting to gross you out, give thanks that I went with WunderGlo.

Anyway, back to the subject. Pooping is incredibly important, as you well know. But it's not just about function -- it's about form, too. For months before getting diagnosed, I knew my bowel movements were...not anything to write home about. Don't get me wrong -- they were regular, they weren't painful, and blood never made a cameo at any of my toilet appearances. But still...the poop just wasn't pretty. I chalked it up to stress, a tough exercise regimen, spicy foods I took pleasure in eating, etc. I felt fine and strong and healthy, so I simply ignored the less than spectacular quality of my poop and went about my days. But the problems persisted.

Lesson Number One for my dear readers (you deserve a lesson or at least some kind of a treat after bearing with me during this post so far): if your poop is even slightly disturbing, and it persists for a period that extends past weeks into months (like mine did), you need to go see a GI doctor and demand a colonoscopy. I don't care how old you are or what insurance says, etc. Demand a colonoscopy. They give you great drugs so you won't even remember it, so don't stress. Just get one.

After a week of being in the hospital, nauseous and vomitty (I'm going to go ahead and treat "vomitty" as a word) and quite distended in the belly (essentially, I looked like I was with child), the docs finally figured out exactly what was up with me only after a colonoscopy. A large cancerous mass in my colon was pretty much making solid poop an impossibility, which explained the prior months of my unfortunate performances in the bathroom. 

Right after surgery, pooping was the only thing standing between me and a diet of solid foods. And after nearly two weeks of no food or ice chips or clear liquids, I wanted those solid foods BADLY. It wasn't easy, and it wasn't pretty, but my digestive system woke up and started doing its thing. And it kept improving every day. Until it became the glorious thing that it is at the present moment.

These days, now that 1) the mysteries of my bowels have been solved, 2) Dr. Ramos skillfully snip snipped out part of my colon and any other intestinny areas (yeah, that'll be a word, too) where a potential blockage looked remotely possible, and 3) my body started functioning without the burden of a blockage, I can't get enough of my poop. To put it lightly, my poops are AWESOME. I examine my movements of bowel every day. I call others over to see. Sometimes, I take photos. Always, I rejoice.

Today, poop is one of the key indicators of my overall health. A good, wholly formed piece of waste means this WunderGlo's intestines are open and clear, without a blockage in sight, just as they should be. It means that whatever tumors I've got left in my abdominal cavity have not thrown a wrench in my GI happenings, which is also great. It also means that, so far, the GI-related side effects of chemo have not reared their ugly heads. (Speaking of chemo side effects, today is Day 4 and I haven't experienced any of them. Sweet!)

We all make jokes about poop, but bowel movements are crucial to me these days and they should probably be crucial to you, too. This, however, does NOT mean that we should stop making jokes about poop. By all means, continue. 

Lesson Number Two (which is, I'll admit, similar to Lesson Number One, but don't hold that against me): pay attention to your poop. And, if you want, pay attention to mine. I make masterpieces every day.

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