10 Words or Less

^ enjoying a haircut I don't have to brush ^

^ seemingly unseasonal ^

^ finally done with Chinese herbs for stomach issues ^

Feral cat
^ in preparation for 10/16, National Feral Cat Day ^

^ vintage tiger pin from local skate boutique ^


  1. How are your stomach issues? I'd be curious to hear more about your struggle, if you're not totally sick of talking about it. Plus, new haircut: hella cute!

    1. I didn't want to do a whole post about it but I'm happy to write about it in the comments! We think it was post-flu idiopathic gastroparesis. (Gastroparesis is when your stomach motility stops working so food just sits there. That's why I was always full and had acid reflux aka always burping!) I had two flus last year - one in Oct and one in Jan. My symptoms started in Nov and I thought I just had a holdover stomach flu. I was always taking ginger, etc but I could still eat. By January I was cutting down on the amount I ate (including skipping dinners) because it hurt my stomach/made me wake up with a weird metallic taste in my mouth. I was also training to run a 10 miler...and didn't realize how much weight I was losing until Feb/March...and then it was just going downhill fast. I didn't realize how serious it would become.

      They seem to know that the flu can somehow create an occurrence of gastroparesis but not why it does. There is no real western med treatment for gastroparesis except some prokinetic meds that have possible neurological side effects. Thankfully my GI refused to put me on them, although at the time I really wanted ANYTHING that would help relieve me of what I was going through.

      One of the things I did NOT know about stomach issues is that your gut produces 80%+ of the serotonin in your body. After I'd been sick for some time, my moods started to plummet. I had the perfect storm of being followed by some creep on the subway at this time...and while I normally wouldn't have responded with anxiety my exhausted body totally shut down and it kicked off anxiety issues. I had to start seeing a CBT therapist so I could even get on the subway again. I have NO doubt that was totally connected to my physical shape because the better my stomach worked, the less mood swings and anxiety I had but it was a bad Catch 22 and I after dealing with it for a month (I have NEVER experienced anxiety like that in my life and have a new understanding and empathy for folks who suffer from a wonky parasympathetic nervous system - it is no joke) I finally agreed to use some medication to deal with it and that made a big difference. Thankfully I was able to get back to completely normal after a few months.


    2. As for the actual stomach symptoms, friends recommended acupuncture. My one friend, S, actually showed up at my apartment and made an appointment for me with her acupuncturist who lives a block away from me. And walked me over there. I cried on the table because I'd gotten so skinny and I was a depressed, anxious mess -- and almost suicidal, really. I didn't want to die but I felt like if I had to live that way forever (exhausted, crying while force feeding myself, not able to walk around by myself, etc), then I wanted to die. It seems crazy to think about it now but I was preparing in case I was hospitalized and I died in the hospital (I was 3 pounds away from hospital intervention).

      The only improvement I'd felt was on the acupuncture table but only the day of acupuncture. Thankfully I got there just at the 6 month mark of getting symptoms because that's really the cut-off to having a better chance of a good response to it. (There are actually some clinical trials re acupuncture and gastroparesis so it is partially covered by insurance for me.) Someone on FB suggested a Chinese herbalist after I'd been doing acupuncture for a while and through FB friends I found someone close to me (I could barely walk around at that point and my boyfriend had to bring me to all dr appts) and that, coupled with the accupuncture, really stimulated movement in my stomach. I did several months of that and several months of acupuncture 2x per week. Now I'm down to acupuncture once per week and pretty much almost back to normal.

      I worked with a General Practitioner throughout (to do food allergy testing, monthly weigh ins, check in re any possible causes like auto-immune issues and also to test my albumin to make sure the limited eating didn't make me malnourished). I also worked with a vegan-friendly nutritionist throughout (still with her!) who devised an elimination diet and meal plan for me to try to get me to force-feed increasing numbers of calories with food that would be easiest for my stomach to digest. It was a lot of appointments!

      I had to work from home for 2 months straight, cancel all work travel (3 trips) and see doctors several times per week. I was instructed to bring crackers if I wanted to walk around the park because I couldn't afford to lose the calories from a slow 3 mile walk.

      I have never experienced something so scary in my life, honestly. If not for eastern medicine and a psychiatrist to address the serotonin issues I don't know where I'd be.

  2. I have to rush to catch a ferry but I so curious to read your posting and thanks for replying to my nosy questions and I'm really happy you've got your health back <3

  3. Oh my goodness Jesse. I had read a bit about your stomach issues but I had no idea. So happy to hear that you're on the mend. I also had a stint of depression and anxiety but mine due to some medication I was taking a couple of years ago...and man it is like a physical sadness I have really never known and made me deeply sympathetic to those who suffer from this constantly. I can't imagine.

    Keep taking care of yourself xoxoxo.


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