Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Gastroparesis and a shrinking mCat

My mom can't be the only one noticing that I have lost weight.  In fact, there have been a few sidelong glances and some awkward questions.

Yes, I have lost weight.  Unfortunately TOO much weight.

For a couple of years, I have held a steady 118 - 122 weight range.

Then right after the Riverton Half, I started feeling sick.  Complete loss of appetite, pain when I eat, no cravings, and kinda just blah.  Nothing ever sounded good, and even when I thought about my favorite foods, I felt nauseous.

Family doctor ordered a test and if it came back normal, said to see a Gastro specialist.  While I was there for the original procedure, the blessed GI doc decided to do another one while I was under.

Upper GI with Colonoscopy.  I know right?  From top to bottom literally.  In addition different blood tests to rule out other GI related diseases.

In the end, everything appeared normal, so an actual consult with the Gastroenterologist was next.  After spending some time talking, reviewing my labs and tests, and going over history - she issued her diagnosis.

Basically, a paralyzing of the nerves in the stomach causing slow stomach emptying.  Thus, the myriad of symptoms.  In my particular case, we're aren't sure what caused it.  Sometimes it can be triggered by a stomach virus, or it is triggered in diabetics, but I'm not diabetic and can't remember a stomach bug - kinda stymied.

So now what?  Between Splenda Daddy and me, we have throroughly researched this.  Like COMPLETELY.  We've read articles, medical sites, books.  All tend to give the same information, which is reassuring in one sense - but since it's vague and very personalized, doesn't give a whole lot of concrete answers.

What we do know:
The paralyzation could be permanent or could suddenly heal itself.
It's a real thing and affects more people than I ever realized. (I had never even heard of it)
There are some underlying similarities in all cases, but significant differing responses to a variety of treatments.
There is no medication to take for a cure.
Diet is now key and it goes against anything I ever thought would be healthy.
What works one day, may not work the next so frustration is huge and there is never a SURE answer with anything.

The diet is basically anything easily digestible.  No raw or dried fruits, or veggies.  No extra fiber.  Very low fat.  Easy on the meat, especially red meat.  All food needs to be chewed to virtually a liquid state.  Some days, are simply just liquid diet days.  And above all else, very small portions.  
Ideally, one would eat 6 smaller meals a day, however if food doesn't sound good, it's very hard to force oneself to eat.  Sometimes a particular thing suddenly looks and smells so good but just knowing the pain it will cause to eat it is enough to make me pass.  Sometimes, I just deal with the pain after a meal because I know I need the nutrition and calories.

So without trying, I have watched my weight slip down to (as of this morning) 105.

That's too little.  The biggest problem?  Having enough fuel and energy to run and do the things I love.  Try as I might, it's hard to get enough calories to function.  Maybe that's why my bed is so appealing, and I find myself sleeping alot.  I think I am going to become one of those little old ladies drinking her Ensure every morning.  How pathetic is that?

Anywhoodle - there you are.  
The unasked question has been answered.  No eating disorder.  No terminal illness.  

Just a paralyzed stomach

Monday, July 30, 2012

A post full of pictures

I snapped a bunch of pics over the past 5 days with no apparent meaning or purpose other than I saw an opportunity.


Chloee in the car on the way home from the airport - new thing.....meditating

A spectacular sunset 

Pure happiness with Uncle Tuffy after a dinner at Texas Roadhouse - who doesn't feel that happy after eating there?

Ceremonial fire and burning of crap

Lovin Aunt 'Tana and Jace

Time spent with life long buddies

The Primary torch run

A shot of Jordan that my DILove took and texted to me.  

A promised gift from Poppa to Chlo

Love notes left behind by these two:

After court. 
Incredibly proud of my kids!

The darn ride back to the airport

The hated good-bye's at the curb.

Thankful for the quick visit.  Thankful for my awesome kids.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Moab 2012 - Got water?

Time for the annual pilgrimage to the beloved Moab located in the southeastern desert of the great state of Utah.  I use the term annual loosely since this was really only my second trip.  Montana and her fam have been going for 6 years or so, Splenda and I found ourselves invited last year, and was thrilled to be offered the invite again this year.  Daddy couldn't spare any more time off since we have trips later in the year, but me, being the part time party girl, was game.  Tuffy also couldn't take off time so Montana and I were officially a couple!!
(view from the front of the house)

Headed down Tuesday morning and after getting settled in the house and dinner consumed, the next order of business was the traditional hike to Delicate Arch at sunset.

(someone kifed my camera)

The hike back was in the dark with headlamps and other than a squashed frog, compliments of Kyle, everyone made it back safe.

Day two was RIVER RAFTING!!

This year we started further up the Colorado in hopes of hitting more rapids, but the water level was low, that there wasn't much movement at all.  Instead we spent much of the time in the heat of the battle of water fights!

It was so much fun and one of the highlights of the week!
And even though I did get a quick 4 miler in that morning, I was more sore from sitting astride the raft.  Oy vay!

Later that evening, I was determined to find the arch that had been named after my Great Grandfather.  Lopez Arch.  It was originally named Baby Arch since it is one of the smallest in the area, but my Great Grandfather Fermin R. Lopez was the first Spanish cowboy and settled the area as a rancher.
Unfortunately, Montana and I started the search a little late in the day and was going off of some directions posted on a blog.

There are no markers or trail, so we pulled off the side of the road into a small turnout.  Climbed underneath a fence and then began tromping around.  Once it started getting dark and we didn't have headlamps, we decided to give up and head back.  Just as I turned to look once more, I saw it!  I can't believe I had missed it before.  I was determined to come back later in the week earlier in the day and hike to the actual arch and get good pictures.

as close as I could get

view from the arch looking back at where I had hiked from.  You can see my cooper waaaaaay back in the distance

View to the south.  I imagined my ancestors here and what they saw and did

Looking at the slick rock I had scrambled over

It's little, but it's BEAUTIFUL!

Although I enjoyed the solo hike and being alone with my thoughts of my ancestors, it made for getting a crappy self portrait

The next day we did a fabulous hike to Fisher Towers

Hunter, Andy, Devin, Noel and Dayton

Okay, they aren't hiking shoes, but my trusty Mizuno Elixer's pulled through for me

Later that day, some of the group went to Ken's Lake and the water falls (see last year's post) but the lake was extremely low and icky.  The falls were cold and it was raining so I just hid under a rock and watched everyone else have fun.

Next day was the Negro Bill hike and Morning Glory Arch


There's fish in there


Rapellers from the arch

Lot's of poison ivy

Fresh water for us to fill up our water bottles

And Dev the brave one with the crawdad!

At one point, in one of the evenings, we did the traditional Indian's ladder.  This year, I wasn't feelin it to clambor up it, but we still had a fun time watching everyone else
Me, Montana, Hunter in the back, Dana and Grandpa Larry Lawrence

The highlight hike for me was Devil's Garden.  It is inside Arches Ntl Park so in order to save the 10 bucks a carload, we waited until 7pm to enter the park.  That meant we started the hike later in the evening.  Great for temps, not so great for light - but hands down, my favorite hike of the trip

Look at the half Christmas tree

No, REALLY look at it.  Cool huh?

And now you can see the storm clouds rolling in.....

The storm got closer

And then we lost all light.  With headlamps on, we turned to make our way back.  Soon, there was lightening off in the distance which made us hurry along.  At one point there is a narrow ridge that we needed to cross.  Picture us sprinting while praying that lightening didn't strike any of us!

We made it safely down the trail but of course, during all this running, I had kept my balance, yet at about 100 yards from the parking lot, I totally BIFFED it!  I was first worried I had hurt my knee (amazing what goes through your mind  as a runner - please not my legs!)

Turns out, just scraped up and bruised.

Saturday turned out to be a quiet day for me.  I was all hiked out.  Instead, I layed in the back yard getting some sun, playing cards, shopping in town, and then playing games with everyone.  Such a perfect last night.

Sunday is check out day, and one of the things I love most about this family is that they make sure to have a spiritual lesson before dispersing.  Dayton did a fantastic job using the analogy of water, and hiking and the need for water to avoid death.  He challenged us to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year and then opened it up for testimonies.  Seriously?  How cool is this?

I loved hearing the thoughts shared, the feelings of love in the room and since then have been thinking about the things we learned and shared.

Got water?  Noel was teasingly called the water nazi.  Didn't matter what hike we were on, if we passed other hikers, his first question to them (after a cordial greeting) was "You got enough water?"
Everyone told him they were good and then moved on.
At one point I thought, what would he do if someone told him no and that they needed water?
He was well prepared with a full camelback and so not only did he have enough for himself but he had enough to share.  And, he was eager and willing to share.

I started thinking about the water representing so many different things.  Testimony, kindness, forgiveness, happiness.  We need to be prepared and stocked up enough with these things and then be willing and have enough to share with others.  On a trail, all the hikers are in it together. Whether you are traveling as a group or not.  Each person on that trail is vested in the safety of anyone else they come in contact with.

Of course, you see the comparison with life.  This trail/path/road we are traveling is not alone.  We have others who are relying on, waiting for, needing our assistance.  And we are all vested in the safety of others we either travel with or pass along the way.  We need to be prepared with the  water of kindness, forgiveness, charity or testimony.  The trick is to be stocked enough to take care of our own needs and then extra to share.

So another Moab in the books.  Thanks Koons, Johansens, and Bill's for letting me come along.  I truly love every single one of you and have learned so much by your examples.  You enrich my life and I hope I come away a better person by rubbing shoulders (or body sweat) with each of you.

Until 2013.....