Way back when I started this adventure in, like, April, I always knew not smoking would be really hard under very specific circumstances–a diverticulitis flareup.
And then that happened.
So, diverticulitis is fucking obnoxious as hell. Quick medical science lesson: Little pockets known as diverticula can form in the lining of your intestine and this condition is known as diverticulosis. Diverticulosis is not uncommon and is much more common the older you get–over half of Americans over age 60 have it. A much smaller proportion of people with diverticulosis (10-25%) will end up with an infection in those pockets, and this infection is known as diverticulitis. Diverticulosis is not super common in those under age 40 (maybe 10% or less of the population), and diverticulitis is very uncommon in those under 40.
But you guys already know I’m special so you know what’s coming, right?
By the time I had a colonoscopy in my late 20s (a completely unglamorous but very medically necessary occurrence sometimes) for what ended up being chronic IBS, diverticula were already apparent, and my first case of the actual infection, diverticulitis, was at the ripe old age of 33.
What can I say? I’m an overachiever when it comes to uncommonly early medical issues.
And what’s super fabulous is that diverticulitis is one of those things that we just don’t know enough about, and recent studies have negated more traditional ideas about its causes (low-fiber diets, seeds/nuts) and treatment/complications (it must always be treated with antibiotics). But the complications can actually be deadly–the infection can get so bad, the pockets can rupture and then you run the risk of sepsis. And the common wisdom is that the younger you get it, the worse it usually is and the more likely you are to have recurrent flareups (it’s not totally uncommon for someone to only have one incidence of infection).
So when I got it so young and so bad, everyone lost their collective minds basically. I was given nuclear-strength antibiotics and was forced to wean my twins cold-turkey that day because I couldn’t take the meds while nursing and it was a SUPREMELY awful experience for all of us. Then the fucking infection came back a month later because life. So I was sent back to the specialist and there was lots of talk of surgery because of my age and the severity and likelihood of it continuing to be a major issue. But because my PCP had given me antibiotics both times, the usual protocol, it was hard for my gastroenterologist to properly see what was going on on the CT scan, and he wanted hard verification of diverticulitis in the same location a certain number of times before considering surgery. So it became this game of wait to feel awful, race in for a CT ASAP, hope it showed a bad enough infection in the same exact location to satisfy my gastro, take the antibiotics, rinse, repeat.
And you know what? I eventually just said fuck ALLLLLLLLLL that.
The more research I did, the more it became apparent that the necessity of bowel resection surgery in someone my age with recurrent flareups, as well as the use of antibiotics every time, look to be going the way of the traditional assumptions I mentioned earlier anyway, and my personal experience has certainly supported the idea that chronic flareups can be managed without antibiotics. Because taking hardcore antibiotics several times a year for several years certainly didn’t do my fucking GI tract any favours in general. And since the strong connection between gut bacteria and mental health is becoming more and more apparent, I’m also wondering how much that may have come into play with my serious downward spiral these past few years.
So what do I do when it flares, which is usually a few times a year? Well, I immediately stop eating anything with fiber, stop eating much in general, drink lots of fluids, and suffer for about a week.
And while I’m suffering?
I fucking smoke pot, godsdammit, because it fucking helps. A LOT.
Anyway, all of this, then, is to say that my name is Keri and I’ve been smoking pot daily for almost a week now and it’s been hugely helpful and also not ultimately helpful at all.
So this is me keeping it real by telling all of you. I’m finally feeling better and starting today, I will be going back to teetotaling it concerning pot. And funny that I just inadvertently chose to use a word generally associated with alcohol because this is not the first diverticulitis flareup that’s happened shortly after drinking alcohol after not for a long time (because alcohol and my IBS are not friends). So it’ll be sober good times, all the times for me going forward for however long I can keep it up (just being realistic here).
And to top it all off, we seem to have finally this week diagnosed The Goblin Queen’s chronic tummy/chest/throat pain as fucking GERD. GAH. My poor girl. So more meds and diet modification for her, but the good news is that it’s already helping immensely, so super lame but also yay?
So that’s the update. I felt awful physically, so I smoked pot, and then I felt depressed that I felt so awful, so I smoked more pot, and then I felt horrifically wretched that my girl has obviously been suffering so badly, so I just kept smoking pot.
Linear this journey most certainly is not.
But now full sobriety is back on the agenda, as well as more exercise because this whole weight-loss journey is also not happening in a linear fashion.
Because, seriously, why does it always seem totally reasonable in the moment to start eating crap again as soon as you start losing weight?
So here’s to probiotics, low-acid foods, and sobriety, bitches.