Day 17: Bedbound

In the last 17 days, I’ve had to change and cancel my plans and come to terms with my present reality once again. It’s never easy having to adapt to the ever-changing nature of your chronic illness but you get better at it. It bothers your less (in general) and when it bothers your too much, you learn how to manage your thoughts and emotions around it without beating yourself up each time.

I’ve had to postpone the starting date of my part-time job, stop working on the classes I had plans of teaching, take a break from Pilates and my daily walks, ask for help with groceries and meals, all so that my body gets the rest it deserves, the space it needs to just be.

What I have been doing instead is tending to my back as much as I can and very religiously sticking to my bedtime and nap-time. I’ve been massaging my back with certain oils that help me, using lots of hot packs, doing very light stretches, a bit of infrared therapy, going for physiotherapy, meditating, making small mandalas while in bed, reading up on the treatment-diet that I am on for SIBO, writing, and for most part of it, trying to be more present

As much as I’d like to do more, I can’t do more right now and that’s something I need to be okay with. I’ll do more when I can do more and for now, whatever I’m doing is enough. I’m going to continue giving my back the time it needs to recover. Once it’s better I’ll have to slowly build myself back to where I was before this crazy flare-up (or before I went to India.)

According to my Naturopath, my back could be taking longer to recover due to the SIBO treatment-diet I’m on. It seems that the treatment can induce a very strong detox process (which is needed for the treatment) in your body, which, if too aggressive can cause more inflammation in the existing areas of inflammation. I only hope what she thinks is true because quite honestly, my back is not a happy bunny right now. At all.

I hope things start to look a little more positive soon.

P.S. If you’re wondering what’s on my SIBO friendly “buddha bowl”:

  1. Boiled Beet root with Olive oil and Lime juice
  2. Stir-fry Spinach with Salt and Pepper
  3. Pan fried egg (I usually have it without the yolk)
  4. Olives
  5. Roasted Tobasco & Ginger Chicken
  6. Indian Spiced Zucchini

Pan Roasted Tobasco Ginger Chicken 

Attempting to eat more protein (I miss my vegetables!), that too with only limited ingredients and condiments has been such a task. I’m going fine though. What sucks big time is that I’m bedridden and so blood exhausted every minute of my day that I’m finding it hard to get my experimental self to work. If I can’t even stand, forget trying to get creative with food. At the moment, my survival mode is on. I just need enough food to get through my day, to take all my pain and daily medications + extra antibiotics and survive. Generally speaking, I’m doing fine. Doing my best.

Update: Week 1 of 2017

It’s been seven days now and I’m still waiting for this back flare up to calm down. I’m mostly bedridden at the moment, getting out of bed only if it’s absolutely necessary. I haven’t gone for Pilates or even stepped out for my daily walks. I also had a pretty bad brain-fog which lasted for a couple of  days.

All in all, it feels like 2017 hasn’t quite begun for me and I’m still stuck in 2016, dealing with the consequences of stepping out for a light dinner with a couple of friends on New Year’s Eve. We got stuck in a bad traffic jam the same night and ended up feeling hungry at the strike of mindnight, which then made us want to get some food by the beach before finally heading home.

I’m always putting my health first and never feel the need to be out or go crazy or involve myself in anything just because that’s normal for people. So once in a rare while, I don’t mind *celebrating an occasion, even if it involves a bit more of my physical energy and dealing with its consequences for a while. Even then – it’s usually pretty low key and I love that.

* if you’re chronically sick and your days revolve around health and constant figuring out/surviving, the more reasons you find to celebrate life in your own ways, the better it is. You don’t need to try and act normal or do it the way “normal” people do it. Just find what works for you and live your kind of normal to its best.

My treatment-diet for SIBO has finally started and I will be starting another round of antibiotics (one dose did nothing for me) next week on. The low FODMAP diet,as a treatment for SIBO, can become rather restrictive/limiting in terms of your food options (especially when you mostly make healthy choices anyway) and can end up frustrating most people on it. It requires you to plan your meals down to each ingredient. Somehow, at least at this point, I’m looking at it as yet another opportunity to further my knowledge in nutrition and to get really creative and experimental with low FODMAPs.

I can be quite disciplined and patient when it comes to my health so I’m not expecting too many issues at this point.  However, I might have to include more meat in my meals and I’m not much of a meat-eater. Let’s see how that goes for me. I think I’m going to miss dark chocolate and chai the most!

I’m trying to keep my meals simply and easy to preprare so they don’t take away too much of my mental and physical energy unnecessarily. I do however want to be capable of preparing quick meals for myself as far as possible. I’ll try to share some of my creations as and when I’m able to.

That’s all for now!

Pan-fried Fish with Ginger and Chives 

I manrinated two fillets and kept them in the fridge and had them over four main meals. It took me a while to marinate and I had to icepack my back right after but the good thing is, once it was done, I was set for the next four meals. The actual pan-frying took me less than 10 minutes. I used Sutchi fillets but you can use any white fish you like.


Marinade:

Finely chopped chives

Finely chopped ginger

Salt + pepper

Lime juice

Olive oil

Method: Marinade the fish fillets and place in an air tight container. Store it in the fridge for at least 5 hours. Cook withtout oil on a non-stick skillet or use a little bit of olive oil if needed. I cooked mine without the extra oil and it turned out just fine.

I have to be honest, it turned out better than I expected. So tender, with the aroma of fresh ginger and chives. I think adding extra lemon juice really helped.


I cooked one whole fillet at once, to have over two meals. There was no way I was going to go through the cooking process twice on the same day with a back flare up this terrible.

Peanut Butter + Strawberry Jam on a Rice Cake 

With my appetite being on the low side for the last few months, and now that I am finally back from a holiday,  I had to find ways to make sure I don’t stuff my body (because my stomach seriously can’t handle it) while ensuring that I am still eating something. 

Any form of grains tend to cause me too much bloating and heaviness in my gut but because I do have other pain medications to take other than just the antibiotics for SIBO, I try to at least have something relatively light and easy on my gut. There’s no SIBO specific diet I need to follow for now. 

Over the last one week or so, I’ve observed that a piece of rice cracker  doesn’t seem to over-bloat me and fills me up just enough to keep my body functioning. It’s been working well for now and plus, there is just no limit to the different toppings you can enjoy it with! 
 

Update : MRI Enterography [1]

On Tuesday, I was at the hospital  from 9:30 am all the way till about 5:00pm to get a couple of  tests done – MRI Enterography and Neck Ultrasound. I was given 45 minutes to down 3 bottles of 450ml each of barium sulphate, a slippery, kind of oily, thick but sort of translucent, dull white liquid. I thought I was doing pretty fine until after about 1.5 bottles, after which, each sip only got harder to swallow. I managed alright, I think. I’ve had worse tasting medicines before. It did seem like I was high on barium sulphate for sometime though.

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The standard procedure for MRI Enterography involves also having a contrast liquid running in your system. It highlights abnormalities and inflammation much clearly and hence is highly recommended. This time round too, like once back in the past, my experience with having a contrast running in me wasn’t exactly pleasant. They struggled to find my veins, thought my veins were too thin, and practically fought to properly insert the needle. After about three failed attempts on my left hand, they tried the same on my right and finally managed to get the contrast going.

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If I were to sum up my experience at the Radiology Department yesterday, I would say it was a total adventure, with prolonged waiting time and misleading information from every person we spoke to. They first got the timing all mixed up and expected us to reach earleir. Then a person told me I might get a diarrhoea after barium sulphate, another said nope, not at all. Another person said constrast was required and someone else said it depends on us. And, my reports, which were supposed to be ready within an hour took almost two hours to be ready instead. Total mess.

After a point, everything got really annoying and I couldn’t wait to get home. Exhaustion and pain simply got worse over the 7.5 hours of being out. I had to collect my daily medicines from another hospital nearby too. Thankfully, dad was around with me through the day.

So, it turns out that my MRI Enterography was normal, no abnormalities in my major organs – so that’s something to celebrate! However, the key question remains – if everything is normal, why am I experiencing all these abnormal sysmtoms?

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Usual answer – we don’t know yet and we must take it one step at a time. I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t get frustrating; you kind of want to know what it is but you also don’t want it to be too serious. It’s then when you realise that you don’t have much of a control, so, you take it one step at a time. One day at a time. One test/scan at a time.

To be continued…