Saturday, February 10, 2018

In The Bathroom Last Night: Stress, Potassium Chloride, and Desserts

Image result for bathroom cramping

Well last evening (Friday night) or this morning depending on how you want to look at it was quite busy for my bowels. For dinner I had some pasta with garlic cheesy bread which was quite tasty and then around 10:30 P.M. I got a craving for some desserts since: I had been tired from the previous week at work, hadn't had dessert in a while, and had worked out earlier in the evening. Typically I have some dessert places I go to but I went to Buccee's last night for an assortment of different goodies (the best way to describe the place is if you mixed a Wal-Mart supercenter with a convenience store. I checked out some desserts and settled on a mini pecan pie, a chocolate chip cookie, and some walnut fudge. I ate the chocolate chip cookie and the walnut fudge and was in dessert heaven feeling quite a high (yes they were that good). Heading into bed I feel this extreme pressure in my stomach that I knew wasn't good (there wasn't much pain more of cramping). Then a few hours later I was in bathroom having multiple bowel movements. At first they started off solid and about an hour or so later they were pretty loose. In my mind I kept wondering when it would end. Well around 2:00 A.M. my bowels were finally empty and I felt amazing with no pain or cramping and was able to go to sleep.

Now the question is what caused this? Honestly it has been many months since I have had a single episode of diarrhea (which I view as quite a significant accomplishment). If I do ever get diarrhea it typically is the week before I take Humira (which this was). This past week at work has been quite busy and I honestly can't remember having as many meetings as I did as this past week. The last item that I believe may have caused the issue was beginning to take potassium chloride. In my last physical my internist mentioned my potassium levels were low and that I either could eat more potassium foods to increase this. However, I tried that and was more open to fill the prescription. Going to my local pharmacy I got my prescription and noticed the prescription for potassium chloride was cheap (it as a generic of course). One thing I did notice was "not to lie down for 30 minutes" on which honestly I thought was interesting since I honestly can't say I have seen that ever written on a prescription. After starting to take the prescription I noticed cramping (which is a side effect that is reported) for many days. On the flip side I was noticing much more energy and felt quite good. I asked my doctor about this (I also had my ears flushed with water to remove wax-it was an all encompassing day) and he mentioned that the generic drug doesn't have as sophisticated delivery system of a time delay release so the medicine will released over time which reduces the burden on the bowels. When I went to refill my prescription for the second time it appears I again got the generic version (this was frustrating). Next week I plan to call my doctor and ask if they can get the name brand or maybe I have to call my insurance company for this.

Today (Saturday) has been pretty relaxing. I had some minor cramping but nothing compared to last night (early this morning). It was surprising today too since I didn't have any bowel movements. The cramping today has been more in the background which isn't too bad. Also I haven't been too hungry either. At any rate it would be good to get the cramp free version of potassium chloride since it does give me more energy than I usually have which can make a big difference.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Cramping/Work Stress and Sleep

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Well it seems as if the holidays are quickly approaching. Currently, I just wrapped up my last day of work for the year and am looking forward to a nice break off (I head back to work after the New Year). I am looking forward to relaxing and enjoying the free time off. Tomorrow I head to my doctor for my annual physical results.

Recently, I have not been able to sleep that well. For no apparent reason I would wake up multiple times in the middle of the night and maybe get something to eat or drink water and then right back to bed. Sunday night is the worst night for sleep since my body is used to staying up late on the weekends plus wondering about what I have at work the next day. Speaking of work it seems this time of year is usually stressful (I work in the financial industry where year end and tax time are stressful). I honestly felt like I was worry about so much and that is what caused me to wake up in the middle of the night for no reason. My sleep has been improving the past couple of nights. However, I still feel tired. Hopefully this nice little vacation will cure that. Also I haven't been working out as well and have gained a little weight and look forward to getting back to that (starting this evening!) 

Most likely due to the lack of sleep I developed some cramping last weekend but it has vanished as I have slept better. The cramping was the typical blunt pain that I have had before and usually would come around night time. 

All and all I am in good shape and just a little tired but am sure that this nice long vacation will help out! 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Crohn's and Shingles Week 4: Thanksgiving and Itching

Well my shingles has slowly been subsiding.  As you can see the red marks on my body are gradually fading. I attached a picture to show how it looks. When I told people I had shingles they are said "Oh that must be pretty painful". Honestly, the whole process hasn't been too bad. The only thing that bothers me is lifting up my shirt and seeing all this redness on the left side of my stomach. Over time I would thing the marks will fade and could possibly leave some scarring. I have been using Mederma scar cream to reduce the possible effects of scarring and seen a little bit of improvement with that. The only thing that is a pain is there is one spot on my stomach that sometimes itches at night which is a pain. I put some calamine lotion on it which helps a little bit in terms of stopping the itching. I might pay a visit to my dermatologist to see if there is anything I can do do reduce the redness of my skin.

I had a pretty good Thanksgiving (ate way too much-but it was all delicious!). I am honestly thankful for being in remission with Crohn's and not having to worry about pains in my stomach or going to the bathroom. It is nice to be able to live an active and healthy life. Although, I have been feeling tired for the past few weeks with work, family issues, and just year end always seems busy. I noticed I had gained some wait and have been working out recently and dropped a few pounds. My weight has been running around 168 (of course this was before Thanksgiving).

All in all I am glad the shingles is slowly fading away and think it will continue to improve. I was worried that I would have pain for longer than I did. The only annoying thing still is the itching on the one part of my stomach but that seems to have been reduced some. Honestly, I have so much to be thankful for this holiday season.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Crohn's and Shingles Week 2

This week my shingles seems to be improving. The skin has seemed to crust over and starting to peel away. I am curious to see what it will look like once it is all gone. At this point the shingles are either a dark red color or have faded. Earlier in the week I had minor pain near my left breast. It felt tender and warm (somewhat like a sunburn). I also had some minor pain in my lower back but that has seemed to resolve itself quickly as the shingles as faded away.

I have my annual physical scheduled for later this month and my doctor will evaluate my status. I will be curious to see how my doctor thinks my skin is progressing. Also I noticed I lost some weight during the shingles. Right now I weigh roughly 170 pounds.

Never in a million years did I think I would get shingles at 31 years old. Then again I never thought I would be diagnosed with Crohn's either. I think life is a reminder of how unusual, random, and interesting things can be. However, I believe the adversity has made me a stronger person overall.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Crohn's and Shingles Week 1

As you probably saw in my prior post this past week on Monday I went to the doctor who diagnosed me with shingles (I was unable to hand out Halloween candy). My doctor prescribed me Valtrex and a week's worth of Prednisone to calm down the inflammation. My parents reminded me that I had chickenpox twice growing up. Honestly, I have heard people (including my grandmother) say there were in lots of pain while having shingles. For me the pain is more of a mild sunburn that looks like a bunch of acne.

The prednisone kicked in around Wednesday (after starting it on Monday). Prednisone has always given me energy, makes me feel warm, and makes me quite "goal oriented". The Valtrex I have to take for a full week (3 times a day) and should wrap that up by the end of this weekend. When I woke up in the morning I would have some slight pain but it honestly wasn't anything I have seen before. I think having lived with Crohn's for so long I have lived through periods of extreme pain which makes the shingles pretty manageable. The rash on my left side and back have seem to subside and now look more like a scrape the anything else.

Things seem to be improving which is a good sign and I am hoping to be back to 100% within another week or so. This again is a minor set back but I have been many through many of these before and know that it will pass and I will be back to normal (which should never be taken for granted).

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Shingles and Crohn's

Well so much for my theory about having a heat rash in my last blog post. Over the weekend I got concerned about the red bumps on the left side of my stomach. I went ahead and decided to call my doctor on his cell phone on Sunday (photo above of what my stomach looked like). Honestly the shingles didn't hurt it just felt more like a bad sunburn (that looked like a wicked case of acne). My doctor brought in some nurses to quiz them on what I had (without them knowing). My doctor told me usually people in their 30's don't get shingles which is why I made for an interesting case study. I asked my doctor if he thought taking Humira could increase my chances of getting shingles. He said it was possible but didn't believe so single I had been on Humira for over 5 years and really haven't had any flare ups since I started Humira (which is true).

I guess the good part was no tests or x rays had to be performed since it was clear what I had. My doctor called in a prescription for Valtrex (3 pills a day for 7 days) to kill off the virus from shingles and then some Prednisone to calm down the inflammation. My appointment with the doctor was at 2:30 yesterday and the prescription was filled quickly so I was able to take one days worth of pills in a couple of hours.

Honestly, shingles through me for a loop. I have been a little stressed at work but never did I think I would actually get shingles. I always see commercials that target people in their 60's and 70's about the shingles shot but never did I think I would actually get it. Right now I have some minor pain but honestly I have been through so much with Crohn's I am pretty prepared for any pain. I am curious to see what progress I make with the medications I was prescribed and hopefully this is only a minor set back.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Red Bumps on Stomach and Feeling Tried

So typically I don't blog unless there is an underlying change in my Crohn's or unless I find an article that I really find interesting that is Crohn's related. Over the past few days I have noticed dark red bumps at my stomach. At first glance they look like acne in a way. The red bumps are right below my left breast and hurt a little bit if I touch it. There is also some on my back as well  At first I was freaking out a little bit when I saw this but did some research and it appears I might have a heat rash (which up until now I never heard of).

In other news recently I have felt tired. Last night I slept for a good 8 1/2 hours and still felt a little tired during the day. I do notice when I have vitamin D I feel better. Also work has been busier and I feel like I don't have as much energy as a I usually have. Tonight I plan to get at least 9 hours of sleep to be ready for the upcoming sleep. As I type this I am laying in bed watching the World Series. The best way I can describe it is some type of cement feeling in your stomach. The pain wasn't as bad today since I slept more. I remember during Thanksgiving I felt like I couldn't even get out of bed and had a similar feeling and slept a couple of hours and felt much better.

Hopefully the red rashes I have are not anything too serious. I plan to go to my regular doctor this week to check it out. Typically it takes time to make an appointment with my dermatologist (and even then I have to wait an hour). I am more concerned about my energy level and the pain. I don't have any loose bowels but how you feel is pretty important in terms of quality of life. Hopefully I will feel better within the next week or so.