There, I said it. The secret is out. Now my boss knows why I had to call in sick that one time… and the second and third time. Now my coworkers know why I stopped coming to work altogether for “personal health” reasons. Boys, now you know why I keep cancelling plans to get together and probably why I continue to be single. (This article may likely perpetuate that state even further.) Now my teachers might believe the countless e-mails, which if made publicly accessible, would undoubtedly be search engine optimized for the key words “sick” and “sorry.”
I guess the reason that I am writing this is because I’m not “sorry” for being sick. Or at least, I keep trying to convince myself that I shouldn’t be. And I have been, in fact, very sick. For the last three or four years, I have been battling with chronic and sometimes, extremely painful constipation. My name is Lisa and I CANNOT POOP. (NOTE: Further reading may hinder your ability to conceive of me as a relatively attractive woman. If you are not, however, a good-looking 20-something year old male, read on.)
Whatever you’d like to call it: pooping, eliminating, Number 2, that swear word that I probably shouldn’t write here… I can’t do it. At least, not as often or as easily as my body would like. Going to the bathroom regularly is such a struggle that when I do go, I am, without exaggerating, ecstatic. These joyous occasions are often followed by a celebratory period of high-fives, happy dances, and a raucous exclamation of satisfaction from my dad when he calls me to ask, “Did you poop today?”
Seriously, I’ve even considered launching the hash tag #JustPooped as a viral high-five for celebrating the “successes” of the chronically constipated. (I wonder how long it would take before our collective bowel movements were trending?)
A daily trip to the bathroom means the difference between living my life as an ambitious, active, and social twenty-four year old, and a hopelessly depressed, bed-ridden patient.
In the past year, I have undertaken an upheaval of my lifestyle habits all in the seemingly interminable quest to heal myself naturally. Among other changes, I have converted from a healthy, but nonetheless standard, North-American diet, to one that is 80% raw fruit and vegetable-based. I only recently realized that I have unintentionally become what is classified as a “vegan,” but what I classify as merely committing to a diet free of common irritants including gluten, dairy, most meats, and now (I’m still trying to get over the trauma of letting this one go) eggs. I don’t claim to a perfect record of adherence to this diet however. I only just quit my job as a server at a busy pizzeria and wine bar, people. I also happen to not be a robot and/or Gwyneth Paltrow. So let’s just say that sometimes, I dabble.
I have also tried everything from acupuncture to colon hydrotherapy, from arming myself with a stockpile of suppositories, to investing in an enema bag; an artefact which has not been resurrected to the shelves of pharmaceutical commerce since well before my grandparents were actually grandparents. I have popped every pill and put things in my body that I am not yet prepared to share on the publicly viewable platform of the World Wide Web. YET.
Getting to the “Bottom of it”
My most recent health-motivated foray has seen me attempt the YorkTest Food Scan (yorktest.ca); an at-home food intolerance test that screens for over 100 different potential food culprits with a very simple finger-pricking procedure. As an intolerance test, the YorkTest Program cannot scan for allergies, but claims to be able to pinpoint any foods to which a person with gastrointestinal issues, like me, may be intolerant. The fine people at YorkTest agreed to give me the test for free, on the condition that I blog about my experience and results, saving me a hefty (and still to be determined if worthwhile) $700 price tag and pocket purge. And as a student, my pockets are not very deep. Actually, several have holes in them. YorkTest was adamant that I could write impartially, despite their generosity. Which is why, in this and the following post, I will review the YorkTest Food Scan and conclude whether the potential blow to an unsuspecting wallet is worth it.
After receiving the test in the mail, forcing my mom to prick my finger and draw blood from her only daughter (excuse the dramatic effect), and two weeks that followed, I received my results in a PDF chart.
Conclusion? Out of 113 possible food offenders, I am apparently intolerant to egg whites and mildly intolerant to sunflower seeds. That. Is. It. Once I silently thanked whatever spiritual deity cared to listen that I had not paid for these results, my heart sank and frustration simmered. To think that all of the cancelled plans and XL “in-case-of-bloating” sweaters could be attributed to those over-easy breakfast delights and a miniscule seed seems to me the dietary incarnation of injustice. Not to mention having to add two more victims to the “DO NOT EAT” blacklist.
But my stubborn determination to heal myself means that I am willing to give this a try. So long eggs and sunflowers seeds. And hopefully, hello to a hash tag whose tweeting regularity will compel an overwhelming number of unfollows.
For all the latest updates and gossip from the frontlines of my colon, stay tuned folks.
Latest posts by Lisa (see all)
- Chronicles of my Colon: Edition #1: “I Can’t Poop” - Jun 16, 2013