The SIBO is back & apparently this is enviable

I’ve written in the past about having SIBO, which is Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. You can read more about it here.

So on top of the auto-immune issues, which continue to be tons of fun, my SIBO is back.

Oddly, my symptoms don’t present quite the way they’re often listed. I feel bloated and fatigued and have nausea and go back and forth between constipation and diarrhea – and that’s all expected. But my major symptom is actually early satiety, which is when you feel full after only eating a small amount. I also feel like I swallowed a brick – I have a heavy feeling in my stomach, like there’s a rock in there or something.

That’s how I knew the SIBO was back. As soon as I got that “I feel like I swallowed a large stone” feeling, I knew.

I have the test week after next and will likely be on antibiotics fairly soon after. For now, I’m on the Low FODMAP diet and taking supplements. I’m not eating anywhere near the calories I should be because of the damn early satiety, and also because of the FODMAP diet itself.

So, clearly, this is causing weight loss. I’ve dropped a few pounds already, and will continue to. And this is where I get frustrated, because people want to compliment my weight loss. I’m always careful to tell them that it’s not intentional, that I’m losing weight because of issues with my digestive system. I give them the opportunity to be sympathetic – but sometimes I get the classic “I wish I could get that so I could lose weight derp derp” response, which I’ve become completely intolerant of.  If anyone ever tells me, even in a joking way, that they wish they could be sick so that they could lose weight, I lay into them pretty hard. It’s not only insensitive to the person dealing with the illness, but it highlights how skewed and fucked up with are as a culture – if you prefer illness to being fat, then you’ve been brainwashed. When you stand back, and realize that you’re saying you’d be willing to trade a healthy body for a sick one, as long as it makes you thinner…I mean, that’s massively fucked up.

Never put your weight before your health. Being thin doesn’t guarantee good health, or happiness, or any of the things the diet commercials promise.

Not to mention that if your self-esteem and self-worth is all or mostly tied up in what your body looks like, that’s dangerous. Bodies change, and sometimes those changes are beyond our control. We need to find other things that we love about ourselves, and value ourselves for things other than our looks and our weight. We’re inextricably bound to these bodies we inhabit – and that’s exactly why is always to put its general functionality and overall well-being before it’s aesthetic appeal.

I just want to feel normal for once. I just want to be able to eat without getting sick. I want to have an immune system that doesn’t attack my own body. I want to have more energy. The SIBO will go away eventually, but the auto-immune issues won’t. I’ll continue to go through cycles of weight gain and weight loss, of fatigue, and who knows what else, and that’s fine. I’ve accepted that I have no idea what’s coming for me, and I just take it one day at a time.

What I can’t accept are assholes who think being thin is more important than being healthy. If you’re lucky enough to be healthy, you better damn well be grateful. And always remember that your health can change in a heartbeat – don’t ever take it for granted.


Added: contact page

To the right, you’ll see that there’s now a “Contact Me” link. I did this because I have a number of repeated hits from people who never comment, and a number of hits to pages about being a fat admirer or some of my illness posts. It occurs to me that people might want to chat about those or related topics, but don’t want to leave a public comment with their info on a specific post. So let’s see how this works – if you’re a lurker and want to say hi, your message will be delivered privately to my email address, rather than posted publicly.  :-)

On how parents try to tell me I need kids so I have someone to take care of me when I’m old

First of all, I have to say that I love how people who tell me that I should have a kid so I have someone to take care of me when I’m old often have parents in nursing homes, or aren’t particularly close to their parents, or find dealing with their parents a chore, or hate their in-laws, or are generally ageist.

That aside, I’m really tired of the “but who will take care of you when you’re old?” bullshit. Like wow, really? I don’t think “free nursing care” should be on anyone’s list of reasons to breed. It’s shitty to expect your kids to give up their lives to take care of you…especially in an age where people are living longer.

Caretaking is difficult and takes a huge mental and physical toll on the caretaker. I agree wholeheartedly that we often don’t do right by the elderly, but I see this is a social problem, not a “how dare my ungrateful kid want to live his own life and be independent when I NEED HELP” problem.

I also love how when I say, “That’s a really shitty reason to have kids,” these same people immediately go all righteous indignation on me, because of course that’s not the only reason, and I’m just twisting their words, or hearing something they didn’t say, blah blah blah.

My comeback to that is…if having someone to take care of you when you’re old in’t the only or even primary reason to have kids, why is it so often the very first thing that parents who are trying to convince you to also become a parent go to? Like, if I’m trying to persuade you to do something you don’t want to do, I don’t think I’d jump to my 37th reason Why You Must Do This Thing and use that as my lead-in.

Unless…stuff like “having someone to take care of me when I’m old” was honestly a major driving motivator. Unless “at least I’ll have someone to take care of me when I’m old” is how you console yourself after posting Whisper memes about how much you secretly hate parenting.

I know it can be a motivator/consolation. Anecdotally, anyway – I’ve got a childless but child-yearning acquaintance on Facebook who comments on a lot of articles, and a lot of her comments are along the lines of “being childfree is stupid because you’ll need someone when you’re old.” That is her only argument, and she posts if over and over and over. I pity this woman’s future children. And I’ve heard a few too many people who talk to me about it jump to “but who will take care of you…” as their first objection to my blissful childfree life.

And honestly, I don’t know. I don’t have a “when I’m 83 and can no longer take care of myself” contingency plan at this point. I’m just trying to get out of my 30s unscathed; I can’t anticipate what may or may not happen in the future. If I live to a certain age, I will consider my options at that point.

But I’ll tell you one thing – I don’t think old people with kids have much more advantage than old people with no kids. I don’t think I’ll be the loneliest old lady in the nursing home. In fact, I don’t think I’ll be lonely at all – because I’ll have no kids to secretly resent for not coming to see me.

If you ask people who work in nursing homes or long term care facilities…I’m sure a lot of them will vouch for the fact that many residents don’t often see their kids. A few hours on holidays here and there, maybe. Some perhaps not at all. I have family members who now live in senior communities who talk about how a lot of their friends and neighbors barely see their kids, and often those kids live within driving distance.

Sure, it’s nice if people give a shit about their aging parents, but no one is actually obligated to give a shit or be involved. Especially if that parent was abusive or neglectful. But even if they weren’t, we’re all entitled to lead our own lives. That’s the point of repopulation, isn’t it? You make more people so that they can carry on when you get too old, and die?

Bringing another human into the world so that you have built-in nursing care is a bad investment, as well as a great way for you to set yourself and your kid up for failure. If you have expectations like that, you’ll very likely be disappointed.

And yes, I get that that’s not the only reason to have kids stop twisting my words Cassandra OMG what is your problem?!

But if having eldercare is the FIRST thing out of your mouth when you talk about breeding…I have to question why. Our rhetorical tactics may be unconscious, but they’re never without motivation.

State of the digestive system

My early satiety is back and getting worse.  UUUGGGGHHHHH.  This means that I’m going to start losing weight again because I won’t be able eat enough.

(Do NOT congratulate me on this. Losing weight because your digestive system is so swollen that you can’t digest solid foods well is NOT something to be happy about, or envious of.)

This is why I’m grateful to Prednisone. It’s not my favorite drug, but it definitely does its job, and it causes weight gain. Because I was on a high dosage of pred for 3 months and put on a lot of weight at the end of 2015, now that my digestive system is once again the target of my malfunctioning autoimmune system, I have weight to lose.

However, I had weight to lose last time, too, and I still came within 5 lbs of being hospitalized. (The doctor says, if I dip under 100 lbs, I’d have to be hospitalized and put on some sort of special IV + diet they use for people who are underweight.)

Luckily I’m nowhere near 100 lbs, and have been through this before, so know the drill. For anyone interested in the drill, here it is…

Continue reading “State of the digestive system”

Analyst angst: When you can’t get your feelings out of your data

I often joke with non-analyst colleagues that those of us who work with data don’t want to hear about your feelings. You know how there’s no crying in baseball?

no crying in baseball

Well, there’s no crying in data analysis.

Except when there is.

Continue reading “Analyst angst: When you can’t get your feelings out of your data”

Conscripted Warriors: Why I hate ‘battle’ rhetoric in chronic illness narratives

May is Lupus Awareness Month. Though somewhere around 1.5 million Americans have this disease, it doesn’t get the attention that other chronic illnesses get, so many people are unfamiliar with it. Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks your own body. A normal immune system produces antibodies to fight off bacteria, viruses, and germs – stuff that doesn’t belong in your body. In a person with Lupus, the immune system gets confused, and produces antibodies that attack your own tissue. It can strike any part of the body.

Some fun issues that Lupies experience can include fatigue, swelling, joint pain, rashes (especially on the face), hair loss, light and heat sensitivity, anemia, respiratory issues, digestive issues, and kidney issues. Every Lupie has different combinations of symptoms to varying degrees of severity – they can be mild and intermittent, or permanent and debilitating.

As I’ve delved deeper and deeper into the world of chronic illness, the rhetoric of fighting and battling and being a Lupus warrior has begun to grate on me. Even in my own language and how I describe Lupus, I’m using war-like rhetoric – Lupus attacks and strikes. My immune system, which is supposed to be my protector, has become my enemy. It’s hard not to think of it as a sort of war, when the most basic description of what this disease does sounds pretty war-like.

This is not a battle I wanted to fight. I’m a conscripted soldier in the war against Lupus. I didn’t sign up – I was drafted.

Continue reading “Conscripted Warriors: Why I hate ‘battle’ rhetoric in chronic illness narratives”

May is Lupus Awareness Month

And the Lupus Foundation has a ‘fact of the day’ list that you can post to social media. Click here to see it.

Lupus is a disease that tends to fly under the radar of popular notice, and my feeling is that it’s because it predominantly impacts women of color.

This isn’t just a question of a potentially debilitating disease – Lupus is an example of why we need feminism, and why intersectionality is important, and evidence that racism is still alive and well. You never see awareness campaigns for Lupus on tv. What do you see on tv? Diseases that white people tend to get, and drugs for erectile dysfunction.

Meanwhile, Lupus impacts around 1.5 million Americans and around 5 million people worldwide. Yet we never hear about it, because the sufferers are usually not white men.

Personally, I’m using my private social media accounts to try to raise awareness this month by posting the Lupus fact of the day courtesy of the Lupus Foundation. I also make occasional donations to organizations dedicated to Lupus education, and I talk to people about autoimmune diseases as much as I can.

I think Lupus is a feminist issue. It’s one more example of how women’s needs – particularly women of color – are overlooked and ignored.

On fat admirers and allyship

There are two articles I saw recently that I want to highlight – one on being a good ally to fat acceptance, and one on dating while fat. Being a good ally is important, and the article I link to below is written by someone who has fucked up, and isn’t afraid to admit it. But the one thing I like about her? When called out, she listened, and adjusted her behavior. That’s a *very* important think to be able to do if you actually want to be an ally (as opposed to just wanting to make yourself look good.) I’ve made mistakes myself – if you go back to some of my writing from a few years ago, you’ll see some of mine. I’ve grown and evolved by listening and by reading blogs run by fat people.  If you shut up and listen, you can learn a lot.

Dating while fat isn’t something I can relate to at this point, but I wanted to highlight it for two reasons. One, on its own merit – hearing a queer woman of color discuss her experiences and what is not okay is important. Whitewashing is a problem, and so is heteronormativity. Two, it made me, as a fat admirer, realize that I need to be really clear about the fact that there is absolutely a right and wrong way to be a fat admirer.

Continue reading “On fat admirers and allyship”

Thurs April 28 is “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day”

The university I work for sent out an email stating how they are “fully supportive” of this day – they “encourage you to bring your child to work and be creative in integrating them into your day.” Which is great in theory, but the parents I work with tend to allow their children to be disruptive and annoying, so I’m not super enthused by this.

Thus, I just sent the following email to my boss:

Next Thursday could alternately be called “People Who Are CF Get To Listen To  Your Annoying Children Running Up And Down The Hallway All Day Because You Think Everything They Do Is Cute And Precious Even Though It’s Actually Really Irritating And Unprofessional” but that’s just a suggestion.  Another one is “If She Throws Another Dirty Diaper In The Kitchen Garbage I’m Setting Her Office On Fire.”

If I didn’t have to attend a training that day, I would seriously take the day off.  I don’t mind kids doing normal kid stuff, but I get really annoyed really quickly when people have children in an environment that’s not meant for children, and then don’t parent those children.

Bring your older kids who are capable of behaving themselves to work? Sure. But my floor will probably be flooded by kids 6 and under whose parents think it’s funny to let them run up and down the hallways singing and yelling, who think it’s okay to throw dirty diapers in the garbage can in the kitchen without wrapping them in anything, and who are completely baffled when I shut my door and refuse to interact with their Speshul Sneauxflakes.

Which is my long-winded way of saying, I don’t actually hate kids, I just hate a lot of parents, and I’m DREADING next Thursday.


Parsing through sexism in my everyday life

I really liked this article from Everyday Feminism called 12 Signs Your Date Is Sexist – Because ‘You’re Not Like Most Girls’ Isn’t A Compliment.  Even if you’re not currently dating, it’s worth a read, because you may encounter this sort of thing in other aspects of your life as well. I sure as hell have.

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What it means to say ‘I don’t care what other people think’

I often tell people that one of the major sources of contentment in my life is the fact that I’ve stopped caring what other people think.  But clearly, I don’t walk around in a bubble not caring at all about other people. So what does saying ‘I don’t care what others think’ even mean?

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I really dislike my immune system today.

My current mood: Fuck Lupus.

My autoimmune issues continue to annoy. I started out today feeling fine, and am ending it feeling rather awful, actually. This is the worst bout of joint pain I’ve had, and what’s making it worse is that it’s a hip. I have a profound respect for older people who deal with this shit everyday.

Continue reading “I really dislike my immune system today.”