Migraine: n. A severe recurring headache (check), usually affecting only one side of the head (yep), characterized by sharp pain (understatement) and often accompanied by nausea, vomiting (a la Regan MacNeil), and visual disturbances (sounds like a peyote hangover, but, check, check, check).
My migraines date back to (surprise!) starting my first real job after college – in the federal government. One night, I awoke to find the right side of my head throbbing and seemingly on fire. I couldn’t have lights on. I was nauseous. Noises and smells of any kind exacerbated the pain. Way back in high school, I had been convinced that I had every disease and disorder on the planet; I was perhaps the world’s youngest and most prolific hypochondriac. Instead of brushing up on my Edith Hamilton, I was researching bone cancer in the library. I could be heard diagnosing not only myself, but friends with any symptom in the hallways between classes. Eventually, I got over it with a little help from my parents’ threats to really give me a reason to want to kick off.
That is, until that night when I got my first migraine. More
I like to think that IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) stands for “I’m Back, Sucka!” Talk about being kicked in the gut when you’re down. This week has been fraught with familial trials and tribulations, ex-dating stress, and plain old bad eating habits. I think I’ve lost about seven pounds because nothing I eat seems to agree with me. (And during IBS Awareness Month, no less!) This is the polite way of saying that I have something more like the alimentary canal of an earthworm as opposed to a human intestinal tract. This is not a good way to lose weight; along with the pounds go nutrients and muscle mass. (And I ain’t got much of the latter to sacrifice.)
Back in the days when I was flush with green from my miserable federal job, I used to go to a polarity therapist who really, really balanced my energies. At my first session, she “read” my body and told me about all the things that bothered me. And she was dead on. For a skeptic like me, it was quite unnerving. But she truly helped me cope with the symptoms of IBS, cleared out a lot of negative energy (turns out, my solar plexus chakra was full of it!), and helped me learn to r-e-l-a-x. Apparently, having a pierced navel (guilty) doesn’t jive well with your solar plexus or navel chakra, which rules your digestive system. I’ve had said ring taken out before, guess when: Incarceration? Tonsillectomy? Both? I’ll never tell. What I’m trying to say is that during the days it was out, I really didn’t notice any difference in my five-foot friend, a.k.a. the large intestine. More
Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Spastic Colon. My large intestine needs to see a shrink. It could use some benzos, or at the very least, Haldol. Maybe a stint in the psych ward. Unfortunately, my colon doesn’t have a separate brain and I can’t take it for psychoanalysis. (I probably wouldn’t want to hear the diagnosis anyway.) Fortunately, my brain (addled and atrophied as it may be) has been able to uncover all the wonders and horrors of dealing with and treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
In 1971, I was born a seemingly healthy, properly-pooping nine-pound baby. But things soon changed. In my terrible twos I was at least easily potty-trained. (You couldn’t get this kid on the toilet fast enough.) I skipped the entire Freudian anal-retentive stage. What was going on? Was it because my mother hadn’t breastfed me? Was it the Ukrainian evil eye from my jealous older siblings? No, proclaimed Dr. Zaber, it’s a sugar allergy. The catch-all digestive diagnosis in those days.
Out went any and all sugar, which only proved to make me a crankier child. Goddamn it, I wanted my candy and I wanted it NOW! More