Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Laying off the pizza for a while

WARNING: This post is more graphic than some of you may be ready for...

 Alexey and I have found some really good frozen pizzas. They're made by Freschetta and are just really, really good. Even better than Pizza Hut- yes, it's possible! ;)

Anyway, we split a pizza one to two times a week and by split I mean he has two thirds of the pizza and I eat the rest. That's usually about 3-4 pieces. I can't usually eat that much, but I definitely try. In the past, I have gotten some heartburn from it and definitely a ton of gas build up, but it's never made me sick. Last night was the first time it did.

We decided on pizza as kind of a last minute thing and he popped them in the oven. A little more than 20 minutes later, the timer went off and I yelled, "Ten more minutes" as I always do. He said that it had already been in the oven for 23 minutes and that it would be overcooked if he left it in for longer. With those pizzas I always like them to cook for as close to 30 minutes as we can get without them starting to burn. The dough doesn't ever cook all the way through and that of course makes me very nervous.

Well the one last night looked especially undercooked, but lately I have been trying to work on being normal. Normal people wouldn't have even looked at the pizza let alone stop eating it just because it looks doughy. So I trudged on. It even tasted especially doughy, but I finished three pieces. Immediately after I finished the last piece, my stomach felt extremely bloated. I had to stand up it hurt so bad. When I tried to sit down, I literally felt like my stomach was going to explode. It was also very tender to the touch.

Then out of nowhere came the urgency, so I ran up to the bathroom. The first time was what I call a "normal poo." But afterward I didn't feel any better like I usually do. I got into bed and started up the heating pad. I kept trying to burp to relieve some of the gas pressure and even took two GasX. Nothing seemed to work. Then again- the urgency. Now I should mention that I haven't felt the urgency in a VERY long time. When I was at my sickest point, that was the absolute worst symptom for me after nausea. The feeling of needing to get to a restroom with no time to spare is horrible, and experiencing it out of nowhere in a crowded place or somewhere you can't leave quickly is terrifying. I would constantly worry about when I'd have the next feeling of urgency.

Since the only thing I had to do last night was study, it wasn't too horrible and I could stay in bed right next to my bathroom. The second feeling of urgency was followed by very bad diarrhea and I started to worry that the pizza had been spoiled. The only thing that made me stray away from that idea was that Alexey wasn't sick at all. But by the second stool, I was shaking uncontrollably and burning up- then I'd go completely cold. I was also pretty nauseous.

I got a wash cloth out and wet it down with cold water. My mom taught me when I was little that a cool wash cloth on the upper lip can make you feel less nauseous. It has always worked for me, and it definitely did last night. I was so worried that I was about to repeat the night that made my second wave of IBS begin- the night when I got food poisoning 2 years ago. I was having the same symptoms- immediate diarrhea, shaking, nausea, urgency. The only difference was that I was in my own house, and had plenty of medicine to help me fight whatever it may have been.

I also had my boy to help me through it. He just sat on the floor so he didn't rock the bed and got me everything I needed. About 30 minutes after it all began I got so nauseous that I actually went into the bathroom, tied back my hair, and opened the toilet up. If you don't know me, you wouldn't know that this was VERY hard for me to do. I have a phobia of vomit and vomiting is one of the absolute worst things that could every happen to me. I'd almost want to die before throwing up. Seriously...that's how bad it is.

Anyway, I stood in there trying to calm myself down, breathing in, breathing out, focusing on how badly I didn't want to be sick, trying to talk myself out of being sick at all. I was thinking about how nothing was happening to Alexey, so it couldn't be food poisoning. Then the stupid side of me would come back with the argument that Alexey has a stomach of steel and I definitely do not. Either way, I walked out of the bathroom less nauseous and didn't end up throwing up. Whew!

I laid back in bed and tried to continue calming myself. The heating pad seemed to help me a lot. Eventually another wave of urgency came, and I had to jump up and run to the bathroom. I'll just say that it was very embarrassing that time since Alexey was sitting on the other side of the door. But when I came out he didn't look at me like I was a freak or like anything had happened. He is so amazing when it comes to dealing with my IBS symptoms, and knowing just what to say/do to help me through it.

After that last round of diarrhea, I was just nauseous and still shaking, but after a couple of hours it faded away and I was able to relax a little bit. I still didn't fall asleep until 3am because I was nervous and couldn't really lay flat without feeling even more sick. I am very thankful that I was not only able to get through it without throwing up, but also that I only had to take GasX.

I used to grab Pepto and Immodium as soon as I would have any diarrhea at all, but that always led to constipation for the next few days, followed by diarrhea again when the constipation finally ended. It was such a vicious cycle, and I didn't want to throw myself back into that at all. I'm hoping that this incident happened just because the dough wasn't cook as thoroughly as it should have been and that I can start eating pizza again when I'm brave enough to try it. I hate it so much when foods I've eaten for months with no problems suddenly cause me to have an episode. I had just said to my mom earlier that day that I thought I was finally regaining control of my life and not living it in fear of what food was going to hurt me and make me sick again. All I ate today was cereal because I didn't want to get sick again. I am so sick of cereal. Just when I think I'm in the control, my body steps in to remind me how much of a joke that really is.


  1. I had this start on halloween this year. I do vomit, and I don't mind, better out than in... mine was food poisoning I'm almost sure of it... and the month long cycle of C to D and everything (and nothing) in between was horrible. I know what you mean, if it even looks off, tastes off or smells off, you get the fear... and I think sometimes the fear is the worst.

  2. Reading your blog post, it honestly sounded as if I was reading one of my own journal entries. I too question food, and I too have an immense fear of vomiting. What I've learned in dealing with these issues is that the moment I question the food (even if it's perfectly fine), that's it - I am going to have D, I am going to have lots of gas and bloating, and that's just a fact. It's not the food that does it in these cases - it's me questioning the food. It's the anxiety and the doubt. Remember that IBS is a brain-gut dysfunction - meaning that what you think is intimately related to how you feel tummy-wise. It sounds to me that your awful episode was a result of you believing that what you had ingested may have been questionable. Once you set that vicious thought cycle in place, there's no stopping it, and you may as well strap in for a rough night. It doesn't matter that nothing was wrong with the food, because with IBS, all you need to do is THINK there's something wrong with the food and that's that.

    I remember one time my dad brought home some food from a restaurant. It was something I had never seen before, and I knew I probably shouldn't eat it, but I wanted to be polite. So... I ate it. And it tasted delicious! But then the thoughts kicked in. What if I get food poisoning? What if I have to go to the hospital because the food poisoning is so bad? So then I'd try to calm myself down. "Well, dad ate it a while ago and he's not sick, he would already have symptoms my now if the food was bad..." But I would override that thought by thinking "but dad ate it when it was still hot and fresh, now it's been sitting out, what if bacteria grew?" Needless to say, within 15 minutes of ingesting the (perfectly good) food, I was stuck in the bathroom with cramps, hot flashes, and D. =[

  3. Oh my god, your second paragraph is me to a T! My calming thoughts are the exact same. I started following Emetophobia Help on Facebook, and she recently started posting again. Anyway, the best thing that she has posted was a simple, "Thoughts are the basis for the phobia. Be aware of any thoughts that start with "what if..." Stop them by saying "STOP!" I've started applying that to my other food-related anxieties, and that's decreased my symptoms quite a bit. I just wish they could figure out how my mind has so much control over my gut while it has no control over someone like my fiance and his stomach of steel. Nevertheless, her posts are helping me not only with the phobia but also with my other anxieties, so you may want to check out her page.

  4. This probably sounds ridiculous but i love you and your blog haha. I read this whole post and could relate to everything, in fact this exact same incident happened to me last Saturday! I literally feel like this is something i could of so easily written myself and i understand 100% every word you wrote, i'm also terrified of sick. I'm glad I've found your blog and look forward to reading a whole lot more x

    1. Thanks, Becky! It doesn't sound ridiculous at all. I'm glad you found and enjoy my blog too...I only keep blogging because of comments like these, letting me know I'm helping someone out there feel like they're not alone. Thanks for reading and commenting!