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Sunday, April 20 2014 @ 11:22 AM PDT

Dealing With Stress Related Intestinal Disorder

I thought I had an ulcer, so I was on an ulcer diet. Two weeks later this will be moot, but for now I've got a problem. This is a bit of an aside to my battle with the cancer that eventually was shown to be the real problem as opposed to the ulcer, but I'd written it as part of one of the stories, then edited it out for a bit of brevity. Here I present it as a stand-alone story of how I dealt with what I've been told is not an uncommon problem, in a way that is novel and as far as I'm concerned, effective. The alternative is surgery if you can't untwist the bowel somehow; either that or death.

The problem in this case started because the ulcer diet has not much roughage so I got constipated - and with my otherwise fairly sensitive stomach I've always shied away from laxitives. Now, here it was the 3rd day in a row that I'd done myself some harm by "pushing" too hard. I'd caused my intestines to fold back on themselves and stop the flow from my stomach to my bowels; this is not good.

I've had this malady before, but in the earlier cases it was caused by stress and simply cramping up my stomach "in knots" to the point where things started backing up and not working. This is similar to what I'd had at age 2 with a "bowel intussusception" that required surgery - and in my case the invention/creation of the tools and techniques to perform it on an infant; the reason that it was written up in the medical journals of the time.

I present here my method of dealing with this problem in hopes that it might help someone. I've discussed it with nurses and doctors and they at least say "it doesn't appear to possibly hurt, and if it helps then that is a plus." I'm not a doctor. I'm just a person who tries things and tells people what I've found that works, in case it might help them too.


Note, I AM NOT A DOCTOR - don't do things, anything, without consulting your own physian, but I've spoken to several as well as several nurses and they seem to like this as both an easy and non-invasive way of dealing with the problem, and one that is highly unlikely to cause further damage unless you use radical pressures and tactics that would probably hurt a lot in any case.

I'd caused myself to twist my bowel two days in a row, and this being the third day with no respite in sight, I'd preemptively had my son drop me off at the emergency about 8AM and walked in to see what they could do to ensure I didn't do it a third day running, or ever again for that matter.

I'm almost pathologically allergic to taking laxitives due to my problem when I was 2 and the surgery associated with it. My mother's instructions from the doctor included things like: no toast crusts or other roughage (for quite a few years - took me a while to even start eating salads about the time I left home, 15 years later) and for sure, no laxitives; I might do something to the surgery site. This was why I was here. My natural diet normally took care of my regularity, but the ulcer version of it simply didn't have enough roughage and now I needed both an immediate fix, and some long term advice about the potential for problems with laxitives in general. I was pretty sure that the state of the art had advanced somewhat in the intervening 58 years or so but simply had no experience.

About 1/2 hour after getting there and registering with the front desk, and while I waited my turn, I pretty much collapsed on the floor from the pain of the errant bowel stoppage; pain at the 10 level on my "richardter's pain scale". One of the others in the waiting area informed the nurse. They found me a bed immediately and got me monitored. Even I didn't realize how bad things really were, but now they did, and they worked fast and well to fix the obvious problem. I recovered from the pain bought and got some advice from the duty doctor and eventually had an enema; after which things started to flow better. The doctor heard my story out and brought me up to date on the more modern (and mild) forms of laxitives available now. I spent a few more hours under observation because as she said, my blood pressure had dropped a lot (due to the shock factor of the pain) and they simply wanted to ensure there was nothing else obvious.

Along the way the doctor also did a quick test to see if there was any indication of blood in my stool, and this turned out to be positive. The test is quick and painless - about the same as the administration of the enema really - and the results were only a few minutes later after using what is probably similar technology for blood detection that you see on the various Crime Scene shows; a few drops from a reagent bottle onto the sample and wait a bit.

I was given a referral to one of the local digestive specialists for a colonoscopy - for the second week of December. Note that this was not for the procedure itself but rather simply for the "first consultation" leading up to getting the procedure at some point probably in March or April of 2012. I don't know about your particular area, but there seems to be quite a line up for this procedure here.

So, I was going to get the colonoscopy that I was due in any case just because I'd gotten to the ripe old age of 60 and "it was time" - no excuses, you'll simply do it and get it over with. Fine. 

The Fix

When I'd had this malady due to stress the fix (short of surgery) was relaxation, on your back, torso slightly elevated from hips, in a soft bed. I spent over 4 days like that before my stomach started correctly gurgling and things started flowing again. Since that time I've again had the same thing happen twice more prior to this bout of constipation and developed what in my mind is an even better (and faster) method:

Lie in a tub of not too hot water with the body fully covered so the internal organs are essentially in weightlessness. Depending on the tub this might mean legs out of the water but that's not a problem. Start gently rocking the torso and causing "standing waves" to develop in your organs, not too big, but large enough that there is obvious motion. At the same time, relax, and this is really the hard part.
The motion, coupled with the near weightlessness of the organs, will allow the gentle movement to reallign the organs in their natural and best layout, getting rid of the twist or bend or other obstructive configuration.

Listen to your stomach for its equivallent of "flushing" noises as your stomach finally starts to empty into your bowels - it should be faily obvious, and should be accompanied by an almost visible lessening in the bloat of the stomach and easing of the pain.

That's it. Once the juices start flowing you should be able to move to a bed and let things finish up, but the hard part, that of getting the basic twist removed, is done.

Hope this helps you 

richard

Tag: bowel cancer surgery

 

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43 comments

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Very interesting solution, Richard.
I don't remember there being any extra-long bathtubs at your house, and, if I recall correctly, the hot tub was disconnected, so that left me giggling (so sorry) at imagining you trying to relax in a 5' tub with your legs halfway up the wall.
Friends shouldn't read stories like this about other friends' husbands because the imagination keeps on working even when the mind is saying "don't go there"!
Again, I'm glad you're feeling well enough to write. I wish you were already writing about your visit to the oncologist. Seems like a long time to wait, if you ask me, which you didn't. I hate not-knowing.
Take care. Luv to Shirl and all.
K
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