Saturday, March 21, 2009

My Bowels! My Bowels!

The King James translation of Jeremiah 4:19 says:

"My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war."

Modern translations no longer use the word bowels here, but have brought out the meaning with the word anguish. They are able to do this because it is now known that the bowels were considered by the ancients to be the seat of one's intense emotions, distress, and anguish. After today's experience, I can understand why they made that association.

It was 9:40 when I woke up this morning, and I had no idea that I slept in. Krista was just waking up too, but she had a certain hunger for breakfast at Denny's. I didn't think that sounded very good, but she was quite emphatic about it -- almost on the verge of tears. It's hard to find foods that agree with her so I thought it was worth a try at least.

We bundled up (since it was colder today) and rolled her off down the hill to Denny's. It was a loud, busy environment but Krista seemed to do fine with it. We bought one Grand Slam (scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns, and oatmeal) to share. She nibbled at it, leaving the rest for me.

On the way back, we passed the Trader Joe's and I remembered that I needed a few things. I asked if she was up to it, and she said that she thought it might help her feel "normal". There was also an Expo (a very upscale discount home repair store) across the street from TJ's, and I mentioned that they might have a hand-held shower head that we would need for her when we got back home. So we stopped in there and discovered that the store is closing March 31, and everything is heavily discounted. (Note to Fern who had told me about the store: if you haven't been there yet, it's not going to be there much longer!). We found a shower head that might work, but it's hard to make an irrevocable, moderately-expensive purchase without having measurements. Krista was starting to feel overloaded, so we left there and made TJ's a very short visit.

The bad feelings continued in the afternoon, even after a nap, and she began to wallow in her misery. I offered medicine to help with the pain, but the medicines don't help her when she's backed up. She moaned about how it was better in the hospital when people would visit her because it took her mind off the suffering. She tried calling some friends, but couldn't talk at any length because it made the nausea worse. Fortunately, we managed to contact her friend Natalie who was home and able to come up from Torrance towards dinnertime.

They had a good distracting chat while I went out to buy some broth for chicken soup (the only thing at that point she could imagine stomaching). Unfortunately, by the time I got it and heated it up, she had been through an enormous vomiting fit -- throwing up about twenty times, including some stuff that looked like last night's dinner. I'm sure that wasn't what Natalie had in mind coming up, but she's a real trooper and didn't make a deal of it at all.

It sounds to me like Krista's intestines may be sleeping again. The vomiting isn't normal, and she hasn't had a bowel movement in two days. Fortunately, there wasn't any blood in it, so if it is GVHD it's not severe. Besides, with GVHD of the GI tract there's usually massive diarrhea, so it's probably not that at all. It's probably just the run-of-the-mill chemo blockage. You can all pray with me that the intestines will wake up soon and get things moving in the right direction. And also pray for her to be comforted in the meantime, because this kind of thing gets her really worked up emotionally.

Answer me, O LORD, out of the goodness of your love;
in your great mercy turn to me.
Do not hide your face from your servant;
answer me quickly, for I am in trouble.
(Psalm 69:16-17)


Cherie said...

Mike and Krista,

Throwing up is normal after a transplant. Your body is going through many changes and adjustments, from new environments to new foods to new physical movements. My husband got nauseous several times day for a couple months after his transplant. Tom could barely eat anything and was skin and bones. If we were lucky, he would only vomit a couple of times a day. Krista is actually eating much better then he did, with more of a variety of foods.

The body is so weak after a transplant and it takes a long time to heal--But it does heal! Be encouraged, you will get stronger and better over time.

I am amazed at how much Krista is getting out, for Tom could not handle the extra stimulus for about 8 months. She is doing better then she realizes.

Feeling miserable is part of the process. My husband also went through a very testy angry period too.

Krista, Hang in there, and keep focusing on your healing. Today, my husband has a normal, healthy and active life; you will too!
Bless you, Cherie

Michael English said...

Thank you Cherie,

I'm reading Mike's blog (catching up) in the doctor's office) and your comments couldn't have come at a better time. That's very encouraging and just what I needed to hear right now. I have nearly constant stomach pain, yet I get very hungry, yet food tends to make the pain worse and eventually I have the vommitting. Mucositis was the worst. This is a close second.

I'm so happy to hear about your husband and hope to meet you both someday!