Say It With Me, People: CON-STI-PA-TION [Guest blog by JT]
Heidi Adams — By Heidi Adams on March 18, 2009 at 10:35 pm
I had to post this, because we’ve all been there. In fact, my ass was having hemorrhoidal flashbacks while I was reading this. (Makes you want to keep reading, doesn’t it?!) Seriously, this is sheer genius. We heart JT on Planet Cancer! — Heidi
Today we’re going to talk about (say it with me) CONSTIPATION.
Yeah, that’s right. You heard me. I’m going to be uncharacteristically blunt and go all out. If you’d like to continue thinking of me as sweet JT who sparkles in the sunlight like Edward Cullen, or the JT who gets a gazillion gold stars for cleanliness, adorableness, and appropriateness, then you might want to just skip over this entry. Seriously.
Non-cancer people know that cancer is a tough thing to deal with. They know or have heard about people going through very harsh treatments. They know what chemotherapy is just as they know a bit about radiation. They understand some medical jargon and can even sometimes identify various medications used to treat cancers. It’s one thing to piece all of these little things together and have this perception of what cancer must be like and it’s quite another to actually LIVE it and deal with it on a day-to-day basis.
We deal with a ton of things, people. Like, I bet you didn’t know that brushing my teeth can be such a fucking chore. I have to use this extra soft toothbrush and be extremely careful because any wrong movement can make my gums bleed. And if they bleed and my platelets are low, then I can’t clot and it’ll be hard to stop the bleeding. Or I bet you haven’t thought about how annoying it is to have to take a shower while making sure your central line doesn’t get wet.
And when you’re taking about a thousand medications and 90% of them list “constipation” as one of the side effects, guess what? You’re *gonna* get constipated. And it’s *gonna* be a NIGHTMARE.
So as you guys know, I was in the hospital for all of last week. I didn’t really have any food. I would try to have something and I would just throw it up. They had me on stuff to make sure I got my nutrients, right? But I wasn’t really keeping anything in my stomach. So anyway, I got home and ate a tiny bit of jello and eventually I graduated to a few spoonfuls of soup because anything more and I’d start to feel sick.
My family was laughing at me the other day and calling me Mr. Oprah because I have a problem with my weight.
Haha you know how Oprah can gain or lose a significant amount of weight in a short period of time? Well, that’s how I am. Only it’s not fat/skinny. For me it’s built/toned to skinny/frail. In just a few weeks, I can go from looking like a normal athletic dude who is a regular at the gym to looking like a skinny, pale dork. And vice versa. This happened even when I wasn’t dealing with cancer, but it happens especially fast when I’m going through treatment. I’ve decided that I won’t succumb to a super skinny/pale exterior without putting up a fight.
SO, in an attempt to keep my six pack, I began to do crunches on the floor. This annoyed my mom because, HELLO, what the fuck am I doing on the floor? She’s concerned about germs and infection and all of that. But whatever. I’m 24 years old and I DO WHAT I WANT. 😉 So I do maybe 5 and I’m exhausted. Not only that, but somehow the crunches have made my stomach hurt and I begin to think, “When was the last time I went to the restroom?”
Pretty much all of the meds I’m on cause constipation. And sure enough it had been days since my last bowel movement. “Shitfuckmerde!” I said to myself. I tried not to panic.
I made my way to the bathroom, locked it, pulled my pants down and sat. *looks around* Yeah, nothing’s happening. *checks watch* Hrmmm. This isn’t going to work.
So, a normal person would speak to their doctor about this, right? But of course, not me. No, I’m gonna do this.
I was determined, folks. I really was. And eventually, I really felt like I had to go. Just one problem.
OH MY GODDDDDDDDDD. There was NO freakin’ way I was going to pass that thing, man! I pushed, but it was like trying to fit a coke can through an opening the size of a straw! Oh hell to the no. Breathe, JT. Breathe.
I decided to get up and regroup and give myself a little pep talk. You can do this, JT. C’mon. You can do this. You’ve done it before. Remember that time you got a tonsillectomy 10 months ago and you went without taking a crap for 8 whole days post-surgery because of the pain meds? You didn’t think it was possible then, but you did it. And you can do this again, man! Just focus!
I turned the faucet and the shower on because I wanted there to be noise just in case I accidentally let out a grunt. I sat down and tried again. And PUSH. GODDDDDDDD! What did I EAT?! Why can’t I take a shit?! How did this even HAPPEN?! I haven’t eaten anything! How could this possibly be?!?!
I almost started to cry. Okay, I did cry a little bit. First out of frustration, then out of pain, then out of frustration again. Ugh. Stop judging me, assholes. (har har)
I tried for a few more minutes but I just couldn’t. Every time it started to hurt, I’d quit. I got up again. Another pep talk. “DUDE, you’re GAY. This isn’t the first time your ass has hurt.” I laughed at this. I remembered seeing some guy on a comedy special say that constipation was like anal sex from the inside out. Not true, but funny anyway.
This time I remembered I had my iPhone w/ headphones in my jacket pocket (my jacket was hanging on the towel rack). I reached in and pulled it out. I scanned through my songs because I figured that in order for me to get this done, I was going to have to get pumped. Found the perfect song:
The song started. And at the first “DUN” I looked in the mirror and gave it this crazy look. I was determined. My butt was like, “as if!” but my conjunctivitis-y eyes were like “let’s rock this bitch.” As the song continued to play, I jumped up and down a little, shaking down my limbs, stretching them out a little. I rolled my head back from shoulder blade to shoulder blade. I did a couple of toe touches and did several other stretching exercises for my arms and legs. I was ready.
I sat back down, vowing that I wouldn’t get up until I had seen results. So there I went, pushing, squirming, crying, gasping for air and pushing some more. At one point I thought, “I’m going to die.” Seriously, I really felt like either I was going to pop something in my head or I was going to pop something in my ass and either way, I was going to die. SWEAR TO GOD there were a few times when I was blacking out. My counts are low so oxygen doesn’t travel around as well as it should. At one point it got so bad that I pretty much fell over on my knees. I thought, “Oh here we go. How fucking embarrassing is this? People are going to find me dead after taking a shit. Cancer didn’t kill me, a ginormous crap did?” Messed up! My life flashed before my eyes. Okay, not really, I was trying to not lose consciousness so I was focusing on my little brother’s shampoo bottle that reminded me of bottles of bubble bath I used to like getting when I was a kid. But yeah, anyway, my head was about to explode.
I was convinced it was all over, that I was a goner, until I took a small break and told myself, “Get it togethah, baby!” like Wanda Sykes does in those Applebees commercials. I waited until my vision came back and I grabbed the side of the sink and just tried my very hardest. I pushed and I wriggled and clenched and gave it my very all. I had broken a sweat and went through some pretty bad pain and I’m pretty sure that two more seconds would have killed me, but I came out victorious.
FUCK yeah. Wiped. No blood. FUUUUUUUUUUCK YEAH!
I flushed (a few times), washed my hands (a few times), and stood there listening to music on my iphone and just basking in the awesome feeling you get after a job well done. I was smiling from ear to ear. I could feel the “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED” sign drop behind me. It was glorious.
I had literally gone through all of the emotions on Plutchik’s wheel:
All that’s important is that I ended on “Joy.” w00t! I seriously wanted to do the dance that Hugh Grant does in Love Actually. Do you know what I’m talking about? Think this, only instead of starting off at the window sill, think about me doing that by the sink:
So anyway, I caught my breath, smiled a bit, and considered dancing out the door, but instead, I quietly opened the door and just stood there and did this:
Victory is mine, bitches.
I hope there is no next time, but with cancer, c’mon, there’s ALWAYS a next time. But yeah, should I find myself in another situation like this, I’m going to swallow some of these pills of silver and make sparkly shit.
Being a constant patient of constipation is already hard to deal with. You might as well glam up your shit and not let a crap situation like this keep you from having some fun and making your world sparkle.
Update #1: lol. A friend of mine e-mailed me after reading this and decided to warn me about pushing that hard and what it might do to my hickman. Don’t worry, I think I’ve got it under control.
Update #2: Yes, I know about Senna and will be going that route next time. Believe you me!
Update #3: OMG, someone just told me that I should’ve used a spoon! *gags* That’s so disgusting!
Update #4: People are telling me that the silver pills should be used on diarrhea days at the hospital. You know, if you’re gonna Code BROWN it, you might as well make your ass sparkle for whoever is going to have to clean you.
Update #5: The next day, I got a really high fever, I’m talking in the 103 area (which is high for anybody, but especially high for a cancer patient), and when I went to the hospital, they asked me if I was exposed to anything that could have given me an infection. I hesitated a bit, because I was so embarrassed, but I finally told them this story and had to have a special exam done on me! It was like a body cavity search! *DIES* And the worst part of it all was that in the end, there was absolutely no infection. CRAP.
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Tags: aosw, austin, bike, diarrhea, eric shanteau, nyacaw, twitter, young adult
Say It With Me, People: CON-STI-PA-TION [Guest blog by JT]
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