Well, here it is. The first post of my surreal Journey with Cancer. For those of you who don't know me, my name is Erynn, and I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Colon Cancer in March of 2016. I wanted to create this blog to share the nitty-gritty details of my journey, and I'll warn you now that I'm not planning to spare any of the details. As you can imagine, 2016 was a pretty rough year for me. I'll try to keep the timeline as consistent as possible, but there will be some things that I won't be able to remember. I mean, my friends call me the "queen of repression" for a reason. Anyway, like all good stories, this one must start at the beginning. So, without further ado, here we go. It was October of 2015 when I first noticed that things were going sideways. I hadn't pooped in a week, which was unusual for me because I've had digestion issues since forever. (I'm pretty sure I grew up with some form of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but it was never confirmed) I usually pooped once a day, if not more, so an entire week without a movement was pretty annoying. However, I wasn't terribly concerned with it at the time. Having grown up with digestion issues, you tend to roll with whatever your gut throws at you, and I was confident that it would work itself out like normal.
Me, taken 2 days after Thanksgiving 2015
Then, Thanksgiving came. My family had gathered at my great-aunt's house, and I remember being in the main bathroom (which was in the middle of the house) and praying with all my might for some sort of relief. You see, at that time, I hadn't pooped in a solid month. Can you even imagine what it's like to have not pooped in a month? I was incredibly bloated, almost constantly in pain or discomfort, and about ten pounds heavier than I should have been. Plus, it was Thanksgiving, and there was SO MUCH FOOD! It. Was. Hell. That was a turning point for me, and I finally broke down and told my husband about it after that fateful Thanksgiving day. I didn't want to see a doctor about it because I hate going to the doctor's, but that didn't negate the fact that I desperately needed to poop. So, I began self-medicating. If you've read my blog at all, you'll know that I'm a bit of an amateur herbalist. I didn't want to use laxatives or other potentially harmful drugs, so I began using a custom mixture of Mint and Mullein tea. I chose these plants because they work so well together. Mint aids digestion and calms the stomach, while Mullein acts as an anti-inflammatory for your gut and other mucous membranes. The photo below is the amount of tea I would drink in a day (tablespoon and normal-sized mug for scale). Now, I love the taste of Mint/Mullein tea with honey but drinking this much of it day after day was beginning to wear on me.
Good thing it worked! About two days after drinking this wondrous mixture, I had my first poop in over a month. You can't imagine the relief I felt when it all came out. I'm pretty sure I cried a little because I already felt so much better. Being that clogged up for that long was beginning to wear me down physically and emotionally, and it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I drank that tea every day for a week or so, then cut it down to twice a week once things became regular again. Coincidentally, I became a loyal customer of my local Health Food Store during that time because, as you can imagine, drinking that much tea is bound to make you run out of herbs eventually. I love that place so much. I could spend hours browsing their shelves, and they're the only place I go when I need herbs, oils, or other recipe components. I could shop there forever. But that's not relevant at the moment. The tea was working wonders for my digestion (nature:1, illness:0), and I was confident that we were finally getting back to normalcy. Then, in the spring of 2016, it all came to a screeching halt. My magic brew had stopped working, and I became constipated once again. I sadly resigned myself to the fact that something was wrong, and (with the support of my husband) made an appointment with my primary doctor. I explained the situation to him, and he referred me to a local Gastroenterologist. The GI doctor listened to my story and scheduled my first colonoscopy for March 9th. That's when things got interesting.
Part 2 coming soon!