Bergen: day on the couch

Well, today I crashed. Not adrenal crash, thank god, but I found myself crying over lunch at Godt Brød organic sandwich shop and knew I had to take the venicular up and lie down for the rest of the day. A pity because it was another sun filled day in Bergen and I had plans!

But lots of nice things happened over the last few days and here are some of them:

Beautiful textures on the mountain side of the roads.

A dodo for my dear friend The Woolly Dodo and a unicorn too!

The museum of Natural History just reopened after restaurations and we would have loved to visit there. It’s part of what made me cry.

I bought a funny cat illustrated mug for myself:

“password hint: favourite animal starting with a c.”

“I tried cow and calf and crab…. How about centaur?”

The table in the apartment I sat on yesterday and drew some art. Such a view!

I frogged a lot of Serra cardigan because I made some mistakes I’d rather not live with.

And finally: I liked what I saw in the mirror. By colour coordinating my wardrobe I can now just pick any dress shirt and hand knitted vest that’s in the closet and they all go together. With wrist warmers too. And skirt.

I save time and (mental) energy by this. No time wasted on what to wear. My condition, Adrenal Insufficiency, comes with the weird symptom that I now have trouble making choices. I’m fine with deciding, since decisions are lead by pros and cons. But a choice is a choice between two options of similar value, just different content. And somehow I have trouble navigating choices.

(I go with “left” now, mostly.)

This wardrobe trick really works for me and I’ve made all these sympathetic shirts and vests and they are so fun to wear and comfortable too. I am really content with how this plan works out. I felt very nice wearing this combination today, even if it was just in the apartment. Felt like an urban illustrator 😊

collage in Bergen

back in Bergen, Norway, for the first time. Very happy.

Making a collage, inspired by the landscape, using the same principles I developed when I was an artist here in 2005.

only one day per week is for drawing

alright.

Inktober day 1: “ring”
1ring

Inktober is here and I love doing that and just draw every day. Turns out I can’t. Today it’s the 7th of October and I’ve been feeling bad and inadequate all week for having only drawn day 1 and not draw on any of the next days. It’s what Inktober is about, after all: getting in the habit of drawing frequently. Every day preferably.

Turns out I can not draw every week.

Tuesdays are for ceramics.
Wednesdays are for sewing (lessons).
One day I must stay in bed and not want to do anything.
One day per week I have a meeting out of townm “far” away. It’s usually a council meeting about manure plants or biomass plants; last week it was the annual ceramics fair and yesterday it was a textile workshop at the national textile museum. These meetings are important.
One other day I’ll have a useful appointment close by or at home. It could be the dentist; a moving company coming by to make an offer; the builder who explains the plans for next door.
One day I like to see a friend.
That leaves one day for something my heart desires such as drawing.

On any day I must put in the effort to get out of bed. To get dressed. To organize food. To do the minimum of house chores. To rest. And to calm down in the evening so I can go to sleep.
On the days without appointments this leaves, when done right, about 45 minutes to do something I want. Twice a day if I’m lucky and have had a non-eventful week otherwise.

I’m conceding that I have not healed to the level of a normal healthy person… that I have a chronic illness and limited energy. I have one day per week to draw. Today was that day. I did not draw on my cat-art-business-plan-thingy but I did draw a few more Inktober drawings:
Day 2 “Mindless”:

Mike the headless chicken. Lived for months after getting his head chopped off.
Day 3 “Bait”

Day 5 “Build”

Day 6 “Husky”

I had fun. I love to draw.

Every time I draw it gives me such enjoyment. I have a hard time getting started (really! I have to circumnavigate procrastination while there are so many other things I could do) but once I’m going I’m going. Today, these are all just warming up drawings. Once they’re done I’m ready (and eager!) to do the real stuff. The cat stuf. But by then it’s been 45 minutes and I’m tired and I need to take a break. Which always last an hour if not more.

If I’m lucky I can then return to drawing. Today I did some sewing instead (still working on that August quilt. That I was going to start and finish in …. August.)

But now I know. I have one day per week for drawing. No use feeling bad about the other days. I still get a lot done those other days. I’m not keeling over, even though there’s a lot of pressure such as the heat wave, the stress of the court procedures and those darned neighbours that have their builders cause a ruckus for whole days on end (days when I have to retreat to the cabin because I cannot escape Fight or Flight when the whole house vibrates) Any drawing or preparations I get squeezed into those days is a bonus.

I feel more calm now, with this knowledge. Even if it means my cunning arty business plans are even flimsier than I thought.

I will also take in to account that I get a lot of drawing (or sketching) done when I’m out of the house and in a city, in a café or library. Do more of that. Bring sketch book everywhere.

moving house, naming priorities

This is my house, we’re putting it on the market next week:
Brede-Haven-Panorama-Full
It’s a marvelous house! Historic, at a canal in the historic city of ‘s Hertogenbosch.

Lots of pictures at the end of this post.

One month ago we were having a talk, just checking with each other about how are you doing, how will we be doing the next five years, are there things in the running of the house hold we should change. And out of the blue my husband says that, actually, he’s ready to move. Move away to the country side. He’s done with being the custodian of the inner city, of the history. He would like to live a more internal life for the next decade. Focus on living together in a house, in nature.

This suits me fine. I will miss the city life. I am fond of city spaces and how people use and experience the city. But I am more fond of my husband and I would like to explore this new adventure with him.

Health wise I have now found my optimum. I am not well but I am functioning well enough. It means I have to set priorities and living in a quiet house, somewhere in nature, will nurture me more than an interesting city that offers impulses all the time.

In the past four weeks we have decluttered the house and done all the chores we’ve been planning for years. My husband is delighted with the space and room we have found. As am I!

For the first time in my life I now tidy up after myself. And enjoy it.

Look, this is my attic studio:

You see my press in the far right. I am going to use it soon, it is at the top of my priority list.  Wood block reduction prints. And blind printing.

Being an artist is my top priority, it’s my “daily duty”. My other “daily duties” are fighting manure fermenting and biomass plants; co-running the house-hold; managing my health and social engagements.

These are the things that have a place in my every day life. House hold and health are every day things. They get combined with one of the other three. So each day I determine: is today a day for social fun, for making art or for fighting pollution? That’s how I start my day. Because of my health it is OK if this main theme doesn’t get my attention until 14 o’clock, because that’s about the time my body gets going.

Besides three things that have priority every day there are my hobbies. These are my past times. My sit-down-and-enjoy-the-moment-things. They are luxury and are meant to be enjoyed. They are particularly enjoyed in a nice decluttered room!

My hobbies are knitting; spinning; quilting; ceramics, sewing clothes and doodling. For ceramics and sewing lessons there are fixed days in the week, because I have lessons in a studio. The other hobbies I do as I feel like them. But I should do one every day. It makes me happy.

So that’s how I do my days now, and it fits my health profile.

Here are some more pictures of my house. Lots of winter pictures somehow…

View of the bedroom at the back, over the river Dommel:
achterzijde uitzicht oliemolensingel winter 2018

view from bedroom at the front, at a Winter night:brede haven straatverlichting 1e verdieping uitzicht

My cat wants something….lillepoes wil kattengras

Poekie enjoying early Spring in my back garden:poekie in de tuindeur

Spring 2019, I saw how the harbour at the front made light dance in my bedroom door:weerspiegeling gracht op de eerste verdieping

Poppies at my front door every year:
poppies bij de voordeur

View from my bed room at the front across the whole harbour towards the inner city of Den Bosch:winter kerstboom buren brede haven 2018

View straight ahead from the first floor bedroom at a Winter night:winteravond 2018 brede haven den bosch

Sun rise at an early Winter morning:zonsopkomst winterochtend brede haven 54

Full winter panorama of Brede Haven ‘s Hertogenbosch:
Brede-Haven-Panorama-Winter

determining the meaning of life: don’t use logic.

In the last decade I’ve learned that logic is not the right tool to evaluate (human) life with. Our knowledge of cause and effect does not render logic any authority for appraising life. Logic is just a tool for survival. Some specimens use talons to survive, some have whiskers, others have a brain. Probing the meaning of life with any one of these is legitimate. One is not a better tool of assessment than the other. Logic has as many shortcomings for judging life as do talons or whiskers.

One of those shortcomings is that logic uses premisses and those premisses are false for this particular task. Yet they are rarely examined when following a train of thought that leads to a desperate view on life.

Some of these premisses are: “What happens next is important.” “Human life is important.” “Human life is insignificant in the grant scheme of things.” “My life is important.” “My life is not important.” “Time is important.” “The flow of time is important.” “Time dictates something.” “Time waits for no one.” “Things should be different.”

These are all false because they have no place when trying to determine the meaning of life, when trying to attache a value to life. For example they prevent proper validating a gesture of care, of physically holding someone. And I hope we all agree that touching someone, holding someone, has a place when determining the value to human existence.
Another example: time flows different when you hold someone. When you cuddle your cat. When you’re about to fall asleep. When you meditate.

If you do accept any of these premisses and jump aboard that train of logic you’ll inevitably arrive at a dark destination. Not because the journey is wrong but because the depart was not fitting the quest and you shouldn’t bring a train to a daisy fight with kittens.

You should know that the very fact that you are trying to understand and overcome life and the world with your brain is a sign you are trying to regain control over something. It’s a defence against a feeling of powerlessness. That’s the real station of departure.

It is this knowledge that helps me actively step away from these trains of thoughts. I can’t ride them out, I know I can’t win on the logical plane. I should not examine the place of the court system in society. Not analyze the role of women in cultural interactions. Not ponder the way we humans organize our society. Destroy the natural world. Transport cattle and pigs on the roads. Dispose of our waste.

And although I cannot see the falseness of the premisses when I feel this way I have grown to trust that they are. Distraction is the solution I apply until I feel well again.

Haapsalu Blue Train 00252:
 Haapsalu Blue Train 00252pic by David Allen Wizardgold

you get the illness that humours the universe the most

OK, so I have this ME thing down now. I take my supplements, I take my hydrocortison, I take my rests, I wear my ear mufflers, I eat the fibre free FODMAP no oestrogens low tyramine diet and I take my daily walks to get the intestines moving and clear my brain chemistry. I have a life again! I’m not thinking about my body all the time, I’m thinking and doing other things. :)

Now guess who got bursitis of the hips?

No walking, sitting or using stairs for me.

Guess who lives in a house which has every room on another level starting with the two living rooms having a 1.20 m height difference between them and a kitchen that’s below ground level? Guess whose art studio is in the attic? Guess whose sewing room is somewhere half way?

Guess who now cannot attend events and knitter parties specifically chosen this year to celebrate recovery and getting back a life? I cannot get there because I can hardly sit in a car or train.

OK new game.

Guess who started to see double when she spend Summer 2014 resting on her back for ME with her first iPad about 30 cm from her face?

Guess whose orthoptist then told her it couldn’t possibly be caused by having your iPad up so close? So I spend the next few years enjoying my daily rests (and nightly insomnia) like that.

watching sid the science kid on the ipad pic by jenny cu

Guess whose diplopia got significant worse? I’m at prism 6 now. That’s really bad. Guess whose orthoptist now tells me this iPadding hurts my eyes and all the kids are getting diplopia and nearsightedness because they are buried in their electronics? I’m so hip.

(don’t talk about hips)

Guess who doesn’t need reading glasses anymore because the nearsightedness cancels out the ageing eye? Guess who still needs glasses because diplopia is up close too.

Guess who needs her eyesight for her most dearest activity: drawing?

Final question: guess who has the kind of personality to implement solutions in a rigorous way and get things sorted?

Muffin Tin Monday - puzzle time! April is Autism Awareness Month! pic by Melissa for Autism Awareness Month.

I am standing and typing this. I have arranged a stand up workplace in the front sitting rooms. I’ve brought my drawing equipment here. I am thinking of bringing the sewing machine here too. You can sew standing up.

I’m getting new glasses. I have a timer that reminds me every 20 minutes to look up and gaze afar, resting my eyes.

I found a blog about aligning your skeletal structure, your posture, so the long muscles and tendons work the most efficient and do not bother the bursea. It’s Nutritious Movement.com, blog from Kate Bowman. I now re-adjust my post every 7 minutes or so. Until it’s a new habit.

This is my timer, from Bengt EK Design:

Because life is so funny…

a “normal” colon: IBS, Hepatic Flexure Syndrome, Slow Transit

This is a normal colon:
CT colon hepatic flexure syndrome

No polyps, no thickness in the walls, reasonable unfolding of all the folds, no restrictions or obstructions, no cancers. Altough its path doesn’t look exactly like the text book examples this is a normal colon.

The doctor will say: “This is normal, there’s nothing wrong with you.”

What he actually means is: “This is within parameters, there’s nothing Very Wrong with you. However we must remind ourselves that this picture does not show its functionality in your normal life, when your colon is filled with food instead of air. But hey, no obvious problems!”

I’m glad that Very Wrong Things are ruled out.

I now look more closely at the picture and I think I can see why the owner of this colon wakes up in a sweat every night. At first I thought the problem was solely at the hepatic flexure. Indeed there is a steep bend, where the colon nearly folds into itself, that’s difficult to manouvre for colon content when the person is lying down.

But now that I’ve experimented for a few weeks I can with 80% certainty say that the problem lies at the beginning of the colon, right where it sprouts from the small intestines.

It’s a bit difficult to see but on the smaller scan on the right you see the person lying on her left side and when zooming in you can see how many bends there are in colon section right after the appendix:

CT-foto-colon-inverse

I inversed the image for more clarity.

From centre bottom going up diagonally to the right is the ascending colon: the folds stack up onto each other. Imagine food stuff traversing these bends. It will need the torso to be upright and move in various directions to create room to navigate this freely.

Theory:

this part somehow collapses when lying down. In the first stage of the night food gets processed by the small intestines (average time 4,5 hours) and gets pushed into this part of the colon. Where it gets stuck. The colon swells.

The large motility movement (BMM) comes by every 1,5 hours or so and cannot shift this food. 4,5 hours after the person lied down this accumulates into a stress reaction, waking her up in a sweat. Lower left abdomen tender and swollen.

Experiment:

avoid food to be there in the night. The person has been eating at different times the past few weeks and has been eating different foods too. Avoiding bulk, fibre and gaseous foods (because this is also the part of the colon where bacteria produce gas and gasbubbles easily block a colonic bend or fold). So that’s a low-residue diet plus FODMAP.

The timing has been important too: eat main meals before 2 in the afternoon. Or: “have dinner at noon.”

Drink a lot after 2 o’clock until bed time. Tea, broth. There has been snacking on low fibre things such as chocolates. A walk every evening is important because being upright and moving about ensures the foods in the ascending colon to move upwards.

Results:

have been satisfactory. Sleep has been longer than the typical 4,5 hours on more nights than ever before! Wake up is now typically after 6 hours (4,5 hours + one more BMM cycle) and most days in a sweat with a filled ascending colon but not too dramatic. It has been bliss! So much more gets done in a day on a 6 hour sleep than a 4,5 hours sleep. The person has Adrenal Insufficiency and can even lower her Hydrocortisone on those days.

Future:

get as many 6 hour nights as possible. Hoping to work towards 7,5 hour night but as of yet no idea how to accomplish that. More movement during the day is one route. Tips welcome.

Some Details:

On days that have dinner-at-noon there is tiredness after dinner. It’s the typical tiredness associated with digestion. After one hour there needs to be lie down for one hour for food to be processed by the duodenum. Resting is important to deal with CFS/ME anyway. Needs rest twice a day.

Protein is needed by 11 o’clock in the morning, especially Choline, which fuels the Parasympathetic Nervous System. Otherwise the person will feel weepy and wired at noon. I’ve got Choline pills and body builders protein powders as a back up.

When B12 vitamin is taken (in mB12 form)  Fosfatidylserine is needed a couple of hours later or pee will smell of ammonia, indicating proteins not being absorbed and used for repairs.

Testosteron is taken twice a week, together with some body builders proteins (l-glucosamine and casein), especially on the morning of a work out (fit20). Feeling very good about it. Strong. Together. Without any of these her muscles will not build. With them the muscles are actively in use when standing or sitting, she’s not merely “hanging off my skeleton” or using fat rolls to lean on. It’s quite a novel feeling and it feels appropriate.

The fibre equivalent of one small clementine is already too much fibre in a day and will cause insomnia. Nuts are being consumed though and but they have to be chew chew chewed.

The colon expert at the hospital said fibre is only needed for colon functionality. If the colon functions (i.e. you have satisfactory bowel movements) than fibre is not needed. Because the problem here is in the ascending colon food has not been dried out yet and hard pellet stools are not an issue. The low fibre diet does not cause very loose stools either. There’s a bowel movement once or twice a day.

I’m amazed at how sensitive the variables are. One clementine, come on!

There is one other thing as important for the sleep as food intake: dust. The bed needs to be changed at least once every fortnight and needs to be vacuumed every third night and sleeping clothes (including hats and scarves) need to be shaken vigorously out of the window every other day.

The last one stumps me. It needs to be both: food and dust. One of the two does not prevent the waking up.

One more detail: the CT colon shows a little bit of food matter left in the steep bend at the Hepatic Flexure. Indicating, because the patient had a very good colon cleaning before the pictures were taking, that this is indeed a second trouble spot in the colon. Food does get stuck here, especially when there’s air trapped. Avoidance of gaseous foods helps with this particular colonic problem. I’ve researched FODMAP and have understood the reasoning behind it (“what do bacteria eat?”). This allowed me to assess potential food items instead of trying to follow the list of this or that person/website.

  • As a rule: stay away from dietitians, they mean well but they do not know enough
  • as a rule: run from from amateurs/celebrities/people who’ve done a course/wrote a book about their experience. They’re in it for the money and their kick for saving humanity.
  • view your doctor’s opinions with some reservations. He’s knowledgable but he’s wearing horse blinders and has blind spots and assumptions (about you, your gender, your age and what “normal” bodily function is).
  • educate yourself. Sherlock the heck out of your thing.

Sherlock Holmes pic by Kevin on Flickr

Working again

I’m working again! But not really.

Since January I feel so much better and energetic that I’ve got actively into art again. I’m not ready to declare the project yet because these young saplings need a lot of protection before they’re viable. But I think about it all the time and go to sleep with many plans and visual images. That’s what I recognize from when I was full time working. Be it in art or in engineering.

The thing is: I cannot get myself to work every day. It’s the weirdest thing. Still so much time is needed for maintenance of the body, the house and the social life that not much energy is left for doing the thing I want to do most.
Houseworkpic by Pascal

This “getting healthier all the time” is not an easy task. So many days I’m back in the half-brain-state, where I have to just rest and pace and not push myself. So many other days I crumble under the pressure I put myself under and have to actively back off and take it easy. It’s really weird.

On other days other self chosen tasks take up my energy allotment. There’s again court documents to be written and I’ve taken it upon myself to do that. It gives great satisfaction to work on them a whole day and then send it in. But it’s not the thing I want to do the most in the world. Or is it? The thrill is real. The feeling of accomplishment. These emotions are confusing.

I feel I need to choose because I cannot do all the things. The art is suffering from the time I spend on the intellectual things but both give me great pleasure. And then there are all the things I do not do: the physical things such as kayaking, singing, dancing Flamenco or playing slap bass guitar.
Banksy in Boston: F̶O̶L̶L̶O̶W̶ ̶Y̶O̶U̶R̶ ̶D̶R̶E̶A̶M̶S̶ CANCELLED, Essex St, Chinatown, Boston pic by Chris Devers, art by Banksy

Of course I’m also terrified any time I don’t feel well, be it physical or mental. Terrified I’ve finally broken “the black box” and will be permanently ill. And if the present situation doesn’t terrify me I’ll think about the future and let that scare me silly. “How will I fare in an old people’s home? Surely they won’t cater to my diet or to my need for silence. I’ll die early!” “What if my husband dies? There’ll be so many things we didn’t get to do! And I won’t know how to command the Wifi and all the other hacks he installed in the house.”

I actively have to take in the mental reigns and put my mind onto other tracks. Live in the here. Live in the now. But it requires management energy, sigh. This on top of checking my mood all the time because it wanders so easily off track when not supplied with the right minerals. That continues to be a real nuisance. O man, imagine being pregnant or at puberty! When your mind is not your own. Awful.

So now I have a dial to tweak my sleep and guess what: I feel a failure every time I wake up after 4,5 hours again. If I manage to succeed (yes, with the 5-HTP and the FODMAP and the low-fibre and the stomach exercise AND THE HOUSE DUST) I don’t wake up after 4,5 hours. I wake up after 6.

sleeppic by masha krasnova-shabaeva

That’s my current reference for succes…. 6 hours of sleep. Still not enough to live a healthy life on. But not as wrecking as 4,5 hours. Still, with the good diet and other de-stressing measurements I now have a peaceful lying awake after those 4,5 hours. Not the tossing and turning and brain burning scheming social justice/world domination plans. It’s more of a 2 hours surfing imgur kind of insomnia. Then take some Hydrocortison and then get another 2 hours of restorative sleep. That too is different from before. But still, it makes me get out of bed at 10 instead of 6.30 and it steals my productive hours of the day.

Today I had a CT colon scan, a virtual colonoscopy. Hopefully it will show an anatomical reason for my lifelong waking up after 4,5 hours. The measurements I state above do not give me 100% result. Not even 50% anymore. Don’t know what’s going on. But I now feel like a failure almost every night, just because it’s no longer a total mystery. It’s a 85% mystery…

Doctor, please!pic by Edwin van Geelen, carving to be seen when floating on the canals of Utrecht.

I do know the colon-doctor rolled his eyes when I first came to him. It’s so out of the ordinary what I told him.

This attitude of his alters my approach of him next week. I’m no longer expecting him to announce an all-relieving “duh!” diagnosis. (I was hoping but now I’m no longer). I’ve set my aims at getting a copy of the scans, so I can look for myself whether there’s a steep bend in the colon (at the hepatic flexure) or perhaps a narrowing which can explain the symptoms. Perhaps take it to an expert in a different hospital. From the man himself I hope to learn a bit about how long people can go on eating low-fibre. I’m guessing one needs to shave off the villi in the small intestines every once in a while. Hoping to learn as much as possible from the man. Jotting down questions throughout the week, as they come to me (usually at night).

Well, that’s it. Just wanted to make a note that being in recovery from ME/CFS is not easy and is not a straight line. And it doesn’t make one happy per sé. Being happy requires quite a bit of work from me.

And I now have to deal with “normal people” stuff again such as: “there are only 24 hours in a day”.

24 hours neon Sign pic by Mike Mozart

I have now learned to prioritize the one thing I love to do most in the world. And I am very surprised to find I cannot do that thing every day. And there’s also sadness that one can choose only one thing to prioritize. I have to put so many other dreams aside. I have to be frank about them never coming to fruition and I need to shed some tears about this. There’s just no time nor energy. Weird world.

Little bit of blues while I continue to work my way up without any guarantees whatsoever:

Ladybird and the Blues!
pic by Danny Perez Photography

Don’t worry. Just focus on your happy dots and beautiful face markings, on the sunlight and on walking on a surface with all these funny little hairs. It’s a marvelous world, once you allow it to touch you instead of trying to command it.

Hepatic Flexure causes lifelong insomnia

I cannot believe that I did not figure this out earlier. It’s so logical, looking back.

Each night I wake up at 3AM. Wide awake. I lie awake for about 1 hour – 1,5 hr. Then I sleep a little but do not wake up rested.
Lying down = right upper bend in the colon gets squished. Matter cannot pass and builds up in the ascending colon. After 4,5 hours my body jolts itself awake from the stress.

4,5 hours being the bare minimum of sleep it needs to get by. Or the amount of time the small intestines need to process everything they’ve got and dump it into the colon.

I’ve had this insomnia as long as I can remember. Even as a child. My parents thought I was afraid of the dark or the house burning down. Every night I woke up. Always have.

Now that I’ve been addressing constipation and slow colonic transit the past couple of weeks I’ve had some succes  in sleeping through the night. Glorious feeling! Getting 6 hours instead of 4,5.

It makes sense now that I think about it: as I lie down the hepatic flexure gets squished (by the liver?) and matter cannot pass into the traverse colon. Stuff builds up in the ascending colon, especially in the 4,5 hours of sleep, and then I jolt awake because of the stress reaction. Lying awake for a good hour tossing and turning (making matter pass the hepatic flexure?). Perhaps I miss the train of the BMM (Body Mass Movement) that occurs every so often and one is every 1,5 hours?

I’m now looking into solutions for keeping that flexure open when I lie to rest. Can’t find a similar problem on the internet but I’m looking for clues at people who have a prolapsed traverse colon (colonic ptosis).

It is very common to have your colon twist and fold, both at the traverse colon (red) and the sigmoid colon (blue):

fig3-yee-ian-yik-2012

and these people (children too) all have slow colonic transit.

God knows how mine is twisted at the red part. All I know is when I lie down the traverse colon is no longer accessible. The life long insomnia as a result of this has caused adrenal problems and “ME”. I’ve fixed the latter and when I start sleeping though the night my adrenals will probably need less Hydrocortison as a crutch.

So what can I do? What do people with prolapsed traverse colon or enteroptosis get advised?

  • Surgery is out, not enough succes rate .
  • Defining stomach muscles is advised. (fit20 is an excellent regime for that. As is kettlebelling)
  • As is stomach massage.
  • As is hanging upside down (during sports) to let gravity help.

So what will I do?

  1. I will do more muscle exercising. I already do normal crunches on machines, both at fit20 and the gym. I will incorporate diagonal movements such as standing on a training ball and moving a barbell from left to right. Kayaking movements would be excellent too.
  2. I will do extra sets right before bed. Get as much matter out of the ascending colon as possible. Also massage these parts before going to sleep.
  3. continue mindfulness and supplements to enhance colonic motility (it’s still an issue)
  4. adopt a different sleep posture? It is related to me lying flat. Sleeping on my right or left or stomach does not seem to change much. Perhaps lie with head lower than buttocks? Head higher? Learn to sleep standing up, strapped to the bed?
  5. asking my doctor for advice about what I put into my mouth. Ascending colon specializes in taking out the moisture, perhaps if I can keep matter fluid it passes the hepatic bend easier? Is this where laxatives target? I have not used laxatives ever and I know they are not a lasting solution, if anything they can make matters worse. Usually fiber is advised to make matter moist but fiber works against my colonic inertia and gives too much bulk in the ascending colon at night.
  6. ask my doctor about enemas. Would that be good, cleaning the tubes once a month? My previous GP was against it because my system is so sensitive. He was often right.
  7. ask my doctor about anything else she can think of. Perhaps she thinks it fruitful to talk this over with a GI specialist? I dread going to yet another professional who deals with so many “special snowflakes” and patients who have dr.Google at their fingertips and somehow showing them that I indeed have a weird thing.

We’ll see. I’m meeting my new GP on Thursday. See if that goes better than when I met her replacement. I am preparing a medical dossier for her so she can see my casus in one glance. Everything on just one piece of paper.

PS in addition I still have classic “hepatic flexure” as described by my old GP. A bit of air forms in the colon and cannot pass the flexure. It clogs it up, preventing other mass to pass. I can solve this by lying on my right and letting gravity do its thing: the air squeezes past and rises upwards, into the traverse colon. I then turn on my back. Perhaps do my gymnastics.

I have to do this on top of whatever I have to do to empty the ascending colon.

 

Fixed the slow colon/ constipation.

So I fixed my slow transit colon and I now regularly use the toilet and deposit healthy, softish, stools in the round porcelain vault.

My clue was this: a scientific case where Crohn’s disease was healed by restoring the balance between gut neurotransmitters Dopamine and Serotonine.

In Crohn, it was assumed and proven in this case, there’s too much serotonin and not enough dopamine. Serotonine speeds up gut motility. By comparison I assume dopamine slows it down and this echoos my experience as a high dopamine person.

This is the scientific study: Amino acid-responsive Crohn’s disease: a case study. A patient of 22 years was healed just by taking in precursors to both dopamine and serotonin in a good ratio.

I mentioned this to my GP and he said that a regular side effect of Anti-depressants is loose stools. AD enhance the levels of serotonine. Serotonine is produced and used in the gut, for about 90-99,9 % of the bodily production.

So I set out to up my levels of gut-serotonin. For this I now take 5-HTP, a plant and precursor of serotonin. Currently I’m taking about 100 mg twice a day. I also stopped eating any and all fibres since I think my case of constipation is definitely not helped by adding fibre to hold the water. I’m better helped with relieving the digestive system of as many burdens as possible. No fibres, no vegetables, no raw foods, no nuts, no tomato skins et cetera.

I also apply the tummy massages I outlined in my previous post, both for the colon and for the Hepatic Flexure. And do the kettlebelling now and again.

I squeeze out lemons and drink the juice. (Acid stomach = better bile? Lemon juice relaxes the gut muscles? The increased salivation is important?  I know there’s a link between adequate saliva production and adequate adrenal function/stress resilience… I don’t know, it just feels good. I can’t say yet what is important in the palette of solutions I’m trying right now. Fresh lemons do seem important. Store bought lemon juice didn’t do the same for me.) I also take 1000 mg vit C. Sometimes twice.

Lastly I only eat proteins twice a day. I don’t eat any more after half past three in the afternoon. I believe the gut -or my gut at least- fares better with rests and pauzes. Not the constant bombardment of food morsels that the five-meals-a-day-brigade advises.

Those five meals a day are meant to keep your blood sugar level. I know other ways of doing that (see dr. Bernstein: eat nothing that triggers insuline nor any volume bigger than your stomach/fist. Or do a ketonic diet (but at the moment I’m enjoying my slices of white bread with lots of butter and just a hint of ginger jam too much)).

My gut has relaxed.

Suddenly my guts all fit into my pelvic bones. Everything is neatly folded up there. No bloating. I stand taller. Find it easier to sit up straight.

I have more energy.

I’m not sleeping through the night yet. But bodily stress has lessened. I have been sleeping 5 or 6 hours instead of 4,5. When I wake my guts want to move. I think they do not move while I’m asleep, it seems like they are waiting for me to wake. Or they are waking me. I need to do the laying on my right side to assist the Hepatic Flexure. It works. I can hear stuff moving and gurgling. I pass a bit of gas.

I have more energy.

However. The upped serotonine makes MAO A and MAO B work harder. This siphons away Dopamine. I have noticed that my ability to concentrate diminishes on days of high 5-HTP supplementation.

So I’ve taken a new supplement to up my dopamine while I do this experiment with serotonin. This supplement is called Methylphenidate, better knows as Ritalin. Ritalin causes the brain to produce more dopamine. I take 2,5 mg twice per day. Dosage for ADHD is usually 40 mg per day.

I had a big booboo with the doctor about wanting to try ritalin in this context. It’s a new GP, my trusted GP has stopped his practice to focus on orthomolecular science, specializing in the Methylation Cycle (!!!).

The new one didn’t understand one jota of what I was saying. Didn’t try either. All he saw was “a depressed housewife, looking for some happy pills”.  He thought I was on way too many supplements (didn’t bother to notice how low and tailored my dosages are). He suggested I exercise to battle depression. I’m not depressed. I already exercise. Fuck off.

I tried to steer the conversation into engineering territory, explaining how I approached this black box of a disease. How I had figured things out. How I had devised trials, to get more data. I mentioned Methylation Cycle and how messed up mine is due to faulty vitD and vit B12 receptors (I oversimplified things to get a common point of reference).

I asked him if he was familiar with the Methylation Cycle in the mitochondria, as part of the Citric Acid Cycle

All he heard was “Methylalalallablabla” and he proceeded on a rant about how way too many people take Methylphenidate and no one in Spain is taking it and here in the Netherlands everybody and their mum is shovelling pills, all because we want to keep up with Instagram and Facebook and things.

Yeah. It does have the same word in it, “methyl”. But I don’t think it means what you think it means.

So we parted. He did give me a prescription for Ritalin. He was reinforced in his idea that women my age are just sorry people looking for a quick fix. He never got to see beyond his blinders and see that in fact there was a smart engineer sitting opposite him, one with an interesting experience and an open approach to both life and health. Someone who he could have an interesting conversation with about healing and medicine.

Perhaps I’m a depressed housewife too, just like he assumes, I can’t say because I’m living my life from the inside out and have blinders of my own, but I know for a fact I’m also that smart engineer and he never knew.

The ritalin works. But it’s a crude dosage. I easily get hyper. It’s a nice feeling, for sure. I feel alive and productive and I want to dance and run. I do dance and run and try to change gears afterwards and rest (do that stomach massage while I’m resting).

I even started fitness. Powerlifting! Starting very slowly. I’ve been doing Fit20 since March and my core muscles have been build up precisely and with attention. Now I’ve joined a generic gym and do some cardio as warm up and cool down. In between I work on 7 or 8 machines, working on muscles and strength. It’s lovely! Endorphines ahoy! Lyn White from Reverse Therapy would cheer, I’m sure.

In a few weeks I’ll go work with the loose weights, barbells and such. Squat, Push up, Pull up, that sort of thing. It’s something I’ve always planned: weight lifting once I hit 40.

I couldn’t when I hit 40, I was too ill and weak. Now I’m 45 and I’ve started. Thanks to adequate cortisol replacement and now relaxed gut yielding more energy.

Still, I’ll be fine tuning the ritalin-dosage. 2,5 mg is too much in one go, I get too hyper. It’s the same kind of hyper I feel when I eat something fried in vegetable oil. It’s some sort of feverish greed. It feels as hippetyhop as having a little caffeine but with caffein I just get very chatty and fast-brained. With ritalin/vegetable oil I also get a feverish glance in my eye (and brain).

Estrogen-hype is different yet again. There it’s more Popeye-bam!bam! Rosie the Riveter. And lots of energy. I suppose its testosteron related. Of which I scored very low at the last blood tests by the way. I now have a DHEA supplement which converts into estrogen and testosteron, courtesy of your own body to chose how much of which. I do need more testosteron because I need to build up muscle. It’s a weird sensation to work my muscles in the gym but not have the building blocks to actually build them. Strange indeed.

For all HRT it’s: go low, go slow. So I’m just taking a little dab of DHEA every few days. In a few weeks there’s a whole battery of blood tests again. Before that I am to meet my new GP, a woman. I’ve prepared an introduction to my case. I won’t be hood winked by a biased GP again. I hope.

In the mean time: colon is happy! I am happy.

There’s more amplitude between activity and rest. The ritalin is a bit too high at the moment, I’m adjusting dosage. But it’s not so high that I get dopamine-excess symptoms such as head ache from tyramine rich foods (such as cheese). Although they do tend to come on sooner though but that can also be because I’ve been off tyramine for months if not years now. The system may have grown very sensitive (aka it’s not something I’m very worried about). The other day I had just a few organic corn chips for their salt content (It’s a heat wave over here! I’m very vulnerable to heat wave I found out.) The corn chips were made with olive oil (which are not the vegetable fried oils I meant earlier, those are from commercial shops and fast foods) and I got a splitting head ache afterwards. Olive oil contains tyramine. Same with Mascarpone cheese.

If I get the highs and the rests a bit more under control I’m hoping the sleep will follow too. I now -again- have come back to the notion that sleep is made during the day, just like I learned in the sleep study and the psychologist that helped me as part of that. Relaxing, mindfulness, during the day pays off at night.

I experiment with foods but most make me tired. I long very much for salad and sprouts and I eat them in small quantity. But mostly I eat a slice of white bread with lots of full fat butter (Demeter quality) and a hint of jam. Or a thick slice of white bread (artisanal bread, without sugar. Just flour, water, salt and yeast.) with four or five egg yokes on it, warmed in coconut fat. (I won’t say fried because I like to keep the yoke runny.)

I have a piece of chocolate, 75% or more cacao. But only one or two small bits in a day because I’ve noticed it kicks my adrenals and I will lie awake when chocolate was consumed.

For dinner (at 3.30 AM) I have drumsticks or a piece of steak or 150 grams of minced meat with tomato juice and spices. Or fish with creme fraiche.

I also eat pancakes, with jam or slices of apple. But only one or two a day. Instead of slice of bread or dinner. As a pick-me-up I drink decaffeinated Earl Grey tea with unwhipped cream or full fat milk.

Overall I just don’t eat that much, in volume. I do eat enough in calories, what with the butter and all. I have gained some layers of fat in the past few months. These will disappear now that I’m more active. I’m not worried.

I have found that ritalin/dopamins will keep you going and will take away the desire to eat. This can be a seductive tool in the hands of someone who’s not level headed. I know I have an addictive DNA-characteristic and I feel the appeal. Reverse Therapy keeps me grounded in what’s important. As do the physical activity. I need to go out every day, every morning, to move and to clear away the toxins and cobwebs that have accumulated in my body and mood. My body is helped by mB12 and Phosphatidylserine. I need to pay attention to clearing the junk away properly, now that I’ve kickstarted the methylation process and am egging it on with the ritalin.

So these are interesting times for me. I’m deadly afraid I’m wrecking something and for this I’m monitoring my body all the time which is not good, in terms of relax and trust (Reverse Therapy primary points). I take comfort from the knowledge of and my experience with “Go Low and Go Slow” which has always worked for me up until now. I find that I seldom burden my body beyond what it can clear away in a day. Now that the gut/colon is falling into this rhythm too I get more and more confident. Confident that I am a friend to my body.

I wish my former new GP read this. We could’ve become a team.