I am hanging up my dignity for practicality on this post. If you are looking for clean and pretty read – turn away now. This one is dedicated to those who may take heed from my experience. I hope it helps!
I am aware of my audience when writing. Really… I am. I know I am supposed to be an English teacher and use “correct grammar” with an extensive variety of sentences and vocabulary. I know I am supposed to keep the tense consistent and the person consistent. I know that I should “edit” my work before clicking on the “Publish in the Corner” button. Yup. I know. I also know that the original reason for these posts was to help myself to process my emotions as I travel with my family and friends along this cancer journey. I try to stay true to that as much as possible by just keeping true to what inspires me. So far, those inspirations have kept me out of hot water and free from too much controversy. So far.
Today, however, is all about the bran muffin. It would seem to be an innocent topic. Everyone makes them and has likely eaten them at some point. But right now, at this point in my cancer journey, I am not just anyone. I am someone who is asked at every doctor’s appointment if I … wait for it… am have problems with constipation? Do you see where this post is going?
It seems that one of my chemo meds (carbo – platin or paxi-taxol) causes constipation.
This is not a topic that women (especially as dignified as myself – grin) like to talk about. Being aware, however, that there are other people who read this blog who are on their own cancer journey, I feel compelled to reveal some remarkable “remedies” that have helped me.
Bran. Bran muffins. Relief.
It seems this post could almost double for a bran commercial – and maybe it should? I am not sure if I can actually express in words how “relieved” I am that I have been so loyal to my bran muffins in the morning! Anyone who is on a cancer journey will know the total pre-occupation constipation can bring. (Sorry – here I go with some raw honesty.) I imagine the cancer cells dying and collecting in my digestive tract. All I want is for them to leave. Be gone. Get the Hell out!
Several treatments ago – this “evacuation” became a problem and I lost sleep over it. When there is little other to think about other than cleaning your body our of cancer – it is easy to fill your thoughts with the importance of good bowel routines. Then – losing sleep is not good either. I drank a lot of water – nearly three litres a day – and walked every day in an attempt to clear things up. I ate a head of kale at every dinner and fruit shakes every morning. Still – I struggled.
To make a long story short – I did not want – nor do I want – to take a laxative. There are enough toxins in me already. My liver is already compromised and so why complicate things. My Mom used to stew prunes for my Dad — that worked. But, seriously, how gross are prunes? They even look like the end result they are supposed to produce. I just couldn’t bring myself to ingest them.
“Stacey,” inquired the nurse before my 5th chemo, “how are your bowels?”
Geez – how do you answer? “My bowels are doing well, thank-you? My bowels are in an up-roar? They are really crappy — ?” And on and on.
“My bowels are slow, but fine. I am determined to get them going.” I explained to my nurse. (What a pleasant conversation.) I remember teaching to my students during biology one session: your urine should be light and your poop should float. Here I was heeding my own medicine.
Fibre is the answer. This chemo round I have baked 6 dozen bran muffins – substituted half the flour for bran and flax – and have had tremendous success! You know what I mean! I felt like a new woman yesterday and again this morning! Seriously. Now I know what it feels like to be a man – if that old classic taking the newspaper into the washroom and emerging happily is true – which I think it is! What a relief it is to be moving again! I felt 10 pounds lighter physically AND mentally! How weird that such a simple movement can totally transform a person’s mood. Constipation can really weigh you down.
Yes, fibre (and water and exercise) is the answer. No need for anything else. My kingdom for bran! It has become the very fibre of my being, my raison d’etre (not really – but I’m feeling this happy!), my period of enlightenment. I say, “vivre le bran muffin!”