Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Nausea is the worst

I feel bad for saying this, even for thinking it.  But truly, some days nausea feels like the worst symptom.
I know there are people who have it worse.  I count my blessings nightly, kiss my kids and walk the dog, I say a silent prayer of thanks for what I have.
But I can't help but think that nausea is still just...miserable.

I have my allergies relatively under control.  My symptoms are new and probably "functional" which means, while I by no means am fully functional, my body technically has nothing wrong that needs treatment.

Whether your diagnosis is functional abdominal something, or IBS, or something more specific, the queasies are never fun.  They impact every area of your life, from baking to eating to socializing.  They may even impact your ability to work normally.

If you, like me, are struggling with stomach woes this year, just know that you aren't alone. The episodes are (hopefully) transient and short lived.  I won't say it could be worse because that doesn't help me.  But at least it isn't the end of the world.

For anyone else out there who is struggling, you probably have already had a list of recommendations that don't work.
I'm not going to say that there is an easy fix, or a one size fits all solution.  There isn't.  But, here are a few (corn free, gluten free as always) options that help take the edge off for me:

Ice water:  Something about really cold water makes it stay down better.  Small sips.  Sometimes pressing the glass to your wrists between sips helps, too.

Cold compress:  A cool compress on the wrists, inside the elbows or at the nape of the neck can be soothing.  And of course, if you're having those awful hot flash false fever things that sometimes accompany nausea, a cool cloth on the forehead never hurts.

Hot tea:  Depending on the day, hot tea can be soothing.  Small pieces of ginger can be simmered in water for 10-20 minutes to make ginger tea, or you can steep anise seeds for a licoricey taste.  Stir in a touch of sugar.  If you have a safe milk product to stir in, ginger tea tastes better with some creamy texture.  But if you don't, that's perfectly okay too.

Motion Sickness Bands:  Those little gray bracelets with a marble in them?  They work.  Not like magic, exactly, but they definitely help take the edge off.  The only trouble is that they can get stretched out and then they don't work nearly so well.

A brisk walk:  Yeah, I know, that seems counter intuitive.  But I find that a bit of fresh air (especially cold air) can really help calm things down.  Our hyperactive dog helps with this one a lot.

Dry food:  You know how pregnant women snack on saltines all day long?  And little kids get bits of dry toast when they're recovering from the flu?  Neither of those work with Celiac Disease.  But slightly toasted day-old rice or rice flour pancakes seem to settle much better than the fresh version.  I think it's a combination of the texture and the blandness.  Not appealing when you're well, but there are times when you would rather a few calories slip past your sensory network.

Broth: A perennial favorite, homemade broth gets a few precious calories in alongside some important nutrients.  Chicken broth, veggie broth, bone broth...whatever you prefer, get the ingredients into your crockpot before bed, and you'll have hot broth at your fingertips all day long.

Calm music, or a favorite movie:  There's comfort food, and there's comfort food for the soul.  Whatever your spiritual comfort food is...plug it in, curl up with a warm blanket and put your brain on autopilot.  If you can close your eyes to appreciate it, all the better.

You'll note that I don't mention books.  I love books.  I'm a voracious reader.  You can tell I haven't been feeling "normal" by the number of books I go through, just as you can guess my state of mind by the number of items I bring home from the library.  But I have to be careful, reading too much can exacerbate stomach issues.  Someday I'll get a smarter device and listen to recorded books...Occasionally I'll pick up a recording of Jane Austen, and while I find it hard to follow the story when I'm not feeling great, I do appreciate the soothing tone of the narrator.

I wish there was a miracle cure I could offer.  I'd love to wave a magical wand and cure us all of persistent stomach "issues".  But until then, the best I can do is tell you that you aren't alone.  And hope that I'm not alone either!  :P

It's especially challenging to deal with health issues during the holidays.  Try and focus on what you can do, not what you want to be able to do.  The holidays are a time of love and well as forgiveness and understanding.  The people who matter will understand.  The people who try and hold it against you don't matter.

Enjoy your holiday, embrace the calm moments and accept the queasy ones.  You only get one today, don't put it entirely on hold.

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