Aside from using safer skincare with Beautycounter I also try to reduce the toxic chemical burden in my home.
Over time I have slowly started using less scents in my home. I tossed all of the wallflowers in my apartment and ditched any aerosol room spray. I purchase cleaner brands with less harmful chemicals. I am far from perfect with this but am making an effort to be "cleaner." I don't have very many candles left in the house and diffuse essential oils to replace the lovely aroma of a candle. I do occasionally light up a candle because they are just so lovely. De (my boyfriend) and I are getting better about buying cleaner laundry detergent and using our reusable grocery bags. We still have a lot room for improvement but I am proud of this progress.
We have been so much better about using our PUR water filter to filter our city water here in Atlanta and will continue to look for ways to reduce the number of chemicals and toxins we expose our bodies to.
We don't have control over most of the chemicals we come in contact with in the world but we have some control over what is in our home.
When I began to learn more about the chemicals in personal care products such as deodorant, face wash, tampons and soap I was totally freaked out. I was so afraid and started to view products differently. I switched to a non-aluminum deodorant first. I tried out several and am still open to trying new ones. This was of course an adjustment but one that I do not waiver on.
Then I heard about Beautycounter's mission to get safer products into the hands of everyone. Beautycounter's main focus is health and safety. Removing endocrine disrupting chemicals or potential irritants from ALL products they sell. That way you can rest assured when you buy with Beautycounter. Of course I was loving all of this but it was so expensive like most great things are. So I waited and waited. Followed along on some various IG accounts and finally pulled the trigger when there was a promo a gal was running. I tried the overnight resurfacing peel which came at the time with the facial wipes. I loved how gentle the wipes were on my face but OMG the resurfacing peel made a huge difference. I used it almost every night for a month and that sold me. My skin was softer and more radiant all while being better for my body. I was in love. I collaborated with a girl at my barre studio and ran a social to earn free and 1/2 off product...the more people purchased from me during my 10 day social the more I earned and I was able to get my resurfacing peel and favorite facial oil both half off and 3 FREE items. From there I decided I liked the mission of Beautycounter and the products enough to take the leap into being a consultant. So now I can educate others about safer skincare and they can buy from my website.
If you are interested in learning more about Beautycounter feel free to check out my site or send me a message if you have questions and need recommendations. I am always happy to help you find something that is right for you. Beautycouter is all about education and reform. They are working on changing the FDA rules so that products have to be monitored more closely before being put on the market. Beautycounter also collaborates with scientists at Tuffs University to produce sound research studies to better understand the effects of chemicals on the body.
Whether you are interested in using clean products, selling clean products or having a social of your own feel free to reach out to me with your questions.
Let’s be honest. The symptoms of IBD are hard enough, having to use a rectal medication can initially feel like adding fuel to a fire. Well that is how I felt when I first was prescribed suspension enemas. In addition, I was completely resistant, nervous, scared and of course embarrassed. So, so embarrassed, ashamed and afraid. I had no real concept of what to expect and was left to figure it out on my own.
I was given this medication with little to no instructions and no clue on what I was doing. I was so lost. I put a towel down in my bed and administered the enema as fast as I could to get it over with as fast as possible. I quickly learned how very wrong that technique was. Over the years, through trial and error and experimentation I have come up with a few tips and tricks for using mesalamine retention enemas.
I hope these tips can help you on your IBD journey. Please share these with your IBD community so nobody has to go at this alone.
First things first. In case you are wondering, mesalamine retention enemas are prescribed by physicians when inflammation is located in the descending colon. Sometimes, the inflammation can be referred to as “left sided.” If the inflammation is not in the sigmoid or descending colon then this type of medication may not be needed and could be cause for why you haven’t heard of them. However, if your inflammation is lower in your colon and you still haven’t heard about this medication, mention it to your provider to seek their guidance.
Mesalamine/Retention Enema Tips:
Share these tips with your IBD community so nobody has to feel alone in using this medication.
I have never been in histological remission. My scopes have always come back with active Ulcerative Colitis and inflammation. I have my fair share of symptoms and bad days due to my active disease and other gut issues. With that being said, I have been blessed to have a number of good days or dare I say great days. The hardest part of feeling “good” is the unknown for how long it will last. Knowing I could be hit with a myriad of symptoms at any given moment can make it hard to fully relax and unwind or enjoy the present moment. I struggle to quiet my fear and to truly be present. I work hard on being intentional, grateful and thankful for each day and especially the good days where I feel like my true self.
Remembering to cherish the good days and savor every moment is much harder than it sounds. It can be so easy to get caught up with the busy world we live in full of technology and many moving parts. I am guilty of this. Living with IBD has taught me to stop. Stop and smell the flowers once and a while. Look out the window and enjoy the sky no matter what it looks like. Take a walk even if it’s short or slow going. Breathe deeply and be thankful I can fill my lungs with air. As dark and as depressing this disease can be, it teaches us strength and shows us how to be truly grateful. Find something to be thankful for every day.
If you know me personally you likely know I am a bit of an overachiever. I am almost always doing more than one thing at a time. Typically I hold at least two jobs, along with other volunteer work, on top of my self-care. This can be a really awesome and inspiring way to live. However, if I am not careful it can lead me down the path to stress, anxiety and flare-ups.
I have learned the hard way to protect my time wisely. What tends to happen over and over and over again is I take on more and more work and max myself out until I get ill. This could be just catching a cold, a bought of mono, heat exhaustion, feeling faint or fatigue to a full blown Ulcerative Colitis (UC) flare-up. My goal now is to prevent these ailments from happening by listening to my body better and taking action at the very first sign of feeling run down. When I get that feeling I do everything I can to clear my calendar of what I can so I can find more time to give my body what it needs. Rest, exercise, good nutrition and peace of mind. I make sure I am drinking enough water and taking all of my medications and sometimes adding in a few to help boost me up while I my body is fighting hard to keep me well. This has proven to work for me several times. When I don’t do what my body needs I tend to suffer the consequence.
I feel like I am making this sound so easy. Like yeah listen to your body and you will feel better. No. Nope. It is not that easy. I have been working on this for years and years and still don’t always do the right thing for my body and I do still suffer from being so ambitious. I have been better at realizing this and adjusting my actions accordingly. We can be ambitious and goal oriented while living with IBD we just have to put our health first so we can chase after our dreams.
The best way I can describe feeling bloated would be as if there are balloons in my intestines that feel like they are going to burst but won’t. Sometimes this pressure is accompanied by another feeling that I like to describe as little men/women bouncing off the walls of my colon as if I am a human bouncy house. Typically, that feeling will also include some funny sounding noises beyond the traditional rumble of digestion. As you likely know, this can be so uncomfortable and varies by day and from person to person in how we all experience belly bloat. I wish I had a magical solution to take away all belly bloat for IBD warriors, but what works for one doesn’t work for all.
I admit there are bad bloat days that no remedy seems to touch. For those days, the best thing I can do is try to focus on something else, breathe through the discomfort and not let my mind focus on the discomfort or huge belly pushing my clothing to its limits.
When I am bloated I:
Dating isn’t easy. Regardless of your circumstance it isn’t always a walk in the park. Having IBD can make dating a little more complicated. I have been single a great deal of my life. My time as a single lady gave me the opportunity to date different people and explore who I am and what I want in a relationship.
It took me a while but I grew to finally be able to tell another person about my diagnosis without shedding tears. When I started dating post-diagnosis I would mention to people I met that I had Ulcerative Colitis. When they stared back at me blankly I would shrug it off and just say I have a sensitive stomach to help them understand, even though that really doesn’t describe even a fraction of what living with IBD is like.
As I matured and dated more I would describe having IBD in a different way. I would explain I have inflammation in my large intestine. I might even add in that it is considered an autoimmune disease. None of those men I dated had any clue what that meant for me. When I wasn’t feeling well I would just stay home. If I wasn’t feeling great while out with a guy I was dating I might pass it off as behind tired or my “tummy not feeling well.” I never included those I dated into my IBD world completely.
When I met my current boyfriend, De, in 2016 I explained I had IBD. However I still guarded what that truly meant for a while because I knew I liked this guy and I just wanted to “be normal.” There came a point where I couldn’t hide any longer. I needed to go back on my nightly suspension enemas which I administer right before I go to sleep. How was I going to explain this to the cute guy I started dating a few months ago when I need to do this medicine with him next to me. Instead of trying to hide this time I told him. I explained the entire reason why I have to use them and how embarrassing they are for me. He was so kind and understanding. If you don’t get a comforting response then you probably don’t want to be with that person anyway!
I slowly started letting De into my IBD world. I do not regret this one bit, and it took time. A lot of time. I didn’t unload everything I have been through with IBD on De all at once but I slowly began to include him more and more.
Now, do I think that means you should unload all of your IBD troubles on a first date…well certainly no. But what I am saying is be yourself. Don’t let anyone shame you. Share when you be with you, they will be. If they don’t want to go on this ride of life with you, they won’t, that gives you the opportunity to do what is best for you. At the end of the day you have to take care of number one and that includes when you are in the dating world. Don’t forget to be friendly at the grocery store, you just might meet the one.
My mom is amazing. She taught me so much from a young age, including about my bodily functions. One of the many lessons she taught me as a child was to speak up if my poop was bloody or black because something could be wrong.
So naturally the day my toilet bowl lit up with bright red blood I was terrified. Fear ran through my veins as I remembered what my mother told me as a kid. The blood scared me and told me that something was really wrong. Mind you this wasn’t a tiny little bit of blood, it was a noticeable amount, enough to cause alarm. I was seeing blood in my bowel movements, on the toilet paper an in the toilet bowl water. Talk about scary.
I found the courage to tell my provider because I knew I couldn’t get help without disclosing all of the gross details about what I was experiencing. I am thankful I was brave enough to speak to my doctor and that I didn’t wait.
A few months later I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC).
When living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) bloody stool can come and go. No matter how many times you have seen your own bloody bowel movements it is always alarming and emotional. My heart sinks every time blood reappears no matter the level of severity. I always feel like my health is sliding backwards when I notice blood. It takes mental and emotional strength not to let my worries take over.
My last UC flare was a bloody one. I had never passed so much blood, I had convinced myself that my intestines were coming out of my bum. While that luckily didn’t occur it was still scary. I felt so darn terrible that I couldn’t put much energy toward worrying about the bleeding at the time but that didn’t make it any easier.
I wish I had a cure or a secret to how to handle bloody stools but I don’t. I only know this: you are not alone. You are stronger than you feel or ever thought you could be. Find someone you can talk to about your symptoms and your journey, yes even if that includes talking about bloody poop. Advocate for yourself and your symptoms and if you or a loved one is seeing blood for the first time ever...don’t wait. Put your pride aside and get to a physician who will listen to your story. The first doctor didn’t listen? Go to another one. You are in the driver’s seat so you are the one who gets to drive. Best of luck.
I want my life and freedom back! Have you ever caught yourself saying this? Well I know I have on more than one occasion. I have spent many days afraid to hit the park, travel or go anywhere without a restroom 3 seconds away. I am working on healing my body and mind from this trauma. The trauma of having an accident is real folks. The fear of not being able to make it to a toilet is also very real and valid. You are not alone.
Tips for finding freedom:
Exercise has always been a part of my life. As my Ulcerative Colitis and other intestinal dysfunctions worsened it became more difficult to exercise but also more important. Taking the time to exercise, sweat, breathe and move my body is an intricate part of my healing journey. I have had to switch the type of exercise I do from running long distances and lifting heavy weights to barre and yoga but I only feel even stronger! Never underestimate the power of exercise. On days you need to rest. Rest. But when you can try to move. That can look very different for everyone. Maybe you are in the hospital and all you can do is sit up and stretch or walk the halls. That is just as important. Do what is right for you.