Tuesday, October 13, 2009

No man needs a vacation so much as the man who just had one

I'm back from my vacation to Denver, Colorado. I survived! I actually had quite a good time. In the days leading up to it, I was feeling quite anxious because of a different vacation a couple months ago. On that trip I was just miserable because of the UC. I had been feeling a bit worse and I think it was because of me worrying about having UC and traveling in addition to the normal stresses of getting ready to leave. On the trip I visited many lovely bathrooms, some of the nicest public restrooms I have seen. Which is good, because I am able to use the bathroom more easily when it is nice than when it is not if you know what I mean.

My biggest stress of the vacation was where I was staying. Instead of getting a hotel I stayed at the home of my uncle and his family. They showed me the bathroom I could use. The bathroom opened into their kitchen...where the family pretty much stayed all day...and there was no fan in the bathroom...and a very thin door...and I could hear them when I was in the bathroom so...

They all know about my illness (thanks mom) but knowing someone has a sickness and hearing them be sick are two very favorite things. I hate that the bathroom was right by the kitchen where people would be preparing food and eating, who designed that? But it was fine because I was hardly sick at all the whole time I was there. Maybe it was because it was a 10 hour car drive to get there and so I had a (kind of) relaxing day instead of my normal hectic days. Or maybe it was something else. But I had a really good vacation and I felt like a normal person for a while.

While there, I visited the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. They had this exhibit where you put monitors on your forehead that read your brain waves. It was a game between two people. There was a ball in the middle of the two people and a goal on each end. The point of the game was to become as relaxed as possible. When you relaxed, it would move the ball towards your goal on the other end. But as soon as you started thinking about something and your brain waves (or something, sorry I don't remember all the details) would go up and the ball would move in the opposite direction. My mom and I had been watching a couple playing the game and watching their brain waves for about 15 minutes before the girl beat the boy. We decided to give it a shot. My mom has studied meditation and relaxation techniques for years and was pretty confident she would win. Also, my family pretty much all think the reason I have UC is because I can't relax and stress a lot. I thought she would win because there was a crowd of people there watching and I am naturally pretty introverted and also because I'm not known to be a laid-back person. After just a minute of playing the game though I had won. I had just repeated in my mind the words "calm" and "peace" and hadn't tried to focus on the ball moving much. After I beat my mom, my cousin thought he could beat me, but I won again. And then I beat my dad. They showed the brain waves on a screen and every time mine were just low and steady while the others' would go up and down a lot.

My mom turned to me and said, "If you are able to relax so easily, why in the world do you have Ulcerative Colitis?" Why indeed. Mom said I should buy one of these and then when I see I am stressing I can just calm myself down and wouldn't have to be running to the bathroom all the time. How much do you think a brain scanner thingy costs?

P.S. When I got home, there were three messages on my answering machine from my doctor's nurse to call them. Remember I hadn't called last Monday--maybe they thought I died. I called the nurse back and the doctor has given me new orders to increase my dosage back up and to be sure to call EVERY week.


  1. Hmm...I don't think stress causes Colitis. I mean, I think it can cause a flare, but I don't think it causes the disease itself. Then again, who knows? This disease is so 'mysterious'. Still after being on SCD and seeing the results, I'm more of a believer that poor diet is the cause of Colitis. Plus bad genetics, lol. A lot of people in my family have colon problems and I think it got passed down to me. I'm glad you had a great time in Denver! I have family up there too and I'd like to make a trip there someday.

  2. I agree Mrs. McGuire. I think stress only aggravates the condition and triggers flares up. Of course, minimizing stress would probably be beneficial to anyone with UC or not.

  3. Glad you had a great holiday...weird bathroom set-up though!! :D

    I definitely got my UC because of stress..I've been thinking about that a lot lately and I'm going to do a blog soon about it, along with a little survey hopefully...and then food aggravates mine...but it's been really weird lately..I've been trying to calm myself as soon as I feel myself go and the UC seems to loosing it's symptoms...I did however have a really bad night when I ate an omelette last week and since then, I've had less and less symptoms....so I was wondering if a really good "flush out" (5 hrs on the toilet) did the trick for me. We're all so different and that's the problem. As the first one in my family to ever have this I'm searching for the cause. One thread of a link I have started noticing is arthritis...and my Grandfather had that...but I'm the one that is very nervous when new things happens and can get very easily stresses out...so how knows...it could be another missing link...

    Hey..in the 6 months to a year leading up to your UC...did anything really stressful or big happen in your life? I had a huge project in which I had to work over 80hrs a week for 6 weeks and then straight into another huge bid...that was what I think did it for me...too much pressure on me ..and people’s jobs on the line if we failed...way too much pressure for me to deal with, although with a young family.

  4. I had a lot of stress just prior to my first UC symptoms. I've always wondered if those stressful events were the reason I developed UC. I also wonder if maybe I always had UC but it was dormant until the stress triggered a flare-up or if it didn't develop until the stressful events. I don't know. Too many variables I guess.

  5. For me I reckon I actually had very very mild symptons of UC for say ther previous 3 or 4 years before I got the full blown one. I honestly don't know if I was that stressed then, but I have that kind of personality anyway that stresses out over everything and have Plan A, Plan B, Plan C....Plan Z, Plan AA all worked out in advance.

    One of my triggeries that I later recognised was coffee...but saying that...a few weeks ago I had a really bad craving for a coffee and I decided...bugger it...let's see what happens...and nothing did this time. I know that might seem like a bit of a mad thing to do, but I just had to see what would happen...and I knew I could get steriods immediately to settle me back down if it all went AWOL again.

    Hey, so where's your next trip to :D ? We're heading away for 4 days in Dec...so that's my mini test for my big test back to OZ (30hrs plane ride) in Feb. I hate flying now, although before 9/11 I used to love it. So I'm going to work on that phobia over the next few months..just to see what happens.

  6. I haven't been able to comment on anyone's blogs for some reason lately. I was going through a lot of stress right before I was diagnosed also. One of our bathrooms is right off the main family room. That's where everyone sits all the time when they are over. So you walk out, and just wave at everyone. I hate it!