I know, it sounds ridiculous. It sounds ridiculous because we all know how vastly important water is… but do we actually? Are we aware of how important water is for our bodies, especially for those with a chronic condition? Do we actually utilize the water we have in the right way, the way that can improve our wellbeing? Well, if I’m going to be completely honest, as I hope to always be with my readers, I was one of those individuals who “knew” water was important, but never actually utilized it in the proper way. I lived with my chronic illnesses for years before I truly began to educate myself on the benefits of water, and appreciate and utilize its healing powers. I’m not just talking about chugging some water right before bed so that in the morning you feel “better”; I’m talking ingesting the right amount every single day, taking contrast showers and baths at home, getting myself a swimming pass and taking part of hydrotherapy programs, engaging in workouts/stretching in both hot and cold bodies of water and thus feeling like a completely different Maia, inside and out.
This story dates back to 2013, when my body became foreign to me. It was as if everything was new, and I had to be educated on what happened to me and what the rest of my life might be like. I was so well educated on the big issues, like my various shattered bones and their future recovery process. As gravely important these issues were, I now know that what seemed like the less important injuries were in fact important, and I needed to be educated on them as well. Like the piece of small intestine that included my ileum, that had become gangrenous and needed to be removed. This injury, caused by seatbelt impact, as well as the surgery used to fix it, would play a huge role in my years of chronic constipation and digestion issues. This is a topic people typically don’t like to talk about; however, chronic constipation is an extremely difficult condition to live with. Life is terrible when you can’t poop, and for those who cannot empathize with this personally, I truly hope you never take your poops for granted.
Not being able to cleanse your body in that way, a way that we all have to and depend on, is a true tragedy that so many of us deal with. However, during my dreadful no pooping phase, I didn’t know this. I wasn’t educated on chronic constipation, its symptoms, the impact it has on the body, and just how many people struggle with it in this world. I wasn’t even educated on what surgery I received and what impact it could have on me, and so a year after the crash I sought out a gastro surgeon, only to be told that the surgery was a success and that it may still be sensitive, so give it a little more time to heal. Well, years went by, and it became normal for me to only poop once every five days or so. The pain would become unbearable at times, stabbing and cramping in your gut, with energy levels so low and your body temperature out of whack. The inflammation and damage it was causing to my digestive tract was just increased by the crap I was taking to try to go to the bathroom. I tried all the pharmaceutical drugs, natural supplements, various oils, Chinese medicine herbs and teas, specific foods and diets, but nothing was a long term fix. One method would help, and I’d get so excited that I’d tell my friends and family that I had finally pooped, but then the methodit wouldn’t work again. Some were extremely unhealthy for me to continue to use for long term, others would do nothing at all. I was drinking psyllium husk and magnesium citrate, cutting out dairy and gluten, blending flax seeds into everything and just praying I would become regular.
The next time I sought help beyond my GP or information found on the internet, was when my chronic pain doctor and I discussed this situation. It was creating so much mental distress on top of the very real, very painful physical distress. She put me on a powder laxative that needs to be taken every day. I used this product for some time, but when I was getting little to no relief I gave up. I didn’t want to put any more shit into my body. I wanted to find a natural solution. I wanted to understand why this was happening to me.
I found a naturopath in my hometown and started to see her during one summer. It had been years of bad poops by then, and it was driving me insane. She asked for the paperwork and information on the internal surgery I had in 2013, and within our first session she informed me that when I lost a large piece of bowel back in 2013, my ileum was a part of the bowel that was removed. My what? I had no idea what that was, because no one ever told me. I was never informed on what they actually removed from my body, nor was I educated on what an ileum’s purpose is. An ileum helps maintain adequate hydration and energy levels. We had discovered that I was indeed deficient in bile salts and vitamin B12, but a major one was that I wasn’t even coming close to drinking as much water as I should be for someone with this issue. I was extremely dehydrated. It was a recipe for constipation.
In addition to taking care of my vitamin B12 deficiency, ingesting proper salts/electrolytes, and eating a proper diet, I began to drink 4-6 litres of water a day. This is when I began to notice a change, and my “shitty” situation began to loosen up. Instead of going to the bathroom once every five days or so, it would be every three days. It then was every second day, which to me was a huge win. But the biggest win of all… is pooping. Every. Single. Day. I guess overtime I forgot what it was like to be hydrated.
There are so many reasons as to why my gut is so messed up, one being the trauma in general and the inflammation/stress it creates, another being the anxiety I experience on a day to day basis and the direct impact anxiety has on the digestive system. I don’t know if I’ll ever be perfect, as I still go through periods of constipation, but I can’t tell you enough how incredible it is to not feel the constant pain of constipation. How good it feels to go to the bathroom.
Remember, don’t take your poops for granted.