Colon Chronicles

I turned 50 and with that comes many milestones.  For example, you should have a baseline screening colonoscopy.  This is especially important if you have family history of polyps or colon-rectal cancer.  Earnie had polyps and her mother died from colon cancer.  So I could start 2015 out with a shiny, clean colon I thought I’d book this adventure during spring break.  Here’s how the fun went down.

My procedure was for Tuesday, so the day before you are supposed to eat a liquid diet.  No solid food, but you can have yogurt, milkshakes, beverages (as long as they aren’t red or purple), hard candy and chew gum.  I started the day with coffee.  By lunch I was hungry so I had a vanilla milkshake from Whataburger.  Satisfying.  By 3 p.m., I was starving so I had banana pudding.  Ok, not so bad.  I was really wanting to chew something, but I wasn’t feeling weak or deprived.

About 4:30 p.m. I delivered food to my niece since she just came home from the hospital having her new baby.  I went by Rosa’s Cafe and got two giant fajita platters.  Miss Bee was holding them while we drove and I kept looking at her like she was a piece of meat in the tiger’s den.  Gosh, I really wanted to pull over and eat a giant tortilla stuffed with meat.

6 p.m. was show time.  It was time to start part one of a two-step process. I thought I’d stage this photo of the Suprep Bowel Prep Kit (how else could you describe this) with roses in the background since it’s the finale of the Bachelor and I’ll be watching it while I “prep.”  I read the patient “Guide to the Gates of Hell” manual and its mission statement is pretty clear:  Patient will produce copious amounts of diarrhea.  What does the person look like that had to write this?

My gastro did the fast-sell on this version of colon prep to me while I was getting my pre-procedure consult.  She said she taste-tested it and it was by far the best tasting “solution.”  That should have been my first clue when it was referred to as a “solution” instead of a drink or cocktail.  I remember when Earnie and Mr. Bee did this they had to drink an entire gallon of prep so this couldn’t be that bad.   Looking back I should have been suspicious when she said she taste-tested it.  Just how much did you taste to come to this conclusion?

You pour one bottle into a cup, fill it up with water and drink it.  Down the hatch.  After the first big gulp, I was thinking how in the hell am I am going to finish this, then drink it all over again later?  Kinda like you can’t explain how labor pain feels — well I can’t describe how awful this tastes.  Vats of salt marry a swamp?   It was grape flavored which I have detested since the early days of Earnie medicating me with grape-flavored cough syrup from the 60s.  I avoid all things grape — candy, suckers, gum, drinks.  This was hard work.  But, I pushed through it.  I thought I was going to barf at the last big gulp, but I didn’t.  Then you have to follow this with two more cups full of water over the next hour.  I paced myself, drinking the first cup within 30 minutes, then the last cup over the remaining 30 minutes.  I wasn’t feeling too full or queasy, but I was cold.

Within 15 minutes the party started if you know what I mean.  This went on for about 2 hours.  By 8 p.m. I went to bed, because I needed to get up at 2:30 a.m. to do the second part of the prep.  I set my alarm, but didn’t need it because my stomach sounded like the sinking of the Titanic.  As if on cue, my bowels knew part two was about to commence.  I got up and did the whole thing over again.  By 4 a.m. I was done and turned in because there was nothing more to produce.  Frankly, I was so tired I didn’t care if I pooped my pants.  As I drifted off to sleep I kept thinking when I wake up I will be that much closer to a McDonald’s Egg McMuffin.  Oh, and I made a press release:

Woke up at 6 a.m. for a quick shower. Got to the endoscopy center at 6:30 a.m. to check in.  They started an IV for sedation (which is the reward in all this) and wheeled me back to the procedure room.

As I was wheeling by the staff break room, I could see my doctor wolfing down a sausage biscuit.  Damn him.  I said, “I see you!”  I also spied a box of donuts on the counter with hot coffee.  Damn all of you.

I chatted with the CRNA who was administering my Michael Jackson sedative.  As I felt the drug making its way into my veins, I told her it was nice to meet her, she had pretty hair, and to have a super day.  I wanted to be voted Miss Congeniality of patients that day.  You know things like, “that lady with the glasses, wasn’t she the cutest?” or “I heard Dr. Gastro say she had the prettiest colon he’d seen in a while!”  What? Don’t judge. I like to be noticed.

I woke up in the recovery area and the first thing I told the nurse apparently was that I was going to eat a cheeseburger.  Doug said I made this proclamation several times to anyone that would listen.  I was drinking a cup of coffee and asked for coffee.  I asked for my glasses and the nurse nicely told me I already had them on.  This drug is amazing!  You have no memory of a 30-foot long tube exploring your colon.  You do get as a party favor a set of super cool pics of your colon for your scrapbook, flatter abs, and you loose about 6 pounds of poop.

Mr. Bee rewarded me with a cheeseburger later for lunch.

Was it really that good or was it because I hadn’t eaten solid food in 48 hours?  I don’t know. And I don’t care.  I am polyp free, which means I don’t need to see Dr. Gastro for another 10 years!

All kidding aside.  This is a really important procedure to have.  Despite the mild discomfort of the prep and incessant diarrhea for about 4 hours, it was totally worth it.  There are other things worse than this.  Like having colon cancer when you could have prevented it by not being such a wieney.

Saturday School — Lavender Oil

Saturday School:  Oils 101
Today’s Topic — Lavender

I’ve shared that one of my personal goals in the new year is to learn more about essential oils and how they can help me achieve physical and mental wellness.  So I thought on Saturdays I would share some interesting tips on the various oils through Young Living.

Today’s report will be on Lavender — known as the “Swiss Arm Knife” of all the essential oils.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) has a fresh, sweet, floral, herbaceous
aroma that is soothing and refreshing. Because it is the most versatile
of all essential oils, no home should be without it. Lavender is an
adaptogen, and therefore can assist the body when adapting to stress or
imbalances. It is a great aid for relaxing and winding down before
bedtime, yet has balancing properties that can also boost stamina and
energy. Therapeutic-grade lavender is highly regarded for skin and
beauty. It may be used to soothe and cleanse common cuts, bruises, and
skin irritations. The French scientist René Gattefossé was among the
first to discover these properties when he was severely burned in a
laboratory explosion. Lavender may also be used to enhance the flavor of
foods.  It takes 27 square feet of lavender plants to make one 15 ml. bottle of oil!

An easy way to use the oil is to put a few drops into your palms, rub your hands together and inhale the oil through your nose.  Then rub the oil on the back of your neck and on your ear lobes.  It’s also a great oil to take with you to massage appointments.  Ask the masseuse to mix the oil with their non-scented carrier oil and you will have a spa like experience.

But there are many more ways to use this mighty oil…

  • It eases dry, irritated skin (so basically right now in the dead of winter)
  • Calms nerves
  • It’s a mood balancer
  • Helps with allergy relief — this is a big one.  I have really been having trouble with my allergies lately.  I’ve been putting a small drop of oil just underneath my nose and it helps me to breath easier and not feel so stopped up.
  • Aids in burn healing
  • Nosebleed relief (a common problem during a dry winter)
  • Eases sunburn pain — this would make a great oil to put in your beach bag
  • Soothes common cuts and bruises — I’ve been putting it on my dry cuticles and cracked thumbs at night before bed.

Recently, Miss Bee was complaining of menstrual cramps and just feeling blah.  I rubbed her abdomen with a few drops of the oil, mixed it with some non-scented lotion and massaged her feet, and put a heating pad on the low setting on her abdomen.  I looked over at her about 10 minutes later and she was sound asleep.  That’s a great testimony to me that it helped her achieve relaxation.

You can purchase Lavender oil directly here through Young Living.  You can either purchase it at the retail price or become a wholesaler and save 24% on your purchase.  My wholesaler ID (2373462) is below to help you with processing your order.  Next week, I’ll be back to show you some gorgeous pics of the Young Living farm.

Meet at the Barre

Smart Barre just opened a studio right around the block from my house.  I scheduled a class to find out more about it.

Here’s the information posted on their website.  Smart Barre practices concentrated movements that function as deep sculpting tools to strengthen and lengthen muscles. As a total body workout, the class fuses principles of ballet, Pilates, and yoga to target body areas in which women struggle- the core, hips, thighs, seat and arms.  A traditional ballet barre is used to help maintain balance and provide resistance, however, you don’t need a tutu in this class to achieve the long, lean look of a dancer. In addition to the barre, light weights, a playground ball, and a cushy mat are used. An efficient, upbeat workout, you will find it a “smart” use of time.

 
One of the things I like is that all the scheduling is done online, you can even put their app on your smart phone so you can register on-the-go if you aren’t in front of your PC.  You reserve your spot in a class then walk right in.  No waiting in line to pay or explain your situation.  The windows of the studio are frosted so no creepy people are looking in.  The studio is painted a fresh, serene shade of blue.  The lobby has lockers for your belongings, a changing room, and complimentary white fluffy towels.  The studio is just off the lobby.  I also noticed it smelled clean like a day spa.
 
The room looks just like a ballet studio — mirrored walls so you can check your format and alignment — with a ballet barre.  All the equipment is provided for you.  Beside each mat is a ball, a stretchy resistance band, 2 and 3-pound hand weights, a strap and a mat.   The people around me were friendly, all ages and various fitness levels.  I chatted with a few ladies who said they started doing the classes in the last 6 months and had the same concerns I had — hip tightness, lower back aches, muffin top, and bra fat — let’s just call it what it is, okay?  They have noticed improvements in all those trouble areas.
 
The class was doable.  There were a few times I had to stop for a second because my fat was screaming, “don’t let me out,”  My heart rate was up, but I wasn’t winded.  In fact, I found it amazing that a tiny repetitive move I was doing with a leg lift could make me feel like I just did a sprint.  What I liked was that the time flew by.  The music was up-to-date direct from their own ipods, so no cheesy gym music (you know, a Brittany Spear’s song but not sung by Brittany.  That gets on my nerves).  About the time you think you can’t do one more lunge, the instructor switches to a different movement.  When I was done with the class, I felt great.  All day.

 
This morning I feel a little sore, but nothing drastic.  The instructor recommend coming at least three times each week so your body never fully recovers between sessions that way you are always working on the core and muscles to keep them guessing.   After 10 sessions you are supposed to see a difference in your ability and maybe even your body’s shape.
 
Smart Barre is a trademark, so if you don’t have this company in your neighborhood look for something similar.  It is definitely a great way to get in shape.

A river ran through my massage

Last August, for my birthday, my family gave me a spa treatment at the European Skincare Institute.  I finally used it yesterday to gift myself with an 80-minute hot river stone massage.  I’m the kind of person that does very little research on what you are going to do to me.  I’m very trusting.  It sounded soothing so I just made the appointment and showed up.

While I waited I prepared myself a cup of herbal tea.  Cinnamon sounded good.  I sat and sipped my tea while I completed the “in take” paperwork.


Skye was my massage therapist.  I am not sure if this was her “stage” name because I also heard someone introduce themselves as “Sunny”.  Skye got me all set in a room that was dimly lit with candles and Enya playing in the background.  Before we started she explained the benefits of this type of massage.  Ancient civilizations believed that hot stones were beneficial in healing in many ways, especially for cleansing the body, relaxing the heart, grounding the soul and soothing the mind. Shaman placed stones on or near a body to facilitate healing.  Native American women would place a warm stone on their belly during menses and they used heated stones in their sweat lodge. The Roman baths involved hot water and the
cooling effect of lying on marble tables.  Japanese priests that fast wear sashes in which they put three stones to help slow the digestive process.  Since I had just finished planting 80 annuals in my garden, I knew this would prevent the lower back ache I always get the next day.

Skye presented me with a tray of small white bowls.  In each bowl was a stone inscribed with different words — Believe, Prosper, Peace and Harmony.  She asked me to select the stone that most described what I wanted to achieve during the treatment, holding it in my hand to allow the stone to run through my mind and body.  I chose peace.

She started with the massage and after she got my muscles warmed up with essential oils she started with the hot stones.  They were heating up in what looked like a giant crock pot.

I was laying face down and had my eyes closed so I really have no idea the size of the stones.  She started with a line of them down my spine.  I was thinking this was relaxing and different.  Then I noticed the weight of the stones seemed to increase.  At one point it felt like she was putting hot lava rocks on my back, but she assured me they wouldn’t burn my skin.  If I felt they were too hot, she would either swap one out for a smaller rock or would put a towel on my skin, then the boulders stones on top of the towel.  As the massage progressed I eventually had a line of stones down my spine, all along the back of both legs and tiny stones between my toes.  I knew the massage was therapeutic because my nose was dripping like Niagara Falls. 

After it was over, I walked out of the room like a mole coming into the sunshine — all squinty and puffy eyed with rosy cheeks.  She gave me a glass of lemon infused ice water had me drink it and advised me to follow up with two more when I got home.  I felt so relaxed when I left, different than any massage I had ever had.  I felt a little nauseous when I got home and I know it was because she had released toxins that had built up in my muscles.  The water helps to flush these toxins out.  The best part when I woke up this morning my back felt great.  Skye also recommended a new product to help with achy muscles.  I’ll share what it is in a future post.  I tried it last night and OMG I love it.

Summary:  I liked the massage.  I found myself focusing more on the stones rather than the relaxation of the the massage probably because the process was new to me.  Now that I know what to expect I might be more relaxed during the massage.  Regardless, I felt wonderful today.  So my verdict is that a hot river stone massage is worth a try.

Oven Roasted Cauliflower

oven-roasted-cauliflower

I think I might buy stock in cauliflower farms.  Can you marry a cauliflower?  Tonight I was testing the recipes from Pinterest, and this one was in the queue — oven roasted cauliflower and it was a hit.  Like, licking my plate, wishing I had more, hit.

It was lemony, garlicky, with just a few bites of caramelized crunchy
tips from the olive oil.  And the Parmesan cheese at the end, adds just
another zest.  I think this would be the perfect side to grilled chicken or salmon.  One medium-sized cauliflower served three people generously, so if you want to make it for a dinner party you might want to cut up two heads of cauliflower.

Now go out to the grocery tomorrow and make this.  Follow me on Pinterest for the recipe, or click above for the direct link to the recipe.