[cancer] Very nearly lost it today

As an extended coda to the digestive issues of the past two days, I spent much of this morning struggling with extended constipation from the post-shedding Imodium dosage of earlier this week. (There’s a reason I hate Imodium with the burning passion of a thousand suns.) I don’t feel constipation as a crowding in the obvious place, unfortunately, so it can sneak up on me. What eventually happens is I stop being able to eat.

By around 9 am, I couldn’t eat anything. I would just retch when I tried. At the same time, I desperately needed to eat, as I need to every 60 to 90 minutes, because when I don’t, I crash out mentally and physically. Even multiple doses of Visicol didn’t get me moving. Trying to pass, well, anything I began to retch and choke, and came within seconds of vomiting. I wound up flat on my back on the floor simultaneously speed-meditating to ward off the nausea and trying to biofeedback my colon into cooperation.

If I’d thrown up, I’d have called the oncology clinic. If I’d remained stuck at both ends, I’d have called the oncology clinic. In either case, I’d quite possibly have needed to go into the ER, as both situations would have been quite serious for me. (And I was certainly within moments of throwing up, for the first time during this whole chemo process.) brought me a Dulcolax suppository, which was my next step, when things finally loosened up in the lower GI.

The experience was miserable, painful, and frightening. I’m virtually certain the whole business was a direct result of the Imodium two nights ago, which gives me serious pause about repeating that. Except if I don’t do the Imodium, I don’t sleep. And that is medically risky. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.

Managing all this stuff is like driving a car on ice. Everything I do to correct for one thing risks overcorrection for another. This morning was about as close as I’ve come to a total spinout, and it was too damned close for me. And hey, I’ve only done three of twelve. So much more to look forward to.

5 thoughts on “[cancer] Very nearly lost it today

  1. Robert Rhodes says:

    Can’t imagine what you’re going through. Am pulling for you. Peace, R.

  2. Matt says:

    Psyllium fiber is supposed to be good for both diarrhea and constipation – it absorbs excess water thus helping the runs, and it softens constipation because of that same absorbed water. It would give your intestines more to do at night, which wouldn’t be good, but it should help with issues like this. (IANAD)

  3. Greg L. says:

    Damn Jay I’m glad that you did not end up in the er today. I’m hoping for you that this is as bad as it gets and that you have your suppotive friend around you.

    Take care and get the rest when you can… Meds suck…

  4. Jan says:

    Jay I have colitis, which is very similar to what you are experiencing. Even if the lower track moves the upper may not, and if the upper does not move I feel pain, close to passing out, and if I can’t get it to move – yah vomit. I understand and feel your pain.

    I have had this as long as I can remember and tried every drug. None worked.

    Imodium has never worked for the lower issues for me. I do use Gravol – it is easier than Imodium at least in my experience.

    Here is what I do. I don’t know if it will help but I hope it will.

    First, Yoghurt. This puts back the good bacteria in the colon, which is desperately needed when you have multiplies attacks (the runs).

    Second, Mints, Certs or Tic-Tacs (all types of mints), that helps the upper area move.

    Before eating, in the morning try green or white tea, at night try a bit of wine before eating. Even if you don’t drink this will help to ease the muscles of the digestive track.

    When it is really bad try to lay on your side, knees up in the fetal position, close your eyes, and just relax your breathing. Inhale (hmm) Exhale (saww). You should hear your digestive track starting to move after a few minutes.

    It helps me, hope it helps you.

    Hang in there – you will make it through this!


  5. Stevie says:


    Imodium is primarily there for people with occasional attacks of the runs, and/or IBS.

    It is contra-indicated in severe diseases like ulcerative colitis, and it sounds as if you are at that end of the continuum.

    You really, really need oral rehydration therapy to replace the fluids you are losing, and this in turn should improve the constipation.

    Have you considered supplementary feeding with a G-tube into your stomach? I know people with cystic fibrosis who find it very helpful in radically increasing their calorie intake.

    And as you’ve noted; calories are your friend…

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