Surfer is riding a big brown wave

The Other D-word

Author’s Warning: the following article is about a bodily function some people are uncomfortable talking about; defecation. Actually, it will focus on the subset called diarrhea. If you are uncomfortable with poop and fart jokes, please don’t read on. Although I will treat the subject with some levity, I understand this malady’s seriousness since I now chronically suffer from it.

Even at my age, I can still be childish

Ok, let’s start this one off with me admitting I have a man’s adolescent sense of humor. I am comfortable joking about the back-door trots, arse piss, Montezuma’s revenge, the squirts, or good old diarrhea. I’ll usually be one of the first individuals to crack a joke when someone has the shits. I become even more involved when the fart jokes start. My god, I could watch over and over again Fat Bastard in Austin Powers, Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack, and last but not least, the campfire scene in Blazing Saddles. They simply make me laugh every time I see them.

It was much easier to join in the hilarity when I was younger, healthier, and not yet a regular sufferer of diarrhea. Now, I continue to participate in the festivities when it comes to joking about diarrhea, but I do so with much more understanding of how shitty (pun intended) life can be having to continually dance the rotten apple two-step.

My intro to chronic D

Before getting multiple myeloma, my GI constitution was what is often referred to as an iron stomach. I could eat anything and everything. I traveled the world for business and religiously ate new and unusual foods. I’m talking about things like fried scorpions and sea cucumbers. Also, the spicier I could get the food, the better. What was even more unbelievable was my bowel movements remained constant no matter what went in the day before.

More on this topic

Once I was diagnosed and began my cancer meds, things initially seemed to go in the constipation direction, but it only took a few months for the “Revlitrots” to come onto the scene. For some reason, it came on with a vengeance during radiation treatment on my back. It wasn’t unbearable, but enough for me to start thinking differently about my daily habits.

Things stayed at the uncomfortable but doable stage until I developed a significant hiatal hernia. My anal cha-chas got much worse after the hernia operation and have stayed that way since. In addition to the booty chili, I got a chronic case of abdominal gas, which may be even more embarrassing. In one day I can go from a barking spider to 8.2 on the Richter Scale and never know which one is coming out next. The worst days, though, are my shart days.

I’m sorry, I strayed when I started talking about burning rubber, blowing a butt bugle, or merely passing gas. Farting is a subject for another article. Back to chorro, as one of my Hispanic friends calls it.

Eventually, my runny deuce issues became chronic. I had to change some of my habits completely. My walking and driving routines are the two primary changes I made.

Solutions that have helped me

I can usually feel if my GI tract is having a bad day. When walking, if that is the case, I’ll make loops that won’t take me any further than a half-mile away from my house or a known open bathroom. I also have a few hidden spots in the woods that I have used on several occasions. I will carry wipes and a plastic bag with me just in case. In case you are wondering, I have run out of time but am not considering diapers just yet.

Long drives are a little different, especially since COVID-19 has taken away the fast-food restaurant bathrooms. I have an app on my phone that shows what is available at each exit for food, gas stations, or rest stops. It is incredibly useful. I also carry toilet paper and a container in the car and have christened a few cornfields across the countryside.

Believe me, I’ve tried many solutions and medications but still find myself planning around having that Kramer attack at the wrong time, but sometimes there is no stopping it. Some things that do seem to help are probiotics and medications like Welchol. In contrast, other remedies do nothing or send me to the other side of the pendulum swing to full shutdown.

I’m sure everyone is different and would love to hear other solutions. In any case, having chronic diarrhea and perpetual gas sucks, but sometimes you have to go with the flow (pun intended again) and have a little laugh about it.

What’s the true definition of bravery? Chancing a fart when you know you have diarrhea.

Closing challenges:
Challenge 1: What is your favorite slang for diarrhea?
Challenge 2: Only because I feel this may be a challenge, I can't wait to see the artwork for this article.

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