Beautiful Bowels and Beyond

By Adrienne Ryan, Brisbane, Australia

A few months ago I was feeling not so great in my body. I was overweight, tired, my period had been going haywire and I had been experiencing discomfort in what I thought was my left ovary area. It had been some time since I had gone to my GP. Usually I visited him when I was too sick to work. This time was different. I was still working and going about my day-to-day life, but I realised that I wasn’t feeling good and I wanted to know why. I decided to book in for a thorough check-up to see what was happening with my 46 year old body.

I enjoyed being there with my doctor, taking the time to say, “Hey, I’m not sick sick, but I don’t feel well either.”

We did some hormone tests and these were all normal. It turned out the area I thought was ovary discomfort was actually my bowel and we scheduled a colonoscopy. My GP also recommended a bone scan.

I went back home and realised something had changed. I started to pay closer attention to my day-to-day habits and how they felt. I became more aware of the part of my diet that was based on instant food gratifications that tasted great but left me feeling buzzy, heavy, fuzzy, tired, bloated, itchy, congested, dull or depressed afterwards – signs that my body wasn’t enjoying what my mouth was. I started to realise that there were many foods that didn’t truly agree with me. As the weeks passed I began to let these foods go and noticed how much easier my food choices were and how I enjoyed not having the mental tennis match of will I or won’t I have a corn chip now? I had started to master choosing what to eat from my body’s perspective and not my mouth’s. I also began to see how the quantities of foods, or times and ways I ate also had an effect on me: too much and I would feel tired, too late and I’d wake up feeling whacked, too fast and I’d over eat.

A month came and went and I noticed how I didn’t have the same heaviness in my being that I did before. My weight changed a little, but I noticed a greater sense of lightness, ease and evenness. The other amazing thing is that my periods returned to what I considered normal for me.

I felt more alive and it was great that my period had normalised, but there was more to go. I still felt a bit sluggish and my digestion, even with the changes I’d made, was still not flowing smoothly.

I booked in for a visit with a naturopath and spent time beforehand filling in a detailed questionnaire he gave me about my health history. It was like writing an autobiography of my body and was a great confirmation of how much my health had changed from a severely asthmatic, allergy, eczema and bronchitis sufferer to a woman who, after making changes over time in my lifestyle  ‘suffered’ these things no more.  It was also inspiring because it made me aware of things that were not as severe as these past conditions, but none-the-less left me feeling less than well and vital in my body. I had begun to measure wellness not on the absence of illness but on the presence of a body that felt lovely, alive and beautiful to wake up with and be in every day.

The naturopath performed some tests and we came to see that for my body there was too much of some things (meat, some nuts and too many egg yolks) and too little of other things (mineral salts, cod liver oil, hydration). He suggested cutting back on the too much and increasing the too little. I have done this for three weeks now and, we’re becoming intimate here, my bowels have returned to a beautiful, regular, healthy consistency. I would never have said my bowels were terrible but how I feel now is so clearly different that I have a new level of ‘normal’ for my bowels.

Today I went into hospital for my scheduled colonoscopy. There were lots of questions to answer about diet and the consumption of drugs and alcohol, and information needed on current medications I was taking. When the nurse checked my answers with me I realised from her comments that it is not so ‘normal’ to not drink alcohol at all or to not be on any type of medication.

The procedure was done and I was aware of what was going on and really appreciated the gentleness and skill of my surgeon and his team. I was told I had a beautiful bowel and that there was nothing there to worry about. It was great to have the confirmation by the medical system that my bowel was healthy.

It was only later that I discovered I had perhaps answered incorrectly on the questionnaire when I said no to being on any medicine.  I realised that although I am not on specific medication, my daily life is actually full of medicine – what I choose to eat, drink, how I rest, exercise, prepare for the day to not be rushed or stressed, conduct myself gently through the day, the way I end my day and how I go to bed…is all medicine.

The more I use this medicine the better I feel in my body. It has been an ongoing experiment but the results clearly show how well prescribed this form of medicine has been. I am looking forward to discovering more of what it is to truly feel well and lovely in my body all the time.

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