Wednesday, October 20, 2010

*Cough-cough, Achoo!*

I used to think that I didn’t have an immune system, because I got sick so much. Where my immune system is supposed to be (I picture it sort of where my lungs are), there is just a big yellow sponge that soaks up any germs within a 20-mile radius. This might be where my fondness for Spongebob Squarepants started…although I think that more stems from how I can’t help but smile at how freakin’ HAPPY he is! Say what you want, that sponge loves life.

What was I talking about? Oh yes, I’m sick today. Again. There is a causal reaction to my state of health. If I look at someone who is sick or hear a sneeze, I’m officially sick.

The ironic thing is when I found out I have Crohn’s, they told me that my immune system is actually too strong. My immune system thinks there is bad stuff in my immune system (which there really isn’t0 so it builds up these antibodies or something (And yes-“things” and “stuff” are the technical terms for this), and attacks my own immune system (I picture little sponges fighting with those plastic swords made for drinks).

So I was on a lot of different meds when I was first diagnosed to get the inflammation under control and to disarm the mini-sponges, but now that I am in a “remission”, I am on some long-term medication to hopefully limit the amount of “flare-ups” I have and decrease my risk for surgery. I’m currently on Azathioprine (It sounds more exciting than it is). Since Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis are auto-immune diseases, this drug is supposed to sort of kill off the extra cells my body has because it thinks it’s fighting something that doesn’t really exist.

If I lost you there…don’t worry about, I lost myself too, just go with it. So unfortunately one of the side-effects of this drug is that it actually lowers your immune system so you are more susceptible to being sick. Oh irony I hear you calling my name!!!

Obviously this alone isn’t going to get me sick and I should be doing everything within my control to otherwise be healthy, right? Exercise (check!), Eat healthy (Ch…errrrr, sometimes?), Don’t drink alcohol (No comment), Take vitamins….

Seriously, whoever invented gummy vitamins is a genius and I would love to give him/her a big gummy hug. I am great at taking gummy vitamins and get about 3000% of my daily vitamin C and D requirements. I do also attempt to take an “adult” vitamin, a Women’s Once-a-Day. And by attempt, I mean I bought a bottle. I have every intention of taking it daily to stay healthy and prevent getting sick…but man is it gross. It is approximately the size of a small dinner plate and tastes like a combination of chalk, spit, and baby dinosaur eggs, or so I imagine.

It also has the ability to make me sick. I think you’re not supposed to take them on an empty stomach?? I don’t know. That seems to make me sick more often, but here is what I imagine the big sponge thinking: “la la la, I’m a big sponge, I’m having fun doing nothing, minding my own business, oh…what’s this? It looks like a giant piece of chalk coming towards me! It looks pretty bad, but maybe I could use it as a small dinner plate. Well, maybe it tastes better than it looks. Nom, nom, nom…oh, wtf!? This is disgusting! Ugh…get away from me!”

This is where I throw up.

Then I wonder if any of the vitamins got absorbed during that time…. So maybe I’m at like 2% at my limit for the day instead of 100%. Good job Sponge!

I also think it’s funny (and by funny I mean desperate and irrational) how I desperately take a vitamin or AirBorneä either when something is really important or I’m already sick. Yeah, that vitamin really made a difference now. I decided I wanted to be REALLY healthy the morning of my marathon, so I scarfed down half a banana and took a vitamin at 6:15am. Oh yeah, I puked that up approximately 3 minutes later and then felt like barf all day. Looking back, I guess it was sort of a backfire.

I had the same misguided and inconsistent approach during my school years. In law school, there is generally only one exam at the end of the semester and that is your entire grade for the semester. Finals were coming and I was freaking out (which is putting it mildly-I completely lost my mind and started writing haikus about anything and everyone I knew until 4am one night instead of studying). Well my helpful mom told me that blueberries make me smarter. I don’t really like blueberries, but I went to the supermarket and bought a big container. I ate those things up! I don’t think it really made a difference, but at least I didn’t puke them up. I maybe did write some smarter haikus.

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