Saturday, March 21, 2009

Buddy, I've got a sob story to tell you!

Today I broke down at work. I know this is corporate no-no 101, but I am just so exhausted. Thank god it wasn't in front of my boss (which I have done before, sadly enough - now that I think about it TWICE, in my five short professional years - please, give me an award!).

I am emotional. I cannot deny it. Any thoughtful, high-level disagreement I have is ruined by emotion. Maybe it's all the bad news about the economy I'm reading, but, when I was looking at my riddled-with-appointments Outlook calendar, I broke down. The last thing I would want, is for my manager - and my team - to think my work is compromised because of my disease. How can they not notice six appointments / PTO requests in three weeks?

The thing is, they are nothing but understanding - sublimely gracious and thoughtful - but who wants to be the girl who's out all the time? At least I don't look sick - I am strong and confident at work (well, except when I'm crying, of course).

Being realistic, my job is (currently) safe, as is Matt's, but who wouldn't get paranoid with these sensationalist headlines? So, with the current sleeplessness and pain, I've become a ball of stress. I keep pestering Matt about his company's pipeline (he's a consultant) and I've told Penny she can have no more Pupperoni's (her favorite, second only to Snausages) because "Mommy and Daddy cannot afford it". What have I become?!

Matt is his quiet, stoic self. At least I like to think he's stoic when he's standing there, looking off into the distance, silent. He may just be zoning out when I start complaining about the economy or how expensive pistachios are - who knows.

So I cried at my desk. It was a good, five minute ditty, and then I was done. I dried my eyes with paper napkins in my drawer, fixed my mascara (my mother says I wear too much mascara and have raccoon eyes - whatever) and went back to work. And you know what? It felt good. And that was that.


  1. Crying is cathartic- everybody needs a good cry now and then (pity the men who think it's a sign of weakness!) You probably were more productive after you were done, so why should they care? Stay strong! We're pulling for you!

  2. Lauren,

    Thank you for reading! Yes; I completely and absolutely agree that crying is cathartic and us girls have to "act like men" in the workforce. If you ask me, the men should start adopting out outlook, and I tell ya, things would be better all around.

    All my best to you and the family!!!


  3. Last fall I was so stressed, so afraid of what I might do, so filled with emotion, I had to walk out. I made it around a couple blocks, came back when I felt ready.

    I am sure they value the great work you do!

  4. This is yo mama, Kathryn, with some practical advice. Now, if you feel the tears coming on, pretend something is under your contact and head for the ladies' room, all the while muttering about pollen or dust and wiping at your eyes (always wear waterproof eye makeup!). Go into a stall and flush the toilet and cry!! If that's not feasible, you can do one of two things. First, press hard on the bridge of your nose between your eyes. That often prevents tears. Second, tickle the roof of your mouth with your tongue. Try it, it's worked for me!
    Your team will continue to be gracious and understanding, wanna know why? Because they think, "there, but for the grace of god, goes me." If you recall, I told you about a book I read, called SICKO or SICK GIRL about a young woman who had a heart transplant and how she deals with being chronically ill. Read it.
    Moving on...I never said that you have raccoon eyes. I stated you had spider eyelashes. Skip the pistachios, almonds are cheaper. Do not tell Penny she will get no more Pupperonis--what kind of dog mother are you?! Make my son-in-law a special treat this weekend--BLACK BEAN SALSA DOGS!! and tell him what I told you about him when I phoned you earlier. Hopefully, that will make him smile, or laugh, or smirk. Whatever, like I said, he's a good guy. Lastly, if you wanna bitch and moan and cry, call me. We'll have a pity party, and then we'll get on with it. Yo Mama.

  5. Mother,

    I cannot take any comment you post seriously when you start it, and sign it, with "yo mama".

    But -- thank you for your comment. Another thing to do is take a water bottle into a meeting or start drinking when you think you may cry. My boss told us this one - it is hard to cry and drink at the same time.

    Nancy -- taking a walk / breather sounds good to me, too. Sometimes it's just good to leave your desk.

    And, mom, I will not encourage Matt's culinary wackiness by making him black bean salsa dogs. I shudder just thinking about it.

    I just had a GREAT nap (3 1/2 hours on top of the 8 1/2 hours sleep last night - finally catching up from my sleeplessness!) so I'm going to take Penny down to the trail for a short walk. Ciao!

  6. Hi Kathryn,

    I'm so sorry to hear about how you've been feeling. I certainly know the "can anyone see my wet eyes over the cubicle walls?" feeling. I've had those moments!

    Normally I write comments that are all positive and nice.... but I'm going to be a tough-nut for a second. You really need to start taking your situation into your own hands. Both fatigue and stress are huge, HUGE aggravaters of Crohn's, and you've been overloading yourself haven't you (hint: full Outlook calendar)? Stress and worry can make it hard to sleep and fatigue will worsen your body's ability to help itself.

    Also.... I'm sure everyone is different regarding food, but you really are eating food that is among the worst things! Salsa? Sausages? Corn-chips? Hello! Whole grains and corn products (fiber) will contribute to constipation and scratch your digestive track... and spicy foods irritate the ulcering of the intestinal lining that we have.

    I don't mean to be naggy, but before you consider the drastic, scary step of surgery I would consider a radical lifestyle change and maybe speak to a dietitian who can help you make more Crohn's friendly meals.

    It's probably easier for me to say than to do b/c I started out with what I thought was IBS about 8 years ago so I've been modifying my lifestyle gradually over all that time. So I know it would be much harder for someone to do it 'instantly', but you really need to try this before you go for surgery.

    All this said with good intentions! *hug*

    ~Bright Side

  7. Hi BrightSide,

    Thanks for the tough love! Maybe this doesn't get through enough on the blog, but I do monitor what I eat. Perhaps not closely enough, though. I do enjoy tortilla chips, you got me. I only have them with a bit of salsa (mild), and I know tomatoes are a no-no. But I don't eat anything remotely spicey, any whole grains, anything with aspartane (sugar substitute), anything sour or tart, I limit my vegetables and do not eat certain fruits, I limit fatty dairy and don't eat ice cream, avoid anything acidic, and am trying to cut down on sugary foods. I've found those are all triggers for me. Oh, and even though my husband eats disgusting things like "Black Bean Salsa Dogs", I do not! ;-)

    I have eaten a bland, low-residual diet before and have found, for me, at the time it did not do anything differently than the above mentioned precautions.

    Yeah...the surgery issue is complicated. It's not just the inflamed illieum, but I also have an abscess that may not have resolved itself through antibiotic treatment. I've gone to a couple surgeons and a couple GI's, and will probably be getting yet another CT Scan soon to determine where I stand re: the abscess.

    As for the stress....well, I'm trying to relax but that's a tough order!

    I hope you are feeling better, too. I just read your most recent entry, and I'm sorry the pain is returning. There is nothing scarier.

    Thanks again for your comment - I think you're right in that I need to look more closely at my diet, but I just had to let everyone know that I do monitor it (at least somewhat!) ;-)

    Above all, whenever you may find time, I'd love to know some of your favorite Crohn's-approved meals and what you eat on a daily basis.

    All my best,

  8. Glad to read that! You're on a good start!

    Maybe you can ask your work to let you cut down on the appointments or work hours? So you aren't overloaded. I know how hard that can be in a corporate work place. It's tough.

    As for what I eat, I don't eat any fruit or spices or whole grains. I can eat any meat cooked plain or with cooking oil or some honey on my chicken. I congeal the fat out of any broth to make gravy. I can eat may veggies cooked, and raw cucumbers and small amounts of some other veggies.

    I eat a lot of milk alternative products like rice milk, soy-ice-cream and soy-cream-cheese. I eat zero spice or acidic food. If a product has citric acid as an ingredient I avoid it or eat small amounts. Also no caffeine or alcohol.

    Hopefully you are not as sensitive to foods as I am b/c I'm pretty limited. I can't eat any condiments or sauces except for soy-sauce, honey, peanut butter, margarine and soy-products. I recently bought soy sour cream but have not worked up the courage to try it yet. No dairy at all, nothing pickled (acidic). Nothing fruit flavoured. I try to avoid corn too but I will eat a few handful of popcorn at the movies (can't resist!).

    Many of these foods I can eat tiny amounts of. Like a slice of apple pie as wide as a finger. Lol.

    I like to make stirfry with chicken, bean sprouts, shrimp, soysauce and whatever other veggies you like and put it on noodles. I eat a ton of pasta, rice and white bread. Luckily my metabolism is sky-high. But I do need to get working out though. :)

  9. I also make a lot of things from scratch. Like cookies, stew and soup. I also look for products with short ingredient lists that are ok for me. Like NoName plain muffin mix is milk and acid free! So I've been on a muffin kick.

    I also substitute a lot of ingredients with things I can eat. Egg whites for whole eggs. Margarine for butter. Rice milk or soy milk for regular milk. etc. Or just remove ingredients altogether like onions or spices. You'd be surprised how you become more sensitive to the natural taste of foods when you no longer slather them with sauce and seasonings!

    I drink mainly water, decaf tea and rice milk.

  10. Hey Bright Side,

    Okay - a couple specific questions:

    1) Do you eat cereal? (I noticed no "whole grains" but wanted to ask about that - I've been on a cereal kick b/c I think I find it bland and soothing...who knows.)

    2) No fruit at all?! Oh my. Not even bananas? Sob!

    3) I'm curious about the no butter / egg yolks. Tell me about that (if you'd be so kind!)

    Thanks for your help. I think it's about gathering as much info as I can and starting from there.

    How did you figure out what bothered you? Just trial and error? An elimination diet?

    All my best,