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The Great Illness: That Time I Literally Lost My Ish

I don’t know what I did to piss off the gods, but back in early February I got a super bug lodged in my gut, and for two weeks all I did was sit on potties with THE world’s worst illness in the history of Tish illnesses. My husband and I practiced those new wedding vows for real. “In sickness and in health, on potties and in fetal position, I will love you and pass you new rolls of toilet paper until the day I die.” It is now an official love. stomach bug, alternative treatments, I went to the doctor. I went to the ER. I called a GI. I did tests because there was just no way in the world this was normal. I lost more than 10 pounds and lay on my couch feeling sorry for myself through Valentine’s Day and many days after. Once it lifted and I was able to get back on my feet, I bumped into an associate from my place of employment who said she and her daughter had both had the same horrid attack, which made me feel better, but that still didn’t stop me from going to a natural health care provider to try to get some sort of relief that didn’t involve drugs. (My stomach was retaining food, but I was miserably pained and weak as heck. I knew something was off.)

I’m glad I did. Remember Emma, that awesome nutritionist I mentioned back in the day who helped me with my alkaline diet plan? Well, she told me to go to the Cohn Health Institute in Costa Mesa, Calif. It’s about a two-hour drive for me, but I cared not. I went, and the glorious docs there were kind enough to help me with some nutrition suggestions and herbs to take to calm the beasts inside the belly — and it’s working! I’m not gonna lie; I’m a recovering pill-popper. I get scared when something hurts, and I’m quick to take a pill, ignoring the scary side effects. If my doctor prescribes it, I just take it. I was tired of masking the problem, though. After awhile you just want to find out what’s causing the crap (no pun intended) and get to the root of the problem and fix it for good. So that’s my reasoning for going the hippity-dippity and — might I add — effective route.

It’s been a month-long journey. I found out I’m allergic to corn, which sucks balls because I can’t even tell you how often I was eating frozen popcorn and fixing fish tacos on corn tortillas for dinner. But you learn and you heal. That’s my new philosophy! What I’ve learned from this horrific ordeal: I can no longer Google my symptoms. I thought I had a tapeworm, cancer, colitis, parasites … It was not a fun time in the Arana household — especially after I learned how you get a tapeworm out. Please don’t Google that! (Okay, I know you have to Google it now. Sorry for that.)

I’ve also learned that sometimes you just have to let an illness run its mean little course. I stopped working out (obviously) and lived on Gatorade, water, Sprite and Pedialyte for a couple of days when I had no appetite. I just had to rest and chill out. My biggest epiphany, though: Our bodies are complicated and complex hunks of confusion that deserve to be investigated. I was so worried about the cost of running all the expensive damn tests to figure out what was wrong, but it was through testing that I found my culprit and thus proper treatment.

Sometimes you just have trust your gut. Pun intended. —Tish

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