chronic illness

The Bowel Prep Survival Kit

Bowel Prep Survival Kit

Unfortunately I am scheduled for a repeat colonoscopy & EGD tomorrow which means I get the pleasure of attempting to survive completing a bowel prep.  This will be my 4th (and unfortunately not my last) time having to endure such torture.  So I thought I would share my wisdom that I have acquired over the years with you wonderful readers (after all at one point or another we all end up having the opportunity to share the joy of a colonoscopy).

This is what I call my Bowel Prep Survival Kit:

Bowel Prep Survival Kit

Essential items include:
1-Bowel Prep Meds:  These come in different varieties but all work basically the same.  If you have to mix the powder with liquid to drink, I highly recommend mixing it ahead of time and putting it in the fridge so that it gets really cold.  It seems to make it go down a little easier (you can mix and store solution up to 24 hours before your start time) Some people recommend using a straw. Whatever gets it down the fastest!
2-Apple Juice: Its a clear liquid with some sugar to keep blood sugar levels from completely dropping plus give you the sense that your stomach is full. White grape juice is approved as well – just no red or purple juice.
3-Clear Liquid of your choice:  For every 8oz of the bowel prep mix you drink, you chase it with 8oz clear liquid of your choice such as Sprint, Mt. Dew, 7up, light colored flavors of Gatorade, and sweet tea.  Be careful when making your choice!  Short story:  I used to love love love the yellow Gatorade but the bowel prep mix for my first colonoscopy tasted exactly like it so now I gag every time I smell the stuff.  So sad.  So you may want to stick to Sprite instead of your beloved choice just in case you developed some type of warped connection between the two (or maybe I am just a complete weirdo for making such a connection).
4-Popsicles:  My favorites are banana pops and lemon italian ice. Both are on the approved list and believe me you get tired of Jello pretty quick. I have always stuck to banana pops in the past but discovered lemon italian ice on this trip to the grocery store for prep supplies! Jello is also on the approved list. Colors to avoid are red, blue, purple, and green (basically any other color than clear or yellow) as they can dye your intestines which makes accurate viewing difficult. Popsicles must not contain yogurt or ice cream.

5-Moist Wipes:  Your butt will thank you.  I promise.

Items not pictures but highly recommended: Reading material, a stool to put your feet on (not sure why this helps but it does), and air freshener.

Of course clear chicken or beef broth (without noodles or rice) is on the approved list, but I will stick to lemon Jello and banana pops thankyouverymuch.

Now if you ever get the news that you will have to have a colonoscopy (or must have a bowel prep for some other type of surgery) you can’t say you weren’t prepared 🙂

Have you had a colonoscopy or have had to complete a bowel prep for another reason? Would you add anything to this list?


P.S. Be a spoonie girl scout & check out the Hospital Survival Kit & Flare Survival Kit to be prepared for what else life with chronic illness may have in store!

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eMeals: Gluten-Free Meal Planning Made Easy

Disclosure: I am a member of the eMeals Blogger Network which includes a one year subscription to eMeals. This post also includes affiliate links. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and always strive to share brands and products that I believe can greatly benefit this community! 

Cooking has never been my forte but when I was diagnosed with Celiac disease in 2010, a lot of my best recipes had to go out the window. My lack of kitchen creativity paired with the overwhelming health challenges of the last six months meant my kitchen has pretty much been out of order save an occasional slow cooker dinner every now and then.

I know that meal planning is not only healthier for my family but is better for our budget which of course is a major concern when dealing with disability. When you plan out your meals for the week and make one trip to the grocery store for meal items, you can plan your shopping around sales and cut down on all the “extras” that somehow appear in your cart every time you make your way to the check out. When I attempted gluten-free meal planning on my own, I felt like I was using the same handful of recipes every week and that was if we even cooked at all. I definitely needed to find something new for the sake of our health (and our wallets).

When I visited Type A Conference in September, I was introduced to eMeals!

eMeals is an awesome service that allows you to create meals plans based on your eating style (such as gluten-free, vegetarian, or even slow cooker!), family size, and even your favorite place to shop for groceries! After signing up, you will receive an email with your seven day meal plan filled with simple yet creative recipes that include a main dish and sides. Not only does the email include all seven recipes but it also includes a shopping list with everything that you need customized for store you selected! To make it even better, the meal plan is coordinated with weekly sales at select stores!

Could it be any easier?!



Now that I am beginning to get my life back and I am excited to dust off my kitchen and put it to good use specially for the holidays right around the corner! I will definitely be sharing about my favorites along the way! The only thing I have noticed so far that I would tweak about the meal plans is the ability to select foods your family does not eat or other food allergies outside of the main meal plan categories. With having Celiac, I choose the gluten-free meal plans but I do not have the option to state that we don’t eat seafood or mushrooms or that I am allergic to nuts. In the grand scheme of things, I consider this a minor problem and within a couple weeks of receiving meal plans, I have many recipes in my arsenal that I am able to swap out for recipes included in the weekly meal plan that may not suit my family’s taste buds!

If you struggle in the kitchen like me (please tell me I’m not the only uncreative cook out there!) or want to start meal planning to keep your family (and budget) healthy, I definitely recommend checking out eMeals! Dinner plans start at $10 per month for 3 months or $58 for the whole year which brings the monthly cost down to $5!!! You can also get a jump on Black Friday/Cyber Monday and save 30% using promo code CYBER which makes eMeals deals even sweeter!


If you plan on spending more time in the kitchen this holiday season, where will you be finding your recipes? Family hand-me-downs, your favorite cookbooks, or trying something new (and finally putting your Pinterest boards to use) after finding a recipe online?


Disclosure: I am a member of the eMeals Blogger Network which includes a one year subscription to eMeals. This post also includes affiliate links. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and always strive to share brands and products that I believe can greatly benefit this community! 

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Our New Girls’ Night Tradition

Thank you to Log Cabin for sponsoring my post about updated traditions in my household. To learn more about Log Cabin Syrups (which are all free of High Fructose Corn Syrup), breakfast for dinner, and other new ways to update traditions in your home, click here.I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Over the last couple weeks Hubs has been out of town on several occasions and with the summer coming up it will become a little more frequent. Typically YPW stands for youth pastors wife but in the summer months it meansyouth pastors widow as between summer camps and mission trips my husband stays pretty busy so Abby and I end up with a little one-on-one time.

While we both miss him like crazy, it is fun to have some girl time. We have even established our own little tradition for our girls night. While its fun to go out, we have even more fun when we stay in!

Breakfast for dinner has always been popular in our house but when I was diagnosed with Celiac disease last year it meant having to find new ways to enjoy one of our favorite meals. My saving graces are Gluten-Free Bisquick and Log Cabin syrup (which is both GF and free of HFCS).

Abby and I love pancakes while Hubs is more an eggs and biscuits guy so when he is out of town we have instituted pancake nights. Abby stands on her stool next to me while I prep the batter and she gets the fun of adding the toppings such ad blueberries or mini chocolate chips (I think she likes those the best!).

The extra fun part of our pancake nights is breaking the dinner time rule of eating at the table sans TV. Instead we pile up blankets and pillows and enjoy our pancakes while watching a movie! Last night featured chocolate chip pancakes and Tangled! For our next girls night I need to think of a new topping–any suggestions? I’m thinking maybe apple cinnamon or strawberry banana…..

strawberry banana pancakesvia

So while we miss the man of the house, we enjoy our girls’ night in!
Do you have any new family traditions you have started?