Saturday, February 9, 2013

Enjoying My Coffee

This may sound like a complete no-brainer to "intelligent" people, but did you know that coffee can upset the stomach a wee bit?  I have a serious coffee habit - really, it's my only vice.  I also have a chronic gastrointestinal syndrome called Crohn's Disease.  It's an auto-immune disease where basically (fun stuff) my body attacks itself thinking that my intestines are evil Sith overlords trying to repress the rebel forces.  (Sorry, just finished the original Star Wars trilogy with the kids.) Imagine my distress when I finally made the coffee-hurts-guts connection.  I believe you can call this intense denial.  I've probably had Crohn's since I was a teenager; diagnosed right before my wedding at age 30 (one day you can read my memoir about this terrific time period); plied with pills for 15 years (6 a day right now, which is better than the 9 a day I used to take); and still, terribly symptomatic.  You know that scary lady at Party City or Target dropping sulphur stink bombs and pretending nothing is wrong?  That was me.  Still, I have to have my 3 cups a day.  Hell, I'm drinking a cup right now!  But some time this week I had an epiphany.  It went something like this:

Maybe coffee is hurting my gut. 

And then:


And then I had to rush to the bathroom for the 123rd time that morning.

And then:

Maybe coffee is hurting my gut.

Followed by:

Damn, my coffee went cold.  Better top off that baby and zap it for 40 secs.

So, last night, out of curiosity and searing pain, I went to the trusty interwebs and Googled "Coffee and Crohn's."  Guess what?  Most doctors suggest Crohn's patients abstain from all caffeinated food products including coffee, decaf coffee (because it still has caffeine, stupid decaf), and (kill me) chocolate. 

This is freakishly cruel for the following list of reasons:

First off, I barely drink alcohol and I don't smoke and I don't do recreational drugs so give a lady a break!

Secondly, I have ADD.  Guess what's in every ADD medication?  You got it: caffeine.

Third, I'm prone to migraines.  Yes, I truly am a sad sack of symptoms.  Want to know what I take to make the migraine go away?  You guessed it: caffeine.

With Valentine's Day around the corner, I really don't want to receive a gift of sugarless gum instead of the best chocolate creams available in town (can I get a what-what, Dundee Candy Store).

I own this thanks to

And this is my Facebook profile photo

Coffee and chocolate have seen me through so many hard and happy times.  My entire courtship with with my husband revolved around coffee shops ("We met at Starbucks. Not at the same Starbucks but we saw each other at different Starbucks across the street from each other."), coffee walks in the park, and gifts of chocolate shaped like Homer Simpson.

Dude, I'm not going to go down quietly. 

Hold that thought.  I need to top off my coffee.


  1. I love coffee. Seriously love it and so my sister-in-caffeine, I offer you my deepest condolences and sincere empathy. I gave it up when I was pregnant and nursing and only for my dearly beloved offspring could I imagine doing so.

    It does seem like the cruel twist of the knife to take away the sole vice that makes life feel so complete. Keep us posted on your progress.

    And on a very sincere note, my heart goes out to you with the Crohn's. My mother has a mild case of it and even that is miserable.

    1. Thanks for understanding. Hope your mom is okay.

  2. i have a similar problem with diet coke. I LOVE IT. but because i suffer with chronic pain people are always on my ass about how bad it is for me and la, la la, la la. and i realize it cannot be good for me. but that the worst part, once people know of your crohn's they'll be all up in your business about what you should do and not do.

    i'm sorry about your crohn's. my brother has it but he's till drinking coffee. my mother says we should not feel sorry for him anymore because he will not give up the coffee. but i'm here to tell you, whatever your decision, i'll continue to feel sorry for you. screw mom. xxxxx

    1. You, my dear, make me laugh. I didn't realize you had chronic pain. That's a hard one. I hope you treat yourself to a therapy pool regularly.

      So far, not too many people give me unasked for advice. Strangely, my specialist refuses to see a connection between diet and Crohn's. Yeah. I know. And . . . he has colitis.

      Don't feel sorry for me. Feel sorry for the poor schmucks who shop near me at Target. They have no idea what's about to hit them.

  3. I cannot imagine a world without coffee. Actually, I wouldn't want to even try! I don't have Crohn's but my own auto immune glitch has decided stomache and colon are GREAT places to play and coffee and chocolate are on the forbidden list. You know, the part at the bottom that I totally ignore?
    Hope your colon calms down and plays just a little nice!

    1. Like most things I love, I will ignore the pain for this one. I've already slowed way down on ice cream and other lactose products. This is just more than I'm willing to give up.

      Thanks for the well wishes. I'll buy you a venti mocha at BlogHer.

  4. Dude, I'm totally there! My GI Doc said no more chocolate and that I should cut back on the coffee! But I, like you, do not smoke, drink excessively, or do meth or any other recreational drugs. Ok, fine, I did eat a special brownie once. But only that one time! And it was years ago! And coffee is way not as bad as meth, right? I'm a good girl, I am! why the punishment?!?! I finally told Carter this weekend that I know I'm not supposed to have a second cup of coffee and I know that I'm supposed to give up chocolate, but I can't have wheat anymore for f*ck's sake and so if I want to have a truffle and a big-girl cup 'o' joe, my intestines can suck it.

    We have a very intense, mature relationship - my digestive system and I.

  5. I'm on the verge of going gluten-free, but am having trouble committing to the idea. I like to eat food that involves more than fruit and veg (which, incidentally, upset my tummy). You'll have to give me the hard data from your gluten-free experiments. Convince me. Also, I'm buying the first Starbucks in Boston. We'll suffer together.

  6. Coffee can upset your stomach ?


Comments for me? Thanks a bunch!