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Talking Poop

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Adelea Ibsen was just 30 when diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer. At the time of diagnosis, she was living in Germany with her husband and two young daughters. Because of her illness, the family immediately moved back to Texas so she could be treated at MD Anderson.

Ibsen now commutes from her Austin home weekly to participate in a Phase I clinical trial under the direction of Richard Theriault, D.O., professor in the Department of Breast Medical Oncology.

Today's post continues an occasional series on her experiences with cancer and treatment.

Post by: Adelea Ibsen

ladiesroom.JPGOK, let's begin with this: I'm a Southern girl at heart.

I say ya'll, I love grits, I know what a katydid sounds like. I schvitz, not sweat, and I do not do poop talk. Just ask my husband, my best friend or my kids.

But lately, it's the only thing on my mind. I talk about it to my husband Kent, to my best friend, my kids, friends I haven't seen in ages, a girl today at Victoria's Secret, all nursing staff and most doctors.

It's all about the poop!

How often. Consistency. Changing consistency. Color. Morning or night. Middle of the night. Does it hurt. Do I cramp. Loose or rabbit pellets. The list goes on and on.

Here's the thing, though. I am the one offering up before they even ask. I think my South Alabama grandmother is rolling in her grave.

I even have others talking on my behalf in chart-speak, word-of-mouth or to their own mothers to help with my "issues." This must be how babies feel when their poop is discussed incessantly and with genuine emotion.  

The only other time I have poop talked this much is when I lived on a commune in East Africa one summer in college. Same questions as above, but the word "frothy" got tossed around more, due to giardia outbreaks.

It's a good thing I've had lots of practice on forgetting my dignity. College, childbirth, hanging out with naked-loving Germans, cancer, and that time I peed in my best friend's ex-boyfriend's garden.

It was all practice for my mind being so poop-centered right now.

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