Ulcerative Colitis a disease that affects approximately 700,000 Americans, that is roughly .002% of the population of the United States who has the pleasure of living with this disease. To say I feel blessed to fall within the statistics above would be more than an overstatement. Having lived with this disease for the last 6+ years I have had to tailor all aspects of my life, and at times found leaving the house almost unbearable. There are times that I feel like if I could just use the restroom one more time before leaving the house then I might be asymptomatic for the duration of the errand or family event that I am attending. Sometimes this simply isn’t the case, and for those special circumstances I now carry a handy little emergency kit in my trunk. One that on these special occasions keeps me from having to go home and not participate in my own life.
It has taken me 6+ years to realize that I actually have control over this disease, at least for the most part. In the beginning I had simply convinced myself that I was allergic to being pregnant, since these symptoms started when I was pregnant with my amazing son. So of course the natural solution was that I was simply allergic to being pregnant. I eventually went to the doctor when I realized I wasn’t necessarily digesting food, and I was concerned about the baby, this was when I received my first referral to the Gasterenterologist. As a very pregnant woman this was an adventure to say the least, we headed to a specialist in Seattle and waited to be seen, he simply could not do a full evaluation since I was pregnant, however I did get to experience my first sigmoidoscopy, which was a pleasure! These results were inconclusive so I continued with my own diagnosis that I was simply allergic to being pregnant.
Fast forward after the birth of my son, and I miraculously lost almost 75lbs instantly, and boy did I look amazing, if amazing is looking like you are about to take your last breath. Needless to say my theory that I was allergic to being pregnant didn’t stick with my husband after the son was born and I was spending more of the day in the bathroom then with my new family.
I was then encouraged to seek a second opinion from my husband. during this consultation and after several invasive procedures I was informed that I had either ulcerative colitis or Chron’s, which apparently who similar in their symptoms. This is where the medication experimentation started. First it was simple, start taking prednisone and another tablet and symptoms would disappear, then when I started to taper off the prednisone the symptoms would reappear. Over the last 6 years I became an expert at increasing and tapering my prednisone when symptoms occurred. after several reactions to medication and several hospital stays I began to contemplate whether or not this reactive stance on my disease was actually benefiting me, when I throughout this entire time I was still experiencing symptoms a majority of the time, the only time my symptoms were alleviated was when predisne usage was increased to face bloating levels.
through experimentation with diets and still experiencing symptoms I started getting frustrated, I wanted to find a proactive response to this disease. For two years I tried being a vegetarian, with continuation of symptoms I finally jumped off the vegetarian bandwagon. During this time I was also gluten free, I have found that gluten is a major trigger for my flare ups….so I have maintained that dietary modification, however was still having symptoms?
As of today I am medicine free, finally tapered off of all steroids for good. However, I still battle with the ‘cure’, and being consistent with my proactive approach. I have found that if I am religious and strictly follow the Paleo Diet, then I can eliminate the symptoms and actually live my life. The only problem is that in life sometimes following a strict diet that eliminates grain, diary, and sugar is that life gives you bumps and temptations. I am hoping that by sharing my journey, and my understand of how greatly diet has am affect on my disease I can gather enough devotion top the opportunity to live my life symptom free to follow the Paleo diet as intending. After I finish my non-Paleo peanut butter moo’d…