Friday, July 18, 2014

Colonoscopy Results

Unfortunately, the results were not good, and imagine what it would have been like if I didn't complete my water/juice fast the 8 days prior.

My colon is very inflamed and there are several ulcers. There was a part of the colon that was so inflamed that Dr. Sigmon wasn't sure the endoscopy scope would fit through. After the colonoscopy, Dr. Sigmon came to speak with me and was recommending that I get biologic treatment. This is the level of medication I have spent the last three years trying to avoid. 

Because they suppress the immune system, all biologics carry an increased risk of infections, which in rare cases can be serious. Biologics are a type of drug called a TNF inhibitor. In rare cases, some people taking TNF inhibitors have developed certain cancers such as lymphoma.

Most infections that occur with biologic use are far less serious, such as colds, upper respiratory tract infections, and urinary tract infections are common. Other common side effects are as follows:

  • headaches
  • flu-like symptoms
  • nausea
  • rashes
  • pain at the site of injection
  • infusion reactions
Ultimately, I'm so disappointed. I actually began feeling good, which likely means that many times in the past three years since my diagnosis, when I was feeling good, my colon was not healthy. So all of the times I might have cheated and began to loosen my strict diet, all of the times I felt I must have healed my ulcers and all of the times I knew that I was in remission, I probably was not.

So what does this mean? It likely means that my colon has been inflamed for three years. It probably means that if I continue doing what I've done for the last three years for the rest of my life, I will likely develop such a diseased colon that it would result in a colostomy or colon cancer.  Neither of course is the result I have been striving for.

What are my choices: get on meds the rest of my life, which will include biologics, because steroid treatment cannot be the long term solution, or find another holistic way.

Another holistic way will probably mean that I have to stick to the diet suggested by my holistic gastroenterologist. This basically means cutting out anything that really tastes good and eliminating all alcohol. No pasta, no cheese, no sweets, no chocolate. Only fruits and vegetables, along with only a couple grains, and nuts only when in remission. No sodas, or anything to drink other than juice and water.

Ultimately, this really changes ones life. Imagine asking an alcoholic to meet you for a drink at a bar. Well that will be how it will feel to go out to dinner with friends. There is seldom anything on the menu that will comply with Dr. Azar's recommended diet. The easiest way for an alcoholic to stay sober is to not frequent places that will present temptation. In the first few years of their sobriety, an alcoholic clearly avoids going to bars for any reason.

Maybe by year five, they have the will power to meet a bunch of friends at a bar, but realistically, by then, they don't have a bunch of friends that go to bars.

So, as I think about things, the best way for me to stick to what I must do to stay healthy, is to avoid going to places where food and drinks that I want are the main center of attraction. Think about most of your socializing events. Most often it is centered around food and alcohol. Candidly, I simply don't have the will power to attend these events without participating. So I'll avoid them.

What does that mean to my friendships? What does that mean for my relationships? What does this mean to my hopes of traveling to some countries and places I've never seen?

As you can probably tell, I'm very upset and disappointed. I realize I have to do what I have to do, but doing it will mean many changes, and these changes will definitely effect my relationships.

Imagine not wanting to go to your boyfriend's place because of the food he has there may tempt you? Friends invite you over for dinner and drinks and you have to bring a bowl of cantaloupe to eat and pass on the dinner.  Isn't that fun?? No, it isn't. So I might as well not go.

What about my thought of returning to Paris next summer? Well how am I going to do that if there isn't any restaurants where I can eat? Good luck traveling anywhere for that matter unless I bring my Vitamix and juicer and go to the local grocery store for all my meals.

This is what I see happening in the near future, and it saddens me to think what will become of some of some of my relationships, and some of my hopes and dreams...

I guess I have to start working on new dreams.

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