Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Most Recent Test Results

Well....I wish I had good news, but I don't. Last Tuesday, I had some blood work done, and my sediment rate was 107. Hemoglobin was 10.2. So ultimately, inflammation has not reduced in the past month and I'm anemic again. Arrgh. But my appointment with Dr. Sigmon gave me more focus on holistic healing than I have ever had.

This nasty disease has 50-80% ending in surgury:( Treatment starts with aminosalicylates. This is basically one of the meds I was given when I was first diagnosed, mesalamine, and may help reduce inflammation. According to Dr. Sigmon, it only works in 25% of Crohn's patients.

The next level of treatment is oral steroids. This also is one of the medications I was given when I was first diagnosed. Budesonide is the one I was prescribed. It's an immune suppressant. Without going into a huge amount of explanation, the pyramid of treatment is shown below. A Crohn's sufferer will usually start at the bottom of the pyramid, and as the body develops a tolerance for the medication they have to go to the next level of treatment.

Hopefully you live a full life before you reach the top level:-(

When I arrived at my doctor's office, I really thought that Dr. Sigmon would be mad because he recommended that I start taking Asacol the last visit approximately five weeks ago. And now here I arrive after not taking his advise. When I explained to him that I didn't start taking the medication, and that I was trying to control the symptoms by diet, I really expected him to get mad at me. But he didn't.

I explained a little bit about the diet I was on, and mentioned candidly, that it was very boring. His response was, "but you're likely the healthy person I've met today."

Ultimately, I decided to stay on the holistic approach because that visit convinced me that if I go with the medical route, it likely will end in surgery. If I stay on the holistic route, I will likely become healthier and add year to my life. As your body battles this disease for years on the medical route, you take years off of your life. But on the holistic approach, the diet itself is so healthy, you add years to your life, and once the ulcers are healed, my life will be back to being close to normal.

I don't wish this disease upon any one. It is nasty, and it sucks that I have to deal with it, but my visit with Dr. Sigmon that day just reinforced how I need to stay focused and committed to my diet and holistic healing.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Get More Rest!

My symptoms are getting a little better. I am definitely not normal yet, however. I need about 9 hours sleep if I don't do anything during the day that overly exerts my energy. I'm still having about 5 bowel movements a day, but the discomfort in my gut has subsided. So I have improved quite a bit, but I'm not back to normal yet.

Saturday, I instructed up at Beech mountain. By lunch time I was beat. Walking up and down the mountain while instructing just wore me out that quickly. So you can imagine how tired I was at 3:30 when my lessons were over. I had to go back to the apartment to take a nap in order to have enough energy to learn some acrobalance, which I had planed for the evening.

Acrobalance is very cool, by the way. One of the ski instructors, Jeff Anderson, does this and is exceptional at it. It's a cross between yoga and acrobatics, and a little like what you'd see at a cirque du soleil. You can check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIMx0zVqvDM.

In any regard, I've been wanting to do this with him all season, and he finally was off work so that we could Saturday night. It's a bit of a work out. I worked up a sweat for sure, even though we only performed for about 30 minutes.

Dr. Azar keeps talking to me getting more rest. She says the body only heals when resting, and using my energy for other things will just prolong my healing. Her words were in my thoughts when I decided to take Sunday off from instrucing. I did absolutely nothing that day, even after sleeping ten hours Saturday night, and even after vegging all day on Sunday, I still slept ten hours Sunday night as well. For those of you that know me, that certainly is not normal, but my body needed every second of it.

Today, my legs are soooo sore from all day of lessons on Saturday, so clearly I burned a lot of energy Saturday, but still, needing an entire day to recover for this certainly means that my body has not recovered very well from my Crohn's flare up yet. I need to take Dr. Azar's advise it appears, and rest is my objective until I'm feeling 100%.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Flare Up :-(

I’m quite certain I got that stomach flu that’s going around. Here are the symptoms: fever, upset gut, diarrhea and/or vomiting, and fatigue. Well….that sounds a lot like a Crohn’s flare up too. So how do I know I had the stomach flu? Because my boyfriend got all of the same symptoms a few days following when I got mine and he clearly doesn’t have Crohn’s:) So I’m pretty certain what I had was the stomach flu.

That’s actually good news, so I thought. I had a gastrointestinal problem that was not related to my disease. Yay!

But that wishful thinking was very short lived, however. As you may recall, I had a sediment rate of 100 recently, which means my body has inflammation, and based upon the fact I have Crohn’s, it is likely some of the high rate was related to inflammation in my colon.

Now add to the fact that no matter what I do with my diet, the stomach flu creates an acid environment in the GI tract. Current inflammation and an acidic environment leads to a Crohn’s flare up for sure, and that is exactly what happened.

Immediately following my stomach flu, I rolled right into a flare up. Dr. Azar had warned me that this could happen, and she also told me that it would likely be shorter in duration and not as intense. Fortunately, she appears right.

So I have been having this flare up since right after my stomach flu cleared up which as far as I can tell was somewhere around Wednesday last week. Right after my fever broke, I assumed the stomach flu had passed, but my bowel movements were still about eight daily, and they are not controllable like before when I was doing so well. My gut cramps up with each one, and there is blood in my stool, which means the ulcers in my colon are active.

However, I am only mildly fatigued and I don’t have a fever. This is much more mild so far than when I was the walking zombie in September. I was needing 14-18 hours sleep and even with that amount of sleep, I didn’t have the energy to even walk my dog.

Now, with about 10 hours sleep, I have enough energy for a full work day. The bowel movements are certainly inconvenient, but in the past 5 days, they have reduced a little bit, as I’m down to about 5 daily, and the consistency has improved. Even the amount of blood has reduced. I believe I am on my way to remission again.

Dr. Azar has warned me that this could happen a few times even while on the strict healing diet during the first year or so. The body goes through cleansing in layers, and until it is clear of all toxic waste, it cannot focus solely on healing the Crohn’s ulcers. But each time, they are likely to be easier to handle.

I water fasted for a day, and now am only eating sweet fruits and juicing. May daily food journal is very bland with a banana smoothie for breakfast. Cantaloupe for lunch, and mango and banana snacks when needed. Dinner is vegetable juice and maybe another banana smoothie as a evening snack

Cross your fingers for me, because this flareup being so mild is giving me great hope to get into remission quickly, and that my ulcers are truly healing. I can’t possibly have this mild of symptoms during a flare up if the ulcers are still as bad as my walking zombie days. I’ll keep you posted.