A year later…

It is just over a year to the day that I last posted… I went into hiding as life got in the way with work and play, I was dealing with my Crohn’s, healing my Crohn’s and felt that talking about it so frequently had run its course.

So, where am I now?

In a MUCH better place, but really, it’s been a 2 year process since my last relapse of getting on top of it, and that has been quite overwhelming at times. It has involved many doctors’ visits, blood tests, tears and tantrums, colonoscopies, seton placements and replacements, abscess draining and cutting out, stricture dilation, salt baths, medication changes, diet adjustments, acupuncture sessions, naturopathy appointments, vitamins and supplements and a mother fucking positive attitude!

Sometimes I surprise myself how I can still smile and laugh through it all – I guess your ability to tolerate and persist through the bad times just gets stronger, your “norm” expands and you can handle it better. Even today while visiting my surgeon, I described my current stricture as “if my butt cheeks have swallowed my anus”, and that I was looking forward to seeing him in surgery in 3 weeks to dilate said stricture because “I always feel like a new woman” after I go in! He just laughed at me, and I laughed at myself too as I penciled in the date of the surgery in my calendar as “an exciting thing to look forward to”!

I guess after it all, what else is there to do but be positive? I will be dealing with this for the rest of my life (until the miracle cure!), so if I can’t change that, I can accept it and move forward.

So, this is what’s happening with my treatment:

  • Medication: Humira (1 injection per week) and Imuran (75mg)
  • Diet: Eating gluten and dairy-free about 90% of the time, not punishing myself when I cheat
  • Surgery: only to help with the stricture, no abscesses (YAY!)
  • Alternative: acupuncture sessions once a week and started meditating (just doing 5 mins a day)
  • Exercise: twice a week with a PT (helps make me feel strong and healthy!) and basketball once a week
  • Feel goods: a massage every once in a while, mani/pedi once a week (treat yo’ self! You deserve it after all this shit!) spending time with family and friends

Am happy with how things are progressing, but there is always room for improvement! My hubby and I want to start a family, but only when things are all healthy with me, so that’s an added incentive for me to stay strong and focused on the healing process. All in good time! xxSBlN9fPi8qBdREDpa-VUF4XXXL4j3HpexhjNOf_P3YmryPKwJ94QGRtDb3Sbc6KY

 

Dietary restrictions…

Through another friend of mine who also has Crohn’s, I found this article from Sarah Wilson, the champion of “I Quit Sugar” about the power AND lack thereof of diet in healing chronic illness.

And it’s brilliant. Although, I did feel a twinge of sadness reading it, but mainly because I know, deep down, that it’s true. The article talks about the concerns of unwell people who are SOLELY using diet as a way of healing diseases. And as much as I am a massive advocate for food and its healing properties, I know that for me, cutting out gluten and dairy (and the 100 million other things) will NOT cure me. It is a delicate balancing act of EVERYTHING – food, medicine and alternative therapies combined with a positive attitude, determination and an awareness of what is truly happening in my body.

I know that eating well helps me feel better and helps prevent a lot of the symptoms such as inflammation that comes with Crohn’s, but diet is a form of MANAGEMENT, not a cure. I wish it was as simple as eating well and everything would just fall into place, but I also know that “bending the rules” of my diet still happens, so I’m grateful that I have all the other features of my health management plan to depend on to accommodate the slip ups. And vice versa – when my medicine isn’t doing enough of the job, I need to go back to my healthy eating to support my system.

So my advice is to be open to learn about the many different ways of healing and management that can be available to you, no matter what you are going through. You’ll find your winning combination that helps prevent flare ups and manage your life better at some point.

Don’t just depend on that ONE thing – looking after yourself requires a lot more support than that from many different avenues, and although food and diet is a fantastic way of helping the healing, it can’t be the only thing you do.

Why my Great Grandma didn’t have Crohn’s…

This interesting read was sent to me by a good friend who clearly still does some extra reading about Crohn’s on my behalf! Thank you for your love and support!

Anyway, it’s a blog called “Gutsy by Nature” and there is a very interesting post about traditional foods and how the increase in Crohn’s and other inflammatory digestive diseases have increased in the last couple of decades. And what can be attributed to this? The food in our diet.

How we eat nowadays is very different to how we used to eat “back in the day” – more processed food, more sugar, less fresh fruit and vegies and lots more wheat products compared to the good ol’ days of freshness from your garden and a healthy slab of butter!

So even though we cannot reverse the Industrial Revolution and all the amazing technology and food production processes (not that we would want to!) that have helped support our growing world in the last 100 years (but that have processed yucky foods now exploding everywhere!), we can definitely do more to help our guts by eating better and trusting the healing that diet can bring. And yes, it takes time and energy to prepare meals and do the right shopping AND it takes perseverance and a disgusting amount of will power to say “No” to all the easily accessible and delicious foods out there (wah, I miss you gluten and dairy!) but hey, unless you haven’t tried diet as a healing method, you KNOW it works!

Every little bit makes the difference x

Live to learn, and learn to live…

This time last year, I couldn’t walk. I was in a lot of pain, very unsure of what was happening within my body and just downright miserable. My Crohn’s was rearing it’s ugly head after being dormant for several years.

After visiting my surgeon yesterday, he was very impressed with my progress! Everything is settling down, stricture is very relaxed and he even spoke about taking the setons out sometime this year. I celebrated by having a little cry. Actually, that’s a lie. It was a big cry. A big, ugly, sobby cry of relief in my car, on my way home. My husband said to me “You’ve done a 180 degree turn and gone passed where you were last year” – I’m even better than I was BEFORE I got sick.

So some things I have learned:

1. I misunderstood what my Crohn’s was all about. It is amazing how ignorant I was about it, and it wasn’t until I started this blog that the real learning began. Asking my doctors lots of questions to develop my understanding helped me know how to really help myself.

2. I honestly believed that I was “cured” of Crohn’s. I didn’t understand the doctor’s lingo when they said there was no traces of Crohn’s in my body. I now know that they meant the Crohn’s wasn’t “active”. I was taking it literally – there is no Crohn’s in my body! I am cured! Wrong.

3. The power of diet to heal. Holy shit. How my life has changed since going gluten and dairy free.

4. Stress management is ESSENTIAL! Exercise, yoga and meditation. I wish I had given these a chance sooner to actually change my life. But it all came to me when it needed to be.

5. Talking and blogging about what I was going through and not hiding it allowed me to let go of the suffering. Letting people look after me, love me and support me was incredibly scary, but extraordinarily beneficial in getting me closer to healing.

I guess that’s why it’s important to live to learn, and learn to live. Even though things that you live through can be horribly traumatic, there is a silver lining to everything. The eternal optimist within me is soldiering on!

Would love to hear what you’ve learned from your Crohn’s experience. Share the love and learning! x

Inspiration at any age

My sister sent me this video of a 96 year old woman who is a yoga teacher and does ballroom dancing, and it blew me away! It really is Inspiration at any age! Not only does she look sensational, but she is full of wisdom, sharing that whatever you put in your mind materialises, so be positive and look for the good in everything.

Think happy thoughts. Think healing thoughts. I am happy, and I am healed.

And I should go to a yoga class…

 

 

My “special” friend

I honestly didn’t know whether to laugh or cry from embarrassment today!

After my last visit to the hospital to dilate my stricture, my surgeon gave me some pretty funny advice – in order to keep my anus from slowly closing again, and thus avoid going into hospital again to stretch it out, he recommended that I purchase a little bullet dildo to slip inside everyday just to help keep it’s shape. He said this to me while I was in my post-op daze with my husband standing next to me. I remember sheepishly grinning about the whole thing and looking at my husband, a little embarrassed but also a little bit like “eh, gotta do what I gotta do to keep my pooper (and surgeon) happy”. And that was that. Needless to say, I promptly got my little bullet and keep it in the shower for easy access – slip it in, slip it out, and clean it. It has become my morning shower ritual and as much as it is a little funny to do, it has done wonders to keep the stricture from coming back.

So this morning, my husband goes to work and sends me the following text:

Hubby: I saw your little friend in the shower. You may want to move it with [our friend who is staying with us over the next week] here.
Me: Hahahahaha do you know what my little friend is for? I don’t remember telling you! haha if [friend] has seen it already he’ll just think I’m freaky. But I’ll move it (horrified and embarrassed face Emoji)
Hubby: I don’t think you’ve told me. I just thought you had special showers every once in a while.

And then I started to piss myself laughing!!! I realise at this point that when my surgeon came over to talk to me recently, clearly my husband was not listening at all to what he was saying! Which would explain how surprised he was to find an index finger length dildo hidden underneath my exfoliating gloves in the shower!!

At this point I explained to my husband that I am not having “special showers” and that it is part of my Crohn’s management to keep my pooper in shape. His response:

Haha. I love you. And your pooper.

My husband is the best.

 

 

Merry Christmas Amber!!

We truly hope you have the most wonderful Christmas ever this year.  After everything that you both (as individuals and together) have been through, you deserve a very merry christmas – Be it without alcohol, chocolate gluten, dairy sugar, seeds, nuts and some meats and vegetables!!  Yay.

Anyway – You got us as your secret santa’s this year.

Here is your present!

A fully optimised Crohn’s blog with an already set up back link profile.

This site is social media enabled and you can link it to what ever you want to set up.

You will no longer be providing links on behave of Wrodpress.com, but be able to set up your own fully independent project.

There are more formatting and layout options than before, and you have access to more styles and designs.  There are more image options including a feature image for every post (if you wish).  With this site you’ll be able to choose and customise ads from google if you wish to have them, as well as set up affiliate links to items on amazon and across the web to make a profit from their sales.

There is a huge side bar to fill with heaps of widgets and plugin’s and heaps of great stuff.

As part of your present I wanted to come round to your house one afternoon before we head home and take you through all the changes and chat with you about what is possible and what you might be interested in.  Hope you love it, and we look forward to seeing where you take it.

Lots of love,

Meg and Leigh.

XX

 

The Fasting and the Furious

I’m going into day surgery again today to replace the 2 setons I have that help drain any potential abscesses or infections that might be brewing because of my Crohn’s, so I’ve had the day off and am an hour away from going into the hospital.

Anyone heading in for a procedure knows that one of the hardest parts of preparing for it (other than the fear, anxiety, stress, exhaustion…) is fasting – No food or drink 6 hours before you go under general anaesthetic. I’ve looked into the reason behind this and a lot of sources say it’s because when you’re under, the contents of your stomach can flow back into your lungs and cause all sorts of complications. Gross. Either way, fasting when you already are feeling sorry for yourself is not a good combination, and I assure you that by the time I get to the hospital, I will seriously have my cranky pants on and be in some foul mood. Sorry in advance to the doctors and nurses looking after me today!

But there are some(times) wonderful things that I do to distract myself from feeling thirsty and/or hungry…or in my case…hangry.

1. I cleaned the house this morning! I furiously scrubbed and washed the bathrooms, tidied up the bedrooms, put on the laundry and did general sorting. And when all that activity started to make me feel hungry, I would have a nap. Which brings me to the next thing on my list…

[Read more…]

Paradigm shift

I went and saw Dr. Yuwen Lee (my naturopath/dietician/supplements specialist) yesterday and confessed… I had fallen off the bandwagon several times and had indulged in some gluten, dairy, coffee, soy, corn, potato, salad and fruit… all the yummy things that are on my list of foods to avoid.

I’ve seen myself slip several times since June, but have managed to justify that if I eat really well 99% of the time, then surely that soy latte on the weekend isn’t going to kill me. And plus, on special occasions it doesn’t count (“It’s a wedding! It’s good luck to eat some of the cake!”)…

But what I have noticed is that as soon as I eat some of the forbidden things, my body is much more sensitive to them. I bloat almost immediately, and feel lethargic and sometimes constipated the next day, as I am sure my digestive system has hit overload and is trying to process everything that I have just consumed. My greatest discovery is that the little belly pudge that I have had since I was 16 years old (fondly known as my ‘Buddha Belly’ – rub for good luck!) actually is a result of being in a constant bloated state! What I thought was my “body issue” that I wasted countless years trying to destroy through ab workouts and spanx is actually combated by avoiding gluten and dairy! Wow, what I have put my body through!

[Read more…]

Stick Your Tongue Out!

I’ve always wondered what my naturopath and acupuncturist were looking for when they would ask me to stick out my tongue… apparently it is a gateway (not just to my stomach!) into your internal condition and health.

Indicators such as colour, texture and shape provide an insight in to what is going on inside, and judging by the state of my tongue, I’ve got some damp heat. This is pretty typical considering I am on a lot of medication – it upsets the gut flora (need to double up on my probiotics and acidophilus clearly!) .

And heat is indicative of an inflammatory condition – Crohn’s!

So have a look in the mirror and see what your tongue is telling you – see what you can do to improve your inner health.