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.

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…

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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.

An Inconvenient Truth

Yes, I, a 29 year old woman, wants her mummy. My mum who is away on holiday with my dad, I wish she were here. She is the ultimate “Everything will be ok” kind of person, that just being near her or hearing her voice makes you feel safe.

Today I am going back into hospital – 4 days ago I noticed a small abscess forming near my anus, a place where I have had an abscess before, and by Tuesday morning it had become a blister about the size of my pinky nail and everything around the area ached. The pressure behind it feels like you have a marble under your skin – you notice it when you walk or sit. Luckily I was able to squeeze in to see my surgeon that Tuesday morning at 11.30am, who declared at 11.45am that this was just a “niggle” (he didn’t want me to get upset and wanted to remind me that this was NOT a major setback, that this was just a minor situation) that needed to be cleaned out, and that he will replace the seton nearby as well. Let’s do it tomorrow! YAY!

I walked out of there feeling good. I would get this all under control in 24 hours! Sweet! I love it when it can be sorted quickly! Less time to think about it all. Not going to let this situation inconvenience the rest of my life and everything I have planned! Because by getting it done tomorrow, well, that means I can still go to that wedding I need to go to on Saturday, and thank god it’s still school holidays so I can recover for a couple more days after and do nothing, oh but I won’t be able to make my Wednesday night basketball game so I better let my team know, and thank goodness I have that acupuncture appointment on Thursday afternoon which will be great to help clear any general anaeasthetic that might still be lingering…

Oh shit! Who is going to take me into hospital at this short notice? Ehhhh, it’ll be fine, I will get my own way there! I call my husband, explain what’s going on and I can hear the awkwardness in his voice because I know he is super stressed and busy at the moment with work and he’s wondering how he is going to take the time off and I’m all like, “It’s cool! I’ll get a cab there, but you’ll have to pick me up” and I hear him literally exhale in relief that the option for him to go to work is still available.

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Letting go of the ‘Shoulds’

First of all, I’d like to say thank GOD my acupuncturist is back from her holiday after 6 weeks… it’s like I feel like all is right with the world again. At least everything is right in MY world. She’s fabulous.

So while I was enjoying my Friday evening session today, I was reminiscing about the great advice she has given me over the years. Most recently, when I was off loading about all the crazy stuff that happens at my work, and how it should be like this, and how things shouldn’t be a certain way, and how I was going crazy there… and she simply responded to me

“You need to let go of the ‘shoulds’ in your life”

It was a re-awakening. And since then, I have been so much happier at work and at life. Letting go of the anger and frustration that was attached to the way things ‘should’ be left me with so much more time and energy to focus on what WAS in my control, and what was real.

So during my session, while I was talking about how things were going, I thanked her for this absolute gem of advice that she had given me earlier this year that had transformed my life. And of course she added that the emotion of “shoulds” are held in the large intestine. Bloody hell. Isn’t that totally awesome?

It made me think that if I can just get my emotions in a completely blissful state, could I eradicate so many health issues? I’ve read about emotions and their connection to diseases… hence the breakdown of “dis-ease” – being in a state on unease emotionally. Could be amazing!

Water Works

I went through with my surgery yesterday, and I am feeling a lot better than expected. I can actually walk! Well, it’s more like a really slow shuffle waddle. But at least I’m not lying horizontally in agony! Still quite sore, but nothing that the weekend lying in bed and painkillers won’t fix!

After my last post (pre-surgery), I went to a yoga class which really helped calm me down. All that deep breathing and physical exercise helped remind me that my body is strong and my mind can be even stronger. It’s amazing how as you get older you freak out more about health and surgeries… I would’ve never have even thought twice about going in for surgery 5 years ago! The heaps of crying I did in the morning and the yoga class helped put things into perspective for me, and also put me in a bit of a zombie state (really should be a “zen” state) that I felt kind of this numbness and at ease about going into surgery. All that anxiety washed away!

What also helped was that within half an hour of me checking into the hospital, I was already being wheeled into surgery! Usually it’s another 2 hour wait from the time you sign in! Which just leaves you with too much time on your hands thinking about how hungry/thirsty you are, how much pain you are in etc. [Read more…]

Kinesiology – your body knows best…

Last week I went to my first kinesiology session with my sister-in-law’s sister (find Erin through Facebook’s ‘Achieving Balance’). It’s taken me a week to process the whole experience and to also do some further research about it as a healing practice.

Kinesiology is a healing technique that tests your muscles that represent different parts of your body to essentially listen to what the body itself says it needs healing with. I was asked what my goal was for the session and I said that I was generally feeling confused about my health, that I felt like I had lost touch with my own instinct as to knowing what was right for me. So we put this sentiment into words so that my goal was written something like “to feel confident and stable about the decisions made regarding my health, especially on my own terms”. This profoundly resonated within me because I currently have so many doctors now that my dependence on their advice has become crucial, even though sometimes it conflicts with what I believe, or what other doctors that I trust have said. Sometimes having too much information can be a shit fight! And to no surprise, this issue with my doctors also came up this week!
Anyway, back to my first official kinesiology session – I was asked how my body’s response mechanisms work by holding up my arm and relaxing at the joints. She asks my body to show my “yes” and “no” responses by asking me to push against her finger – and seriously, there are times where I can not hold myself up against the touch of her finger! And it’s not like she is battling me with it, she is gently touching me, but my body is responding to her questions about my feelings, about my treatments and about my life experiences by either positively or negatively working against her touch. I did ask her whether my body could trick myself into responding a certain way, for example, I want my response to be something, thus, will my body adjust to match that response? But no, it didn’t work that way.

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Injecting a little emotion into my day…

Just gave myself my Humira injection for the fortnight. It’s a really strange sensation injecting yourself… for some reason I feel like I should have someone with me when I do it. It’s not that I am not sure how to do it and need to be “spotted”, it’s just that for me, there is sort of this lonely feeling of doing it, like I am medicating myself all on my own.

Super strange, considering I take my own meds without anyone needing to be around me (in fact, I prefer to do it privately anyway!), but stabbing a needle into your belly just seems a little more invasive, thus a little more “real” that there are things not quite right with your body. I mean, we can take tablets for anything and everything really – you got a bad headache, take a Panadol… take vitamins if you have a cold – so taking medication isn’t too far of a stretch from the norm. But when I’m puncturing myself to administer medication into my blood stream, it is a little full on. [Read more…]

A Toke(n) of my Appreciation

treatmentsopularFound this (not very clear) infographic from the 23andme website (http://blog.23andme.com/23andme-research/what-patients-say-works-for-crohns-disease/) which was conducted by Cure Together which looks at treatments that Crohn’s patients have found have worked for them. They did a study over 4 years talking to several hundred Crohn’s patients and asked them from their own personal experiences which treatments worked for them. Looking at a variety of therapies from east to west, and from popularity and effectiveness, it was interesting to look at the top listed findings.

Number one was LDN (Low dose Naltrexone) which surprised me because when I had my recent relapse, I asked several gastro doctors about it and they weren’t too supportive of it – said there was no conclusive evidence that it worked. Hmmmm….Included in the list of the top 10 most effective treatments were surgery, steroids, Remicade and Humira (no surprise here) and even gluten-free and Paleo diets. [Read more…]