Well, it’s been a year since my diagnosis of Crohn’s disease. Overall, I’d say this first year went pretty well. I’ve learned a lot of how I can eat, my symptoms have gone down to practically nothing, and I feel pretty good! My next step will be to have a follow-up colonoscopy, hopefully before the end of the year. I must say that I’m looking forward to this. Well, I guess I’m looking forward to it as much as anyone can, with something like this! Hmmmm……maybe I should clarify….I’m not looking forward to the procedure or prep so much as getting an actual picture of what’s going on inside of me. Yes, my symptoms are way down, but with Crohn’s that really doesn’t mean anything. The disease can still be causing damage, even though you feel fine. SO….I’m looking forward to seeing how my one-year experiment in treating this disease naturally has actually played out, in my gut.
So how did I get here? Quick recap:
I started having just minor symptoms 6 months prior to the diagnosis. Gas and bloating, mainly, with an occassional pain thrown in for good measure. After multiple doctor visits, tests, and a colonoscopy, the diagnosis was in. My GI doc wanted to immediately put me on steroids and immunosuppressant to get the disease under control. He actually told me repeatedly that diet made no difference at all in this disease. Well, I had read just enough to make me dangerous, and said No to the drugs. I wanted some time to figure out what diet could do to help, before I made the jump to a life-time of drugs. Plus…many of the drugs can have the SAME symptoms of Crohn’s, such as diarrhea, abdominal cramping, etc. Since I didn’t have THOSE symptoms, I chose to wait. I gave myself a year to try this method out.
Many people thought I was crazy. Most people believe that the only way to treat Crohn’s is with those drugs. Anything else is just quackery.
Right after the diagnosis I did a radical change to my diet. I took everything out except homemade Chicken Soup (you can find my recipe here), goat’s milk yogurt, and Keifer milk. I was following Jordan Rubin’s advice from his book “Guts to Glory” for those first three weeks. I worked. My gut had a chance to rest, and I basically started with a clean slate in terms of my diet.
I then found and started The Specific Carbohydrate Diet. I started slow. I began by adding one new food about every 4 days. I wanted to give my gut plenty of time to tell me if it didn’t like something. I also started a food/symptom journal to record everything I eat and how I’m feeling. I still keep that religiously, and it helps me pinpoint if something doesn’t feel right inside. Now, I’m pretty comfortable in the foods that I know I can eat, and still am slow about adding new foods. I make my own yogurt and chicken soup, and always have that on hand. At least once a week that’s what I have for dinner. The other nights I’m eating what I know I can eat. And my symptoms….are almost non-existent.
The other component to my journey this year has been being treated by a Naturopath. This was a huge jump for me, as I always have looked on those doctors as quacks (my dad was a doctor, so anything without an MD or DO behind the name meant there was no validity behind what they said!). This doctor I went to is very highly regarded in my large metropolitan area I live in, and also has Crohn’s. I went to him and made the decision to trust what he says I should do, and see how diet and supplements work together in treating this disease. A few of my supplements do contain illegals (like an illegal starch or sugar component), but I purposely chose to do those. It might have slowed my healing down a bit, but overall I’ve done well with them. My hope would be that over the next year I’ll be able to replace those few illegal supplements with legal ones, and continue to let the diet do it’s work as well.
Overall, I’m pleased with how this past year has gone. I’ve learned again about the strength God has given me inside of myself to conquer anything that comes in my way. That I can trust him to lead me through whatever dark waters I might pass through. I’ve learned a TON about food, and am starting to incorporate more of that into my family’s diet. Do I wish this disease was not here? Well, yes, because I do wish at times I had the freedom to eat what I want, whenever I want, and not have to worry about food everywhere I turn. But I truly love how healthy I know I’m eating, and so wouldn’t change that. I’m so thankful that this disease is not accompanied by the severe symptoms that many Crohnies have, and am hopeful that the path I’ve chosen will continue to be good for me. I’m not as scared now about the drugs as I was, but if I’m one of the few that can do it without drugs, I’d rather go that route. We’ll see how the colonoscopy goes. Until then, I guess there’s not much more to say. 🙂