Thank You, Jesus, for my Crohn’s Disease – Part 7

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If you haven’t read my latest flair-up journey, you should start here to get the full picture.

Sometime during my flair-up, I told Brett, “Well, I better start praising Jesus for this Crohn’s attack because there has to be something he wants to teach me!” Here are a few things that He did show me through this experience, and I hope it blesses you too.


  1. I can be a better dietitian by experiencing different diets and digestive issues.

Let me be honest.  As a dietitian, I’m not a fan of fad diets, the newest diet book, whatever is being shared most on Facebook, etc.  If you want to know why, you can watch my video on why fad diets don’t work.  Therefore, I actually was against trying Whole30 at first.  No way, I’m not going to try something because everyone is doing it. And if you know me at all, I usually do the opposite of what everyone is doing. However, after listening to my sister-in-law, Ashley, tell me about the success she had with acid reflux, I knew it couldn’t hurt to give it a try.

Why was I still resistant though? Jesus showed me that I had a pride issue.  Deep down, I struggle with people asking my opinion on a nutrition topic, yet, then say, “Well, I read…”  My pride says, “Then why did you ask my opinion? I guess that article on Facebook written by who knows who is more important than my Purdue University degree, plus continuing education on the most updated food and nutrition research?”  Ok, that sounds harsh, and that’s my pride talking, but I probably can get an AMEN from many of my dietitian colleagues. I mean…our competition is…Facebook?  Yeah, kinda a low blow. However, I do NOT know everything, and I’m not afraid to tell people that. But I also needed a reminder that just because I’m not familiar with something doesn’t mean it couldn’t work for people.

I had to let go of my pride, and once I did, I actually got excited for this experience and the possibility of my health improving through changing my diet. (Note: For those wondering what my diet was like before Whole 30, I was not perfect, but I aimed daily to live by the guidelines from MyPlate.)   Before starting, I came to the conclusion that whether Whole 30 worked or didn’t work, I knew that I would gain valuable insight.  If a client asks me my opinion on Whole 30 now, I can give them an honest review of my experience. If they choose to try it, I can understand their struggles, successes, and even give them recipe tips!

Further, not only can I relate to others but I can sympathize with other people with bowel disease, disorders, allergies, etc.  I’ve been on the patient end too many times, and knowing that my medical provider can actually understand what I’m going through?  That’s a win-win for provider-patient. I can provide not only my dietitian expertise but my personal experience with others who are struggling too.

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:10

I have realized that God gave me this “gift” of a bowel disease to serve others. My role is to be a faithful steward of showing people God’s grace in this various form of….well….poop.


2. What works for you, may not work for me. And what works for me, may not work for you.

Another reason why fad diets don’t work for everyone. Every body is different. There is no cookie cutter approach.  Whole 30 worked for my sister-in-law and a host of other people; it did not work for me.  And guess what? I’m OK with that!!  If you have truly put your effort into something to improve your health that you felt worked for “everyone else” and it didn’t work, don’t get discouraged.  Because honestly, it didn’t work for EVERYone else. Your body is unique and will respond differently depending on what’s going on.  Accept that and don’t give up trying something else or in my case, get medical help. Which leads me to….


3. There is a place for natural remedies AND medicine.

In the mommy world, I feel like this is a really hot topic.  There is a lot of guilt and finger pointing for not eating all organic, giving children vaccines, using essential oils vs. over-the-counter meds, and now that it’s summer, the TOXIC sunscreen issue. I skip over all the articles on these topics. I know my convictions and I’m not going to let someone’s convictions make me feel guilty.  I encourage you to do the same. If you feel so strongly about no medicine and using only natural remedies, good for you!  I commend you! I agree that we should use God’s resources that our at our disposable. I tried to go the natural route, and I really did not want to seek medical attention since the solution is always drugs. However, as you read in the previous post, I was getting so sick.  And since my body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit living inside me, I am responsible for taking care of it the best that I know how.

I have been on medication for about 3 weeks now, and I have seen great improvement with my symptoms.  I don’t have the urge to go as often, and when the urge comes, I don’t have to literally run. I can actually tell my children, “Mommy will be back. I have to go potty.” Rather than leaving them in the dust.  As far as my diet?  I’m eating similar to how I was before I tried Whole 30, except I do eat less grains and I don’t eat much dairy.   I may introduce dairy later to see if there is an effect, but for now, I am doing very well and want to keep up what I’m doing.


4. “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

Honestly, I love blogging because the Lord teaches me as I write out my story, thoughts, and emotions. As I wrote the details of this journey in my previous post, I kept asking myself why I was in such denial of my condition?  Why did I keep saying, “NO!”, every time Brett told me to call my doctor? Now, I realize it was fear. I feared that I was out of remission, that I would have to be on drugs the rest of my life, that I will eventually be part of the 75% of bowel disease patients who will have surgery to remove diseased sections and yes, maybe the entire colon. Then, when my doctor took out 2 large polyps, I couldn’t help but fear the ugly c-word…cancer.  Praise Jesus they were benign, but now what?

Do I live in constant fear of the future? No, I choose not to because fear is not from God. I feared that God never really did heal me. But who am I to know the ways of God? I will trust that His ways are higher than my ways. And as I sit here writing this, I had 2 people message me regarding my previous post and share with me their struggles with ulcerative colitis. It is encouraging that I am not alone. If I can walk along someone else with this struggle, and even point them to the One who heals not only the body but more importantly our sick souls?  Then it will be worth every pill I take. Every bathroom run. Every procedure, and yes, even possibly surgery.  Will it be hard? Of course. I don’t know the future, but I know that Jesus is holding my hand and whispering, “watch what I can do again when you are weak, and I am strong.”

 

Thank You, Jesus, for My Crohn’s Disease – Part 6

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Yes, you read that right: Part 6. Soooo if you haven’t read Part 1-5, you can start here.  Makes for some good reading on the John. 😛

If you have followed along with my Crohn’s journey, well, I guess God has more to teach me.

I have been fighting a Crohn’s flair-up since October. Wow – I just realized it’s been 7 months. At first I thought it was a minor flair-up, one that occurs most often in the Fall time. But it kept progressing. By Christmas I was experiencing a full out flair-up, one that I had not had in over 6 years.   I was in denial. Well, I wasn’t in denial of what was happening. When you are racing to the bathroom 8-10 times each day?  You know something isn’t right.  I was in denial that I was out of remission.  I kept putting off calling my doctor.  “One more week,” I said.  “Maybe it will go away on its own.”

At the start of the year, I decided it was time to get it checked out.  I called my doctor and she scheduled a CT scan of my bowels.  The results: constipated.  Rx: Eat more fiber.  I seriously got off the phone dumbfounded.  Constipated? I’ve got the “runs” (literally).  Fiber?  Do you know who you are talking to? I’m a dietitian. Fiber is my friend. I eat more fiber than most Americans.   I didn’t actually speak my mind to the physician assistant on the phone.  However, since I am a non-confrontational person, I kindly said, “OH ok!” and hung up.  I didn’t ask questions, because, well I was still in denial, and I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I started the natural route.  Some of you are cheering and others are rolling your eyes. I’m in the middle. Let me explain my process. First, I use essential oils. I am actually a Young Living distributor. I am a believer and have seen the benefit in my family’s life.  Therefore, I looked up all the oils that could help with Crohn’s disease, digestion, inflammation… and tried several.  I did experience some digestive pain relief, but it still was not helping.  I was getting worse.

I’ve read articles and heard personal stories of people with autoimmune diseases who have had tremendous benefit when reducing dairy and gluten. I thought, “what could it hurt. I might as well give it a try at this point.”  After reducing all dairy and gluten for one week, Brett’s family was together for a retirement party for his mom, when my sister-in-law, Ashley, told me how she and her husband, Daron, tried the Whole30 program. Ashley has been suffering severely from acid reflux.  She has tried medication and even went to see a holistic doctor, and she still was having severe pain.  However, once she tried Whole30, she had seen great improvement, and has realized now that high amounts of sugar increases her reflux symptoms.

That same weekend we celebrated birthdays at The Cheesecake Factory with my family. I decided on Monday, February 15th I would give Whole30 a try.  The night before was Valentine’s Day, and I babysat for a dear friend so she and her husband could go out for dinner. The kids were in bed and I read through most of It Starts With Food, by the same authors of Whole30.  (I was also stuffing my face with leftover cheesecake and Valentine’s cookies since I knew I would not be eating those for at least 30 days!)  Now, I’m not going into all of it, but I do not agree with everything the authors say.  But at this point, I had nothing to lose.

To sum up my Whole30 experience: it didn’t work. Ok, I did have improvement by day 30, but I was still not back to normal and having symptoms, plus the diet was not realistic for me. The regular Whole30 plan is fine for most people, but I was following the very strict autoimmune disease plan PLUS low- FODMAP diet, PLUS no nightshades. My list of foods that I could consume were about 20 (categorizing all meat into 1 food).  Over the process of about 3 months, I did the best I could and even tried to reintroduce foods back into my diet. I even have been making my own water kefir, which is a potent natural probiotic.   By May, I was desperate.

Pooping became my life. I hope it doesn’t make you uncomfortable reading this, but I am no longer awkward about my bowel disease.  It’s not easy when you are giving your daughter your attention and have to literally run away leaving her hanging (and, well, not making it to the toilet in time on several occasions).  Or when your son brings his toys in the bathroom to play while you sit once again. If my kids couldn’t find me, they knew where to look.  It’s hard when you have to plan your day so you aren’t out grocery shopping fearful that you have to leave a cart of food in the middle of the aisle. Or driving in the car, and well….there’s nothing you can do because getting out is not an option.

I lost almost 10 pounds from February to June. And if you know me, I didn’t need to lose 10 pounds. I’ve been sick. I most likely am malnourished. I had lost blood. I was done trying it my way and was clearly not in denial anymore.  I called my doctor and we immediately scheduled a colonoscopy. The middle of June I had my colonoscopy, and sure enough, I have inflammation in my rectum, 2 large polyps, and a patch of small polyps.  I was instantly relieved to finally have answers.  Then last week, I received the results that my biopsies were benign, and I officially have “ulcerative proctitis.” – inflammation of the rectum.

Note: Ulcerative colitis affects anywhere in the colon, while ulcerative proctitis only affects the rectum. Crohn’s disease can affect anywhere in the GI tract. Soooo technically, do I still even have Crohn’s? Who knows – the colonoscopy is only for the colon and cannot see the rest of the small intestines which is where I had inflammation in the past. I guess for now, I’ll stick with ulcerative proctitis. But I’m keeping my cool title for the blog post! 😛

I am currently taking 3 medications (Canasa Uceris, and Lialda) and I follow up with my doctor in about 6 weeks.

How am I praising Jesus through this?  You’ll have to wait and see for next time. Because this post is already too long, and you can get off the John now… 🙂