*Warning: If you’re a friend/family member and you’re reading this blog, be warned that it gets pretty personal! And although you’ll learn things about me you probably never wanted to know, I think it’s super important to emphasise that inflammatory bowel disease – with all its embarrassing symptoms – is something that really needs to be talked about more. It’s a serious, chronic disease that we need to be able to talk about freely and without embarrassment if we’re to get proper treatment and heal ourselves.
I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis last year, at 29, after a few years of flares that I at first tried to ignore. Bleeding out of orifices that you aren’t supposed to bleed out of is not only terrifying, but also embarrassing. How do you explain it? And what sort of tests will they have to do?
Eventually, I sought medical treatment, and my first ‘official’ flare was put down to lactose intolerance, which was discovered upon testing. For about a year I lived quite happily and without flare, having cut 90% of dairy from my diet. This wasn’t too difficult, as I get more than enough cheese from my girlfriend 😉 I missed milk in my cereal though – and I missed chocolate.
In 2013, after a flare that continued for 2 months, I reluctantly sought help again. I knew this was more that a ‘naughty dairy slip up’ – I mean come on, chocolate doesn’t make you excrete blood for 2 months!
Finally, after more tests, Ulcerative Colitis was diagnosed, and I was immediately put onto a short course of cortisone, followed by an indefinite course of Asacol.
My physician was happy with me. He said my case was totally treatable with drugs, and that ‘as a young person’, I shouldn’t have to cut out all the delicious foods that make life so drooliciously awesome. In fact, he believed that diet had nothing whatsoever to do with my flares, and would have no impact on the course of my UC.
I didn’t share this opinion.
I’ve lived in my body long enough to know that when I fill it with certain things, it bloats up like a blow-fish, or it sends me straight to the loo. Upon doing many hours of research after my diagnosis, I became convinced that inflammatory bowel diseases can successfully be managed through diet and stress management, and that’s what I’m attempting to do.
At present, I’m still on Asacol (it’s only been 2 months) but I intend to get myself right through diet, exercise and stress management. For years, I put anything I liked into my belly – and I liked a lot of things. Sure, I never ate many takeaways and I tried to be healthy, but I’d never say no to that third slice of cake or my fourth chocolate of the day…
One of the best and most reliable resources I’ve found is SCDLifestyle.com, and their accompanying Facebook page. Jordan Reasoner and Steve Wright founded SCD Lifestyle after each suffering the awful effects of IBD. By following the tenets laid out in Elaine Gottschall’s Breaking the Vicious Cycle, and carefully tailoring her diet guidelines to their own bodies’ needs, they were able to overcome their illnesses and are now living symptom free – and helping thousands of others to do it.
After reading page upon page of testimonials, I can’t deny that there must be something in this Specific Carbohydrate Diet approach to healing and restoring the gut.
While the worst of my symptoms have abated, thanks to the Asacol, I still have severe discomfort every day (at the start of my 90 days). Plus, the idea of living on chronic medication just doesn’t sit well with me.
So what have I got to lose? I’m committing to SCD for 90 days, as Jordan and Steve recommend in their book, Surviving to Thriving. If it’s helped so many others, maybe it can help me too.
PS: Just so you know, I have zero medical knowledge. I’m a copywriter, not a doctor, and everything I write on this site is my own personal opinion, and derived from my own experiences, which I wish to document and share. If you’re experiencing awful symptoms, see a doctor. Don’t ignore them! Testing and treatment is way less scary than what you’re going through now, I promise 🙂 You need the meds to get you under control, and you need this diet to help fix you indefinitely.
So let’s give this 90-day thing a shot… What is there to lose?