Sigh of relief . . .

I know  . . . it’s been a minute, but for the first time in over two years I can say my tummy has not been the cause of my woes, which is amazing right!! I am in full remission, GI is amazed and I’m in denial.  For the first time in years I am on no meds, only thing I’m taking are vitamins, I guess Humira was my saving grace, it worked for me. When my enthused GI was in amazement in how everything looks good including my blood work, I was completely zoned out.   It was like I was Charlie Brown, I didn’t understand a word coming out of his mouth. It was just odd . . . I had been through so much physically and mentally over the past two years, I was in disbelief?  I just smiled thinking I’ll believe it when I see it. Two months later I am still symptom free and gaining weight which is bittersweet 😉

My health has improved but my lifestyle remains the same, so my body is no longer “stressing” in my tummy but recently my jaw. I had a major flare a couple of weeks ago where the left side of my face was swollen and the pain from my jaw moved down to my neck and eventually my back. I debated going to the ER and glad I didn’t because I felt  much better in the morning. Due to this scare, I was prescribed muscle relaxers and strong pain killers to keep handy for another possible flare. Since I have had recent dental work and new crowns (yes plural, hence why I’m broke) and have a history of TMJ symptoms it just seems like a typical day. I told my mother; “it’s how I know I’m alive is when I’m in pain some sort of way”. It’s sad to say but that’s how “I” stress my body, and at 30 years old I still haven’t figured out a way to reduce my stress and handle it differently, but I can only blame myself. I keep doing the same things, same jobs, why would I expect a different outcome?

I’m starting to see the effects of the meds that IBD has put on my body, my teeth are horrid, one of my crowns was to replace a broken filling. My hair is completely dry and I had a bald spot in the middle of my head, but noticed recently that the hair in that area is now starting to grow, thank goodness! I just realized that two years ago at this exact time, I was going to the bathroom 10-15 times a day, had severe stomach pains that no painkillers could relieve, and a week later I was admitted to the hospital . . . Thank god it has been two years and no hospital stay. I have to at least be happy and thankful for that!

I’m starting to make some major lifestyle changes in the next 6 months. First step is i’m moving, found a new place moving in 27 days to be exact! Working on developing a new skill set, took a coding class last week and haven’t been this excited in years in learning something new.

Taking one day at a time, but for the first time in while, I am excited for the future!

My struggle with fast food – &pizza

For lunch I decided to visit one of my old favorite spots, &pizza! If they delivered I would be in trouble 🙂  unfortunately, ordering my favorite pizza “The Maverick” meaty and cheese paradise will no longer do . . so I made my own pizza. The one thing I love about &pizza is their variety of healthy ingredients, and the option of glutton free dough!   Today I created the following pizza:

  • gluten-free dough
  • basil spinach pesto sauce
  • spinach
  • homemade mozzarella
  • mushrooms
  • roasted peppers
  • shredded chicken
  • Topped it off with oregano oil and black pepper.

I took a photo! 🙂

IMG_2088

Taste: It wasn’t bad, but I did miss the traditional tomato pizza sauce.

Colitis friendly: Recently discovered mushrooms are not colitis friendly, I don’t think I can let them go, got mushrooms anyway lol.  Mozzarella, eh . . it’s pizza, gotta have the cheese.  I did have to go to the bathroom maybe an hour or two after, but no diarrhea, cramps, or bloating. Just a regular #2 . . Iol  This will have to be a once in a while lunch . ,

I feel bad for you guys that don’t know &pizza, it’s a recent phenomenon  in the DC metro area. Check out their website http://andpizza.com/  and maybe one day they will be in a city near you.

Tick, tock, pop . . . .

It’s crazy how my daily life is controlled by my prescriptions. Since I have to take 8 pills, 5 before noon, sleeping-in on the weekends is out of the question.  When I wake up after 9am on a Saturday I’m mad, and that’s depressing 😦  During the week I have the following things with me at all times: my cellphone (who wears a watch these days), pill box, and a glass of water.  While working at my desk or attending a meeting, all I’m thinking is tick, tock, and pop a pill . . 

About a month ago there was no need for a pillbox and I barely took my daily multivitamin pills. To go from that to 6 pills a day, and recently increased to 8 pills a day, it is a serious lifestyle change. I commute to work and every morning I double, triple check my purse to make sure I don’t forget my pills.  And then I think, OMG, what would happen if I did forget my pills? How do I explain to my boss why I will be late?   Would it make me look bad? Can I “survive” a day without my meds? . . . It’s stressful. Adapting to this new lifestyle has been stressful.

Even though taking 8 pills a day is “ruff”, I am starting to feel better.  I can tell because my appetite is back and I’m sleeping better. I didn’t even realize until now that for the past few months I have been self medicating myself. I was taking antacids and anti-diarrhea meds almost everyday, and drank ginger ale daily to settle my stomach.  I was already living the tick, tock, pop lifestyle in order to get through the day. Took an antacid right after breakfast, then after several trips to restroom took Imodium, then a ginger ale during lunch. After lunch I was good as long as I didn’t snack or drank coffee.

I made an appointment to meet with one of my GI’s colleagues next week.  I believe I have the most popular GI in my city, its like making an appointment to meet the Pope lately.  It’s very frustrating. But I plan to ask if I’m properly taking the pills, and questions about diet and exercise. I have so many questions . . . I hope they have answers. And if they don’t have the answers to my questions, am I willing to accept that? . . .So many thoughts . . . 

More drugs, yay!!

Since my symptoms have not changed in the past month and I actually feel worst, I called my GI’s office.  I explained the symptoms I was still having  and he stated we will need to increase your prescription intake.  With the drug Apriso, instead of taking 4 pills a day, he now wants me to take four pills in  the morning  and two in the evening.  So now, drum roll . . . . . . 8 pills a day!! yay! Gotta get a refill, asap!  I’m starting to feel like treatment for UC is a guessing game?!?!  . . and oh so expensive!  This is just the beginning . .

Also, I have to see my GI  in a week for evaluation.  I have a feeling that possible blood work, and other medical testing will occur.  I’ll do what I gotta do to get healthy.  I’m just glad that my GI took the time to call me back . .

How I've been feeling lately :(
How I feel lately 😦

What is an IBD? What’s Colitis? What, when, how, huh? . . . . .

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is not as well known as Crohn’s disease, but both are Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD).

According to MayoClinc.org, Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is chronic inflammation of all or part of your digestive tract. IBD primarily includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Both usually involve severe diarrhea, pain, fatigue and weight loss. IBD can be debilitating and sometimes leads to life-threatening complications.

Every since I have been diagnosed, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) has been the most useful source of information for me about colitis. CCFA defines Ulcerative colitis as:

“Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease of the large intestine, also known as the colon, in which the lining of the colon becomes inflamed and develops tiny open sores, or ulcers, that produce pus and mucous. The combination of inflammation and ulceration can cause abdominal discomfort and frequent emptying of the colon.

Ulcerative colitis is the result of an abnormal response by your body’s immune system. Normally, the cells and proteins that make up the immune system protect you from infection. In people with IBD, however, the immune system mistakes food, bacteria, and other materials in the intestine for foreign or invading substances. When this happens, the body sends white blood cells into the lining of the intestines, where they produce chronic inflammation and ulcerations.” (CCFA.org)

So yeah . . . that’s what I have,  good ole Ulcerative Colitis (UC) . . 😦 Remaining hopeful.

uc pic 1

 

 

 

The beginning . . . .

2014 was one of the best years of my life. I backpacked across Europe with one of my good friends and even made new friends. I witnessed two my of my longtime friends getting married to the loves of their lives. And I was in the best shape of my life and completed a Mudderella!! Life was good, life is good.  It wasn’t until late August during a jog I noticed pain in my right hip, this injury forced me to stop running. Once I stopped running, I wasn’t as energetic, couldn’t sleep, became very stressed and anxious frequently. I thought it was all because I stopped exercising. Then my stomach started hurting, a lot . .

For some reason I believe having frequent stomach pain is normal, just a typical day in my life. After my gallbladder was removed at the age of 25, I knew I would still have to suffer for many years to come.  Pain became apart of my life. I didn’t think anything wrong with waking up in the middle of the night from stomach pain or having frequent diarrhea. I just popped some antacids and drank ginger ale, daily. Then one morning I woke up from pain, used the restroom and saw blood. At first I thought my period started early, but the blood wasn’t consistent. Then another day I saw more blood, darker blood.  I thought  . . . yeah I should go see a doctor. Made an appointment with a GI  and told him my symptoms.  His response was, we gotta go inside to figure out what’s going on.

My first colonoscopy.  At the prime age of 28 on December 30, 2014 I walked into the capital digestive medical center, and quickly noticed I was the youngest person by 30 years. I thought i was in the wrong office by the looks I received, but then the receptionist welcomed me by name before I said hello. Shortly after, I was taken back to change,  got my IV, and waited. . . I was bored and uncomfortable.  Hearing the unconscious 70 year old man passing gas to my left and when he awoke, I listened to the awkward conversation this elderly man had with the male nurse. The male nurse asked him for martial advice since he was recently divorced. WTF?!? lol I was over it, and hungry!   Finally!! I was taken to the operation room. I was glad to see a familiar face. My GI asked how I was and stated “Let’s hope you have IBS or just hemorrhoids, fingers crossed!”, and to count to ten. 1 . . 2 . . . 3 . . .

I slowly opened my eyes  hearing people talking over me, talking about what they found. I tried to listen carefully but could only comprehend the last thing that was said, “and we found evidence of colitis”, then I heard a gasp from an older woman saying, “aww poor thing”.  When I  was fully awake and sipping my ginger ale, my GI appeared with a worried look on his face and told me you have colitis, and we’re going put you on prescriptions for the next six months, we’re going to get you healthy.  . .

It’s been almost three weeks since the procedure. I’m taking two medications for my colitis in addition to another prescription, a total of 6 pills a day.  Not fun at all . . and the side effects has me feeling exhausted. The crazy thing is that I was relieved when I found out I have this disease because I knew I was sick, and there was no way that stress from my current job was the sole cause. It’s not like I’m saving lives . . but I knew something was wrong.

So now I am beginning this new life with an IBD, Ulcerative Colitis. Diagnosis is now unknown at the moment, but I do have IBD.  (Date: 3/21/15)