Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Who, What, Where, When, Why, How of This Thing

Greetings! My name is Dawn. I am a 30-something stay at home mom to a three year old son and soon to arrive baby boy. I have lots of interests but mostly spend my time playing with my son, running (or walking now that the belly is so big!), and crafting (mostly crochet, though I am trying my hand at more sewing). I have the good fortune of being married to the greatest husband in the world. I am a sucker for pug dogs and currently have two I acquired through Ohio Pug Rescue. I also happen to have Ulcerative Colitis.

I was originally diagnosed with UC in February of 2008, though I believe I had it for some time prior to that. Somewhere in 2005 I went and had a colonoscopy to investigate some bleeding and was advised I had internal hemorrhoids. There didn't seem to be much that could be done about them, so I pretty much ignored the bleeding when it would pop up and went on about my business. My son was born in April, 2007. When he was about three months old, I started having what would turn out to be my first UC flare. I was running to the bathroom repeatedly, the bleeding got worse, and I kept getting more and more sick. I was trying so hard to take care of my new baby that I didn't want to admit anything was wrong with me. I finally became so ill that I was forced to seek medical help. The GI who did my original c-scope was no longer in practice and nowhere to be found. I located a new doctor, got a new scope, and was informed I had no signs of internal hemorrhoids. What I did have was Ulcerative Colitis.

I had read about UC and Crohn's while I was waiting for my testing and wondering what on earth could be wrong with me, so when the doctor told me my diagnosis, I just started to cry. She handed me a scrip for Asacol and that was the end of it. Over the next year I would make visits to her office every 6 weeks, never seeing her but always a Nurse Practitioner. Asacol was replaced with Lialda, Rowasa enemas were added to the mix, but I wasn't getting any better. Every time I mentioned this it was suggested that I increase the Rowasa enemas to twice a day. I was taking care of a young child, going through a divorce, and working 50 hours a week---this was not an option. I finally made the decision to locate a new doctor. During this time, I made my first attempt at the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. It helped me a lot, but I found it difficult to follow and soon fell off the wagon.

My new GI was a completely different experience from what I had been dealing with up to that point. He came in, sat down, and talked to me for close to half an hour. We decided on a new colonoscopy to see how things were going. The results showed my condition was worse now and we made the decision to start my first course of Prednisone. I have such a love/hate relationship with Prednisone. It works amazingly well. I can go from a full on flare to feeling perfect within a week of starting a course. Unfortunately, I also feel like a raging lunatic at the same time. There's also the fatigue from lack of sleep, the puffy face, the bottomless pit of an appetite, and all the god awful things the drug does to your body while you're taking it.

I ended up on and off Prednisone in the following year to the point where my GI told me he wouldn't be comfortable prescribing it to me anymore. It wasn't getting the job done. He felt like if I kept flaring then I needed to be on the next level of medication. We discussed Imuran and I had my antibodies tested. We also talked about Remicade. I read up all I could on both drugs and cried and cried because I knew my new husband and I desperately wanted a baby. I was scared to death of what these drugs might mean to our hopes to expand our family. Somehow I managed to stay in a near-remission state for the six months it took us to get pregnant and long enough to have a healthy first and second trimester. I am now 28 weeks pregnant with our son and at the beginning of a new flare. I am having minor symptoms and labs confirmed my CRP is elevated. The plan is to start a course of Prednisone in the coming week. My OB is confident it won't have any negative effects on the pregnancy, and the risks from the flare more than outweigh any danger from the medicine.

I've decided to take another run at SCD at this time as well. I keep reading good things about people who have managed to follow it. I'm at a better place to dedicate the effort to it since I'm now a stay at home mom. I'm also living a much healthier lifestyle overall than I was the first time around. I decided I wanted to record my adventure for my own reflection and whoever else would like to follow along. I would like to point out that I am NOT any kind of expert on SCD or the "right" or "wrong" way to follow the diet. I'll be sharing things I eat, but I really suggest you do your own research into legals vs illegals so you can make the best choices for you.

Tomorrow is Day One. I have yogurt going in the yogurt maker, lots of fresh fruit and veggies, and we just grilled a bunch of chicken breast and ground beef to get us started for the week. Wish me luck! :-)

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