National IBD Awareness Week

What does the purple ribbon stand for?  That’s a pretty common question, right?  Everyone knows that the pink ribbon is a symbol of breast cancer awareness and prevention, so what about the purple ribbon?

Purple_Ribbon2

The purple ribbon stands for lots of things!  Some of which are Alzheimer’s disease, domestic violence, anti-gay bullying, and cystic fibrosis.  However, this week from December 1st until today it has stood for IBD awareness.

IBD stands for Irritable Bowel Disease!  Irritable Bowel Disease is somewhat of a blanket term Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.  If you’ve been following my blog, you know I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease five years ago(if you didn’t know that, then HI!  Welcome to my blog!)

Today, I’d like to tell you that I’m a little upset.  I’m upset with myself!  I was focusing on work and lifting last week and I forgot all about it being Crohn’s Awareness week.  At least I can forgive myself since I am posting about it today and giving IBD a little bit of the recognition it deserves!  We need to recognize that these diseases exist and work together to rid the world of them.  I’m about to tell you why this should matter to you even if you don’t know anyone who has IBD(besides me LOL).

Crohn’s Disease is a debilitating illness.

When I was 15, I started having some stomach problems.  At a time when I should have been happy and healthy and careless like everyone else, I was going to the bathroom 10 or 11 times a day.  There was blood in my stools and I was malnourished.  I didn’t want to eat but I forced myself!  I knew that if I didn’t eat but kept going on like that, that I would die.  I was losing weight insanely fast.  I was turning into a skinny-fat, malnourished mess.

..I was turning into a skinny-fat, malnourished mess.

me when i was sick

This was 8 days after I turned 16.  ..The calm before the storm.

I remember being six foot tall(1.82 meters), and older than most of my friends but being insanely weaker.  If they wanted to bench press or play sports, I wouldn’t have the energy or the strength.  I went to the doctor for all of this and after an initial lower GI they concluded that I was suffering from hemorrhoids. 

They gave me suppositories and sent me on my way.  I wanted so badly to believe them that I went my whole freshman year without getting any better.  I just sucked it up and dealt with it.  I’d go to the bathroom a lot but I think most of my teachers understood that I wasn’t healthy.

Finally, just eight days after I turned 16 I had gotten my license and it was a big day for me…but getting my license was the only reason I wasn’t in the hospital.  I didn’t want to wait, and I had gone my whole freshman year without treatment, so what was eight days?

Long story short, I waited way too long to get real treatment and I could have died.  As you see me in the photo above, I was very skinny-fat and it was hard to smile with all the pain I had in my abdomen and back.  Somehow, when you have a bad crohn’s flareup you can also have other digestive problems such as pancreatitis and gastritis.  On July 21st, when I was admitted to hospital, it turned out I was suffering from all three.

But this story doesn’t end negatively!  I was treated and given corticosteroids when I was in the hospital that healed my colon and digestive tract.  I started feeling better and over the years they experimented with different drugs.  However, also over the years I have discovered that drugs are bullshit.

I am still on one autoimmune suppressor and it’s called Remicade.  I get Remicade treatments once every two months and honestly, I don’t want them anymore.  I know that this sounds bad, but I have spent months at a time without my Remicade or other drugs and remained healthy.

Is this partly due to the residual effects of the drugs?

Sure it is!

But I firmly believe it is more because of how I handle stress, my environment, and my daily habits.  I used to be inactive, I had a lot of family problems that a 15 year old shouldn’t have to worry about, and I ate awful food.  Over the years I’ve learned a lot and I find that I may someday be a testament to the possibility that all of these illnesses popping up have more to do with processed food and less to do with bad luck.

If we continue to talk about these illnesses and even cancers, then maybe we can have the right people do real research on the significance of our diets.  I hope we can all further the discussion and possibly donate to Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America to further awareness and possibly help a young kid going through what I went through!

Remember that if the diet we eat is causing a rise in these types of IBD and cancers, that research and discussion could save lives and ultimately help us all live healthy lives.

To donate to CCFA, click here.

Edit:

I think I also need to leave a disclaimer!  I doubt anyone would read my post and think I’m saying they need to quit taking medicine, but just in case, don’t quit taking your medicine!  At least not without your doctor’s consent.  Try to do everything by the book.  If you do everything right and try your best, then you’re blameless among your physicians.  Keep that attitude and build a relationship with your doctors so that they can better help you.

 

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8 thoughts on “National IBD Awareness Week

  1. I know that purple ribbon for soooooooo many reasons. It also stands for Fibromyalgia which I have and in total have 4 reasons to wear it for myself alone. My uncle had Crohn’s. His got very serious when I was younger and they did what was then, a radical procedure. With nearly everything below his stomach removed, they ran an external stint into his heart. He could still eat but wouldn’t be able to get many nutrients from food so several times a week he was hooked up to an IV bag connected to a portable pump that pumped most of his nutrition into his chest. The Doctors were clear. This was a last resort and he would have 5 years at best. Never let anyone stamp an expiration date on you! He showed me that. 5 years was nothing and he added 20+ to those! For a man who was told he wouldn’t see his grandson turn 10 get to see him into his very late 20’s along with me, his niece, well… I think someone should get the Dr a better calendar. Hang in there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. quasiauthor says:

    Oh my goodness, I swear hemorrhoids is the doctor’s “go to” diagnosis of any GI issue. Around 14/15, I began having GI issues too. One week I wouldn’t go to the bathroom, the next I would have stomach flu like symptoms. My home and school life was extremely stressful and my diet was junk/fast foods. When I went to college, the stress and diet was worse, which made my GI issues worse. Doctors continued to say it was hemorrhoids, because of occasional bloody stools. (But I didn’t have any of the other symptoms.) I continued with these issues until last year (I’m 29), finally through diet, exercise, and stress management; I have fewer flare ups. (I had a nurse practitioner to suggest that I might have IBS, so I began researching how to manage it.) I still have monthly flare ups that seem to coincide with hormonal changes. Yay for being female. Haha! But that is nothing compared to what I was going through. It does suck having to be the person at a party or dinner to be “picky” about eating. I’m sure some just think I’ve taken fitness too far or want attention. I just don’t want to be hanging out in the bathroom all night.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing your story. Seems like we have a lot in common. It was really hard for me to fix my diet. I could do well for months and then go months eating garbage. The medicine makes that situation worse, as it allows me to get away with it until I have a sudden flare.

      Liked by 1 person

      • quasiauthor says:

        You must be my brother from another mother…haha! Changing my diet has been the hardest for me, esp around the holidays. And I cannot give up coffee, even though it does cause some of my issues. I noticed replacing butter and oils with Ghee really calmed my GI. Have you tried Ghee? I buy it online from OMGhee.

        Like

  3. Deb says:

    A co-worker of mine has a daughter who has suffered from Crohn’s Disease for years, I know she has it under control now I will ask her what she is doing or taking..it really is a terrible thing to suffer from. I wish you health! And thanks for enlightening us with the Purple Ribbon.

    Liked by 1 person

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