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?

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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.

 

Eat Healthy Now, Don’t Pay For Being Unhealthy

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Here is a fact:  With a rare few exceptions, once you get so unhealthy you have a disease you will have to eat healthier.

Some people are born with diseases and sickness, and these people probably have to eat healthy and take medication too.

Personally, I have Crohn’s Disease. I was sick in the hospital about a year ago when I started thinking, “I wonder what life would be like if I got a colostomy bag and decided to undergo surgery.” For some, this is their only option. For me, it was one of my options and the easy way out.

At that point in time, I was filled with dread and felt hopeless but it is that thought that made me climb out of despair and take control of my life. I began researching colostomy bags and learned something interesting. If you have a colostomy bag, not only is your life very different and probably embarrassing, but you have to eat healthier! If you don’t eat healthy, your bag can get clogged up in the tubes and cause inflammation and infection.

I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to go through all that embarrassment and daily cleaning of some dumb bag I am going to go ahead and eliminate my bad habits before it gets to that point. I decided that in the hospital, and I climbed out of this despair I had as I realized that getting healthy now is my only option.

It was my best option. I have started this endeavor for myself and I am proud to say I went from a severe case of Crohn’s with all kinds of medication to only one medication.

Now, I have something to say to you. If you are at risk of becoming diabetic or if you have unhealthy habits, change them now. Do it NOW. Don’t wait and pay for your unhealthy decisions later, like a lot of people may do. Take control of your life and be transformed as your physical, mental, and emotional health all see tremendous improvements.

Thanks for reading. I hope that you apply the principle of “changing now” to your life. I hope you see improvements. I hope you at least give it all you’ve got and that you don’t give up.

How I Got My Crohn’s Disease In Remission

I’ve had crohn’s disease since I was 15, and it’s been a journey that I could describe as a roller coaster.  I’ve had my ups and downs.  For a few months I’d be in remission and then for a month I’d be really sick.  Things went this way from the time I was diagnosed shortly after my 16th birthday until I was about 18.

When I turned 18, my doctor decided to try a drug called infliximab, or Remicade, and it seems to be a wonder drug.  I’d go in to the outpatient nursing clinic at the hospital and get this drug through an IV ever eight weeks.  I still get it every eight weeks.

However, last year I started flaring up a lot even though I was on the Remicade and another drug called Imuran.  I finally decided that the cause for my illness was diet and stress, as I had read a lot on the disease and my body would get too sick for the medicine to do any good.

Finally, I began experimenting with diet and exercise.  To my surprise, exercise alone seems to be enough to keep me in remission as long as I am getting my Remicade every eight weeks.  That’s without even taking the Imuran, so no need to take pills every day.  Right now, just having to go to the hospital every eight weeks for a few hours, I’m a lot happier than when I started with my consistent flare-ups.  I know from previous experience that if I also focused on my diet I’d personally have no need for the Remicade either, since my case of this disease seems to be so dependent on diet, exercise and stress.

I’m not saying that this will work for anyone with Crohn’s disease, but I am saying that it works for me.  I hope that no matter if you are healthy or have a type of illness that you do the research and try to get your body on track through exercise and diet. Try to do this under the guidance of your physician or specialist, and make sure you get to know your body.  This has helped for me, and now I am in a much better place as far as my health goes than ever before.

Thanks for reading!

Paleo Diet! A Helpful Tool Against Crohn’s Disease

The Paleo Diet has become insanely popular since 2012! I believe that’s for good reason too. It basically should be. This diet is basically just eating clean. To be specific it’s how you eat if you’re trying to eat like our paleolithic ancestors did.

Does that include beer? Obviously not. Soda? Still, definitely not. How about bread? Not this either. Dairy? No.
As I said before, it’s to eat like our Paleolithic ancestors did. They were around before the agricultural revolution so nothing that had been farmed was really an option.

“SO HOW DID THEY LIVE!?!!?” is what you might be thinking. Well, they actually had access to berries, vegetables, and all the meat they could sport. After all, they were hunters and gatherers.

“So why should I eat like them?” The theory behind the paleo diet is that the agricultural revolution was only so many thousand years ago, therefor our bodies aren’t evolved to handle grain or dairy, and meat and vegetables should be our best friends.

I’m not saying that this is true or untrue, but I gave you the info on the paleo diet and now I can give you a personal testimony:

I’ve been sick with Crohn’s for 6 years now. It is an off and on sort of thing because I go through periods of remission. Crohn’s Disease is a disease of the autoimmune system where the body begins to think that digestive organ tissue is actually a foreign bacteria and begins to attack it, causing inflammation and ulcers along with very gruesome side affects.

Anyways, I had been sick with this disease for 5 years at the time and last winter I decided to try diet. My doctor always told me diet wouldn’t cure Crohn’s, as there is no cure. However, I gave it a shot and attempted the paleo diet.

This diet literally took me from a flare-up into remission and with an exercise program allowed me to have full control of my life for once. I was healthier than before and had no problems. Coupled with my exercise program I had no problems once I started the paleo diet.

I suppose when your body is used to junk like McDonalds and Burger King, and then you start feeding yourself lean meat and vegetables…it will have a difference on anyone. This should just be announced as fact.

So there’s the scoop on the paleo diet along with my own story. I’ll make more posts on this in the future. Subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter to get free updates of when I make new posts!