Well I made it through my first holiday season in a long time without any flare ups!!
A lot of you guys have asked about my symptoms of Crohn's disease and what the process was in figuring out what was happening to my body.
Before starting treatment I don't remember a time in the last 10 years where my stomach has digested normal. For years I had constant bloating and diarrhea. In high school I kept a food diary at my doctors request and he suggested I cut out diary, which I did for two years and that seemed to help for a while. But I remember visit after visit at the doctors, stool sampling, blood labs, urine testing. No I wasn't pregnant, no I didn't have parasites, no I'm not lactose intolerant, no it's not just a UTI, no it's not e. Coli, and no I'm most definitely not making it up.
Over the years I really worked up quite the confidence at the doctors office. I had to be persistent about my symptoms and research what it could potentially be and testing needed to be done. If you stop reading here, or get nothing else from this blog, my biggest piece of advice is to go into a doctors visit with a list of your symptoms, having already researched what it could be, and be confident when talking to him/her. You know your body better than anyone, don’t let a doctor diminish how you’re feeling. *Realize, we have no idea how many people doctors see regularly who are there for the smallest ailments.. so be patient, but be confident!
We went to Punta Cana with my job in July and it was all expenses paid so of course I wasn’t eating and drinking like normal. But I even remember the flight on the way there I told Tanner, when we get back I have to research what’s going on, something’s really not right.
So, this July when we got home, with cramping that had me healed over holding my breath, diarrhea 20+ times per day, severe bloating as you can see, extreme fatigue and overall just feeling like 💩 I ended up in the ER.
Even sitting in that ER bed from 2-430 am, I was being turned away AGAIN saying I'm fine and just have a UTI..The actual doctor was only in my room for 30 seconds.. that gave me enough time to look him in the eye’s and say sir, I know my body really well and this is not a UTI.. Can I have a referral to a Gastro.... (please).
He definitely rolled his eyes and just wrote down their number on the discharge papers..
Less than a week later I got a colonoscopy, which really isn't that bad. The preparation detoxing was the worst part and I’ll probably never drink blue Gatorade again.. but the actual exam I was unconscious for and it was pain free.
About a week later I get a call at 5:30 pm on Sunday from the most amazing Gastro. He explains that I have Crohn's disease with ulcers in my Ilium and the entire left side of my colon.This has occurred due to my body attacking itself over the last ten years detecting food as bad bacteria or fighting a bacteria that lives in my intestines.. At this point, it was too late to simply choose to just change my diet and find foods that didn't cause my body inflammation due to the severity of my intestines. I'm currently on Humira which is an injection in the stomach every two weeks. I tried to cut out all meat but what’s working for me so far is still eating fish and ground turkey. My fatigue has slowly been improving, I'm sleeping through the night and able to function day to day.
This is a chronic disease and I'm told I will be on Humira for life, but my goal is to feed my body with foods it loves, take colon vitamins, probiotics and herbs to shock the doctors at my next colonoscopy in a little under a year.. hoping to have little to no signs of ulcers.
Recently, I’ve been doing a ton of research on natural vitamins and herbs to cleanse my colon and fight to heal myself. They say Crohn’s isn’t a curable disease but I’ve found a lot of information on bacteria overgrowth and I personally believe if I can figure out what bacteria my body is rejecting and decrease that in my diet or through vitamins then I can put myself in remission and heal my gut.
The community that have on Instagram and Facebook has made me realize I’m soooo not alone in this. Because of my fitness platform I receive messages daily from other ladies who are struggling.. and I am most definitely aware that people have it worse than I do. I praise the strength and courage those of you conjure up who have had multiple surgeries and deal with a stoma. Know that sharing your journey is inspiring and even though you might not know it, your strength is influencing the strength of someone else who is struggling.
It has now been 6 months since my diagnosis and I am working from home. I have been growing my online business for the last two years, which its crazy to see God’s plan unfolding. I made the decision in July that I would no longer push myself to work 8 hours per day on my feet or outside the home even. I just had to many trips to the bathroom and my energy levels where hard to maintain. So I took on this business full time — which He knew I would need.
As medical bills were literally falling out of the mail box, I was overwhelmed. It had also been 6 months since I had graduated college so…. student loan bills. I owed a ton of money on a credit card after making the move to Texas too so it was stressful summer and a lot of personal development trying to rearrange my attitude and relationship with money.
Luckily, over the past 2 years I have poured into myself physically, emotionally and mentally to grow from insecure and depressed, to a positive empowered woman running her own business.
I’m so relieved, excited and overall just have a mix of emotions that ending 2017 with over $7000 in debt paid off thanks to this little business I started as a side gig in college.
The point in sharing this is, if you think something's not right, it probably isn't. You know your body better than any doctor ever can. Be confident, get the testing done, don't worry about the bills.. this is your health, the longevity of your life..
The plan God has for you is prosperous, we all have the ability to take what’s given to us with strength and leverage it to pave way to a life some may only dream of.
Even through the struggles, the bills, the pain, you can create a life you love.. some of use just have to accommodate. Stop dreaming about it and start working for it. Don’t let your disease limit you, leverage it.