Ok, you’ve almost made it! Here’s the last and final part to my story of the last 15 years with colitis. I’m bringing you back to where I started this blog. May be repetitive if you’ve been following this, but there is some new info as well (namely my tip on how not to crap your pants–those of you without IBD probably don’t need to worry about this but my tip also applies to tummy aches as well)…
Fast forward to the current. I am the healthiest I’ve ever been (except maybe as a small child but even as a child I remember laying butt up on the bathroom floor, a technique taught to me by my dad, trying to pass gas to ease the cramping in my stomach from something I ate). I see an herbalist/acupuncturist twice a week and take 45 supplements a day (yes, I counted!) in addition to an herbal tea that I prepare every three days and drink twice a day.
I am also taking a qigong class to help strengthen myself internally (all the herbalists I’ve seen have said that while externally I appear strong, internally, I’m weak). Apparently I’m “yin” (as in yin yang) deficient. People that are yin deficient tend to be over thinkers and may even have difficulty sleeping due to having a “racing mind”; definitely something that I suffer from. I tried meditation but the racing mind thing made the sitting still and clearing mind thing exceptionally difficult. I find the method of qigong that I’m learning gives me enough to think about (movement, intention and breath) that I don’t have as much room for wandering thoughts. I have also changed my diet entirely over the last 7 months or so. I had already cut out all dairy several years ago upon the advice of my current gastroenterologist. I’d also been given a variety of different advice on diet: one herbalist had me on basically a vegan, all organic, no processed foods diet (chicken was the worst food of all. He and everyone at the clinic basically said that if I ate chicken, there was no hope of me ever getting well. I’ve since clarified that if I can guarantee that the chicken is organic and anti-biotic-free, I can eat it.); another acupuncturist said no potatoes, tomatoes or eggplant (these are all nightshades though I’m still not sure the significance); another herbalist said I can only use Manuka honey for sweetener (from New Zealand and very expensive) so I did that for a bit, and no chocolate (this makes me a bit sad but I’m doing it). My current herbalist says no gluten, bananas, watermelon or celery and I can only eat standing up alternating between my left foot and my right foot for intervals of 5 seconds while singing the hokey pokey. Just kidding about that last part, but at the rate I’m going, I may just do as much if I thought it would help. Just kidding again, I think… I know this all sounds ridiculous but I feel good and I have high hopes, “high apple pie in the sky” kind of hopes. And, I’m now eating more meat (organic and, if beef, grass fed) and have introduced normal local honey (not from New Zealand) and maple syrup (the kind from trees and not high fructose corn syrup).
And if you think this sounds ridiculous wait till you hear about how my current herbalist determines my regimen of supplements… My friend likened him to a wizard. He uses something called morphogenic field testing or muscle testing where he basically brings the supplements into my energetic field and determines whether my body needs it or not based on whether my right arm locks or dips when he pushes on it.
I know, even more ridiculous. But I’m doing it and I’ve never been more hopeful. My goal is to be off all Western medications and be pregnant in the next year. When I went to the high risk pregnancy doctor she recommended that I just stay on my current medications and not go off of them at all. When I brought up the concern of not being able to breastfeed on the medications, her response was “my job is to help you have a healthy pregnancy, we will worry about that when the time comes.” Which to me is not an acceptable response. “Worry about that when the time comes,” well once the baby pops out, that time has come, shall we discuss it then? I know there are other ways, formula etc. but I want my baby and I to be as healthy as possible and I plan to do everything in my power to make that happen. It makes me think of a quote I once jotted down in one of my sketchbooks about a man’s response to what he would do if he had a child, “I would baptize him in every kind of religion, with priests, the Baptists, Jehovah’s witnesses, all the Protestant sects, and the Spiritists too. That way he would be absolutely guaranteed and couldn’t miss out on heaven.” –Jorge Amado. Acupuncture, herbal medication, western medication, meditation, qigong, diet, lifestyle change, yoga, I’ll try it all if means I can be healthy and free of colitis. Besides, it all leads to a healthy lifestyle anyhow. Even my husband has adapted many of the changes (i.e. acupuncture, diet, qigong, yoga, sleep patterns, well the sleep patterns are still a struggle but he’s trying).
I hope you’ve found this informative or at least interesting. For those of you who are newly diagnosed, my advice to you is to keep living your life. I went to a support group once where everyone talked about how they no longer ever left their house and had secluded themselves and were miserable. A little pointer for those of you who struggle with losing your bowels at inopportune times (not that there is an opportune time for bowel loss, but you know what I mean): I learned this from a Reiki master who was treating me for a bit. Put your hand over your descending colon (along the lower, right section of your abdomen). You can do this over your clothing (though if you have many layers, you may want to go down a layer or so). You don’t have to put pressure, just place the hand there. If your left arm gets tired, you can switch to your right hand (though this may make the gesture a bit more obvious). Do this when the feeling hits you. I never had an accident again after I learned this technique (you don’t have to believe in it or do any magical thinking, the gesture itself will help, at least it helped me) and was able to make it for drives home, through classes, etc. with this method. Also, don’t lose your sense of humor. IBDs are not only debilitating at times but also can be very embarrassing, I understand, but find a friend or family member who you can talk openly about the illness with. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and you’d be surprised how many people have IBD, or just stomach issues that they felt just as uncomfortable talking about. Everyone farts, everyone poops, some of us just do it more often than others.