I am a 44-year-old Career Mom of 2 teenagers in Albuquerque, NM. I was just diagnosed with UC last week after a colonoscopy. I have never had any health issues or digestive issues before. I have a semi-stressful government job that I love and I recently received a big promotion with a lofty title. I am blessed to have great co-workers, good benefits, and a flexible work schedule, including the ability to work from home as much as I need to, which, lately, has been 5 days a week!
Some more about me:
I enjoy fishing, photography, scrap-booking, sewing, and cooking (I am addicted to the Food Network!) I’m also an avid reader (mostly fiction, but lately have been reading a lot of books on leadership and management, due to a recent promotion.) I work long hours during the week, so I tend to be a bit of a hermit/homebody on the weekends because that’s when I relax and recharge (and clean house, do laundry, run errands, and all of the other tedious things working moms have to do on the weekends.) Normally, people describe me as “highly energetic,” but lately I’ve just been a slug.
I am currently trying to recover from my first Ulcerative Colitis flare. I have lost 35 pounds since December and have had chronic bloody diarrhea for two months, although it is starting to get better. Feeling very weak and lacking energy (I seem to be ready for a nap every day around 3:00!) and I don’t know if that is the UC, or the fact that I’m probably eating less than 500 calories a day (mostly vegetable soup, rice, saltine crackers, pureed cooked carrots, avocados, plain pasta.) I had a couple of weeks with some abdominal pain and vomiting, but that has subsided now that I’m taking the medications and eating only easy-to-digest foods. Biggest problem was the frequent trips to the bathroom, which is difficult when my job requires me to be on conference calls up to 4 hours a day. Like others have mentioned, I have an ever-present fear of leaving the house.
Is My Food Love Affair Over
My biggest frustration with UC is all of the contradictory information out there about diet. One source will say no potatoes, another source will say potatoes are okay as long as you don’t eat the skin, another source will say only sweet potatoes, and yet another source will say neither one should be consumed.
My primary care doctor wants me to go no meat (except fish) and no dairy. (After she told me that, I cried all the way home.) But, then I look at other diet plans, like the SCD, and they say most meats are okay. Seriously, what the heck? Over the last few weeks, it has been really difficult to bring myself to cook for my kids–just looking at food, let alone preparing it–made me want to heave. I don’t have time to cook separate meals, so I pretty much cook something for them and then resign myself to a bowl of rice or cup of applesauce, which makes me resentful. A couple of times I called my ex and told him, “you need to get over here and take your children out to dinner because I’m too sick to feed them.”
I’m hungry all the time, even though I don’t want to eat because I’m so bored with the bland diet I am currently trying to follow. Consequently, I’m cranky all the time. (I told my kids, “now I know what it’s like to be a supermodel and STARVING all the time!”) The only plus side is the weight loss because I am overweight and need to lose another 50 pounds. But even that annoys me, because the scale at the doctor’s office weighs me about 15 pounds heavier than my scale at home (what is up with doctor’s office scales?) I have ordered a bunch of books on UC and anti-inflammatory diets, trying to learn all I can and make some sense about how I can manage this disease.
I do have to travel periodically for work, and I dread having a flare while in travel status. I also need to figure out how to maintain a diet (whenever I figure out what that diet should be) when my only options are hotel/restaurant meals. I was lucky that this flare happened over the holidays, when I happened to be using up 2 weeks of vacation time, but I almost never take time off from work, so I dread what I will do in the future–set up my laptop on a TV tray in the bathroom?
Since the colonoscopy, I am taking flagyl (for an infection), folic acid, Omega 3 supplements, and sulfasalazine. I see my GI on Monday, and he may prescribe prednisone at that time, but I’m hoping to avoid it. My mom had rheumatoid arthritis and had a lot of problems with both sulfa drugs and prednisone, so I’m reluctant to rely on medications. I’m really hoping to have some success with an eating plan, but that seems to be even more confusing than medications!
written by Mizz Min NM
submitted in the colitis venting area