If you have ulcerative colitis, you very well may have a whole bunch of colitis flares along the way(but don’t you worry).
After being diagnosed with UC in October of 2008, I have officially learned that a colitis flare may come up from time to time (even when I thought I had found the save all diet solution with the SCD diet plan…symptom and medication free for 8 months is a pretty good streak though right?).
But, there is a big difference that YOU and I with colitis can make in terms of how we go about handling our own colitis flares.
Now for the disclaimer:
I am in no way a doctor, expert, or even a very experienced UC patient, but I do have ulcerative colitis, and I seem to be finding a way out of the current colitis flare that crept up on me a few weeks ago, and I want to share some ideas with the rest of the colitis community.
First of all, I like to hide my symptoms from others.
Second, I was in denial for years about my UC symptoms prior to being diagnosed.
Third, I was as well in denial for about a week when I started feeling some symptoms coming up several weeks ago.
FRIGGIN STRANGE how it’s just so easy for us to deny our colitis symptoms, especially when we know exactly what they are.
Some examples of my denial are:
1) I started to see some blood in my poop but brushed it away as nothing to worry about
2) I started to see some dripping blood in the toilet, but did the same
3) I started having some cramps in my upper abdomen, and thought not much of it
4) Started to get some joint pains in my elbows and shoulders ((ALL Symptoms I was having a year ago when my colitis was active))
So, once I came out of denial, and realized I was not a super human beating ulcerative colitis, and more or less a normal colitis patient who has flare ups from time to time, I tried not to stress out at all. And, I think I did a pretty good job at staying calm. The reality is, I was SUPER severe for months and months in 2008-2009 and right when I was ready for surgery, things got better with a MASSIVE DIET CHANGE. And yes, my colon started working properly again(taking hard poops without blood etc…) So, my thinking was, if my colon has proved before it could come back and work properly, it could definitely do the same again.
So along with trying to remain as calm in the brain as possible, I also started to go back to basics with my diet. The diet got me out of my initial SEVERE colitis symptoms, and I thought it should be the one to do the same again.
Some changes I made were the following:
1) No coffee in the mornings
2) No more potato, or at least very very little compared to 3-4 times a week
3) Finding ways to just relax more, and not sweat the small stuff in life.
One thing I did not do was call the doctor. Call me an idiot for not letting my GI doctor know I was finally in a flare, but on the ego side of it all, I haven’t been to a doctor since November 2009, and wanted to keep that streak alive.
As of the past few days, I have begun to see some great things in the toilet bowl, and also the bleeding stuff seems to be nearly gone. And, mentally, I am feeling really good that I didn’t freak out when the UC symptoms crept back into my life. I can remember the days clearly last year when I was counting the times I went to the bathroom, and making sure to inspect every last inch of what was in the toilet bowl. And this time, I somehow took a much more relaxed approach to having colitis symptoms. I know it is very hard to do, to stay calm when you are seeing blood in the toilet. Especially when its staring you in the face on some nice white toilet paper. But, it can be done.
The UC disease is a strange one. It has its own personality. It can go away, and then come back. Bowel movements can be great for quite some time, and then slowly start to degrade for us UC patients. And, other symptoms like joint pain, and night sweats, and bad attitudes can all flare right alongside the UC.
BUT, each of us can play a very big role in recovering from colitis flares. I believe that!
I pretty sure that the following with a little luck have helped end my colitis flare:
- maintaining a positive outlook on managing the disease(VERY IMPORTANT ALWAYS)
- strict limits on diet (no alcohol and some hardcore sticking to the SCD diet) AND
- big amounts of relaxation
Here is a little video from June 16th, 2010 which talks some more about my recent colitis flare:
Best of luck to you, especially if you’re in the middle of active colitis symptoms that crept up on you from nowhere.