2500 Days with Colitis – Hey…Get Your Travel ON!

adamIt has been six years and seven months or about 2,500 days since I’ve been living life after a doctor told me I have ulcerative colitis.

But much more important than that basic fact, is that right now is the happiest I’ve been maybe in all my life, and if you are feeling the same, that’s even better.  Life after the docs say “You have UC” is far from the end of good times, that’s what I believe and I hope you do too.

I believe food absolutely can play a major part in helping or hurting the life of UC folk, people like me.

That’s a big part of why I created this site back in 2009.

But wait a minute, that first line is a slap in the face to many people who use iHaveUC.  Why…???

Well take your Gastro doctor for example.  He or she more often than not would disagree with me.  I’m talk

David's mom making some more of her veggie  sauerkrautish mix

David’s mom making some more of her veggie sauerkrautish mix

ing about your b-hole examining, medication consulting/prescribing often western medication trained GI who often deals with all sorts of diseases and often can’t keep up to date with current published studies because he/she is sooo darn busy (maybe a bit of exaggeration…maybe not…you make that call). Dr. Stollman…my GI…I am not talking about you…well maybe a tiny tiny bit yes cause i know you’re super busy.  (I hope you poke me nicely come my next scoping day:)

Or, better yet, take your internet connection where you can find all sorts of places and people who deep down truly believe(or at least they have convinced me they think this) that diet plays either “no” part in their individual disease or very little.

Heck, you don’t have to travel far to find UC’ers who have had their colon removed who would tell you diet plays no part in the disease or very little. ( Of course there are others from this same sub-group who think differently).  But again, there are many confusing messages here.

but wait, there are more options/opinions, there are people who:

  • Have had great success with treating uc with diet
  • Have/had moderate/ so-so improvement with diet
  • Have had zero improvement or very little
  • And of course there are others who use diet and medications together on their ulcerative colitis

And of course you have me, and what is my story?

Well:

  • Diagnosed October 2008
  • Severe symptoms throughout my colon (and yes, i was scared at the time)
  • Top gastro docs from Stanford, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, UCSF, and the golden Mayo Clinic all had a chance to treat me
  • Medications moved from prednisone to asacol to colazal to sulfasalazine to rowasa enemas to Remicade then Humira then…..drumroll please…..Surgery was suggested as nothing else worked…
  • Didn’t go that way(that scared the crap out of me back then) and tried changing my diet instead (against any and ALL suggestions from my gastro doctors…what a major chance i was taking right…pills were doing ZERO…give this risky diet thing a try….you sense the sarcasm I hope)
  • and guess what…IT Friggin Worked.

and double guess what…

One GI doc told me I was getting better because the medications had finally kicked in…

No sir, I stopped taking medications several months prior to hearing that because they were not helping me or would turn my bones to powder like prednisone steroids have a habit of doing…so…I hope you don’t take this personally… “But my diet changes are the reason for my success.  Not your medications, not your biologics, and most unfortunately…this probably makes no sense to you otherwise you would have told me to stop eating all those slices of pizza, and white breads, loaf after loaf and the rest of that BRAT diet.  Geez amigo…you were the one who told me to eat white toast everyday after I was diagnosed when i was bleeding like crazy and using two or three rolls of paper a day.  That sort of grain is exactly what I avoid now.

So what else, why am I taking a morning of my vacation here in the republic of Georgia, just south of Russia, north of Turkey, east of the Black Sea and west of Azerbajan, and writing this post?

  • Is it because I wrote an ebook on UC and the diet and recipes that work for me and I think you will order them after this long winded story?  And after that maybe I’ll be rich and famous?
  • Is it because my friend David who invited me here is passed out on the couch after the past two days of absolute craziness and I’m bored as hell this morning…wait…its almost noon(…we did hike to a village yesterday that is only accessible by foot…through swampy mud, david’s friend had a shotgun over his shoulder the whole way since last month this village lost 23 cows to wolves…and three days prior his friend’s dog was nearly killed by a wolf…)
  • Or am I writing because I’m in the middle of a mini-colitis-disease breakthrough?
Passed out david...give him a break...Aleko's car was very stuck in the muddy swamp road last night and David was probably pushing and pulling more than me and the six other Georgians combined

Passed out david…give him a break…Aleko’s car was very stuck in the muddy swamp road last night and David was probably pushing and pulling more than me and the six other Georgians combined

Here is the reason…

I love to travel.  Those of you who follow the site have maybe even read my postings from previous years where I have talked about some of my trips.

Traveling for me to far off or close lands where I can see and experience other common folks normal lifestyle is just about at the top of my own WILAE list (What I like about Earth).

Usually they involve my beautiful wife Michaela…but sometimes she gets sick of me and pushes me out of the apartment and I end up in places like The Republic of Georgia.

So what’s with the David guy and why is he mentioned?… It is simple, he is one of the coolest guys I’ve ever met, we met in Prague (where we both currently live) nearly seven months ago.  And last week, about four days prior to setting off we purchased train tickets to Budapest(highly recommend it in the warmer months, especially if you’d like to learn how to party from some of the friendliest and most beautiful folks around) then airfare to Kutaisi, Georgia.  He grew up near there(Abasha is the name of the village) between South Ossetia and the Abkazi region, a mini war/skirmish with Russia went down in these parts just a few years back.

I was so nervous that I would not be able to maintain my diet while here for two weeks.  A trip to Italy ended in disaster a few years back when I fell off the 5 year wagon and jumped on all sorts of breads…bleeding was a result. Lesson learned again:)

But this trip is blowing my mind.

David’s mom, and the rest of the locals I’ve met eat well.  They eat all sorts of whole foods.  Foods they grow and make with their own hands.  Cheese from the family cows.(and I previously thought there were alot of cows in Argentina…scratch that and throw in Georgia, maybe the whole caucus region… I dont know).  Fermented cabbage and beets and peppers, wine from their own grapes, beef from their grass fed cows.  Eggs, OMG there are chickens everywhere too.

And me, I’m eating all of it minus the breads.  But the high amounts of cheese and wine(lots and lots and lots at the baptism party two days ago for David’s cousin (everyone is an uncle or aunt or cousin…so not quite positive about the relations…not important either)…more wine than i’ve had in the past six years combined) along with the vegetables that typically sit in a big container for a few days and taste very sour, crunchy and salty are all producing some super poops.

Oh, I think I just heard David waking up, so gonna cut this short soon.

But do me a favor, and don’t ever think the diagnosis is the end of your dreams, or an all out end to you living your life and being happy.

It isn’t.  It really is not.  There are far far more difficult health problems out there on Earth.  And although colitis symptoms can pack a mean punch for long or short periods of time, our bodies and how they have evolved are amazing.  Just don’t count yourself out of a good life.  We all deserve it, and I believe we all can have it.

peace and happiness and a very special thanks to Otarai and Aleko(David’s friends who we’ve been with everyday so far)

 

Adam Scheuer

and below are some of my favorite trip pictures so far:

The guy on the right is David's uncle.  This party was in honor of his 70th birthday.  The guy on the left, a family friend was the "tomada" aka...the guy who was voted early in the night to lead the party/toasts/craziness...I simply like how in the picture you can see he's already spilled a glass of wine on himself

The guy on the right is David’s uncle. This party was in honor of his 70th birthday. The guy on the left, a family friend was the “tomada” aka…the guy who was voted early in the night to lead the party/toasts/craziness…I simply like how in the picture you can see he’s already spilled a glass of wine on himself

 

from right to left: Aleko, unknown co-worker of Aleko, Me, David and Otari up front right before we chowed down on some spis de pork and cucumber and tomato salad and some fresh cheese made by the unknown guy's wife.  They all jumped on the bread and beer while I was happy with my water

from right to left: Aleko, unknown co-worker of Aleko, Me, David and Otari up front right before we chowed down on some spis de pork and cucumber and tomato salad and some fresh cheese made by the unknown guy’s wife. They all jumped on the bread and beer while I was happy with my water

 

We hiked up to a village that is way off the electric grid, and the father and his wife (the two on left) invited us all in for a meal.  Super nice of them, just wish we hand't eaten less than an hour before.  but still managed to put down a few bites of some of the food they had to offer.  Nearly lost my mind on the tiny sip of his home-made chacha...aka Grappa...slivovice...super high proof indeed.

We hiked up to a village that is way off the electric grid, and the father and his wife (the two on left) invited us all in for a meal. Super nice of them, just wish we hand’t eaten less than an hour before. but still managed to put down a few bites of some of the food they had to offer. Nearly lost my mind on the tiny sip of his home-made chacha…aka Grappa…slivovice…super high proof indeed.

 

Kazbegi, Georgia hike

Hiking up the mountain in Kazbegi, Georgia

There were much higher peaks, but we made it to the monestary at the top of this one mountain, took some pictures and went down the "Monk's Trail"...which was a super shortcut:)

There were much higher peaks, but we made it to the monestary at the top of this one mountain, took some pictures and went down the “Monk’s Trail”…which was a super shortcut:)

so this is my favorite purchase this year...smelling like sheep wool(cause it is), and looking ilke Jimi Hendrix...somewhat...the lady in the background raises, creates, and sells these hats which are warm for winter weather

so this is my favorite purchase this year…smelling like sheep wool(cause it is), and looking ilke Jimi Hendrix…somewhat…the lady in the background raises, creates, and sells these hats which are warm for winter weather

I guess you haven't seen enough of Georgia until you are stuck on the main highway from the capital Tblisi to the Russian border...best part was how the Sheppards didn't seem to care one bit that they were stopping traffic on the highway, was a great time, and somehow moved past the heard and on to open road

I guess you haven’t seen enough of Georgia until you are stuck on the main highway from the capital Tblisi to the Russian border…best part was how the Sheppards didn’t seem to care one bit that they were stopping traffic on the highway, was a great time, and somehow moved past the heard and on to open road




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11 Responses to 2500 Days with Colitis – Hey…Get Your Travel ON!

  1. Bev May 29, 2015 at 10:45 am #

    The most AWESOME-EST post Adam, my man!!

    Yes, it really is up to us to change what we need to change and figure out what we need to figure out regarding this mo-fo of a condition.

    Because we will apparently have to live with UC for life, we can and MUST find a way to LIVE with it.

    Living with it means getting it into permanent remission!! That’s basically it.

    Cheers, I am six years in remission as well and I really did have to take the reins and do it myself.

    Happy travels, and happy life!!

  2. Joyce C
    Joyce May 29, 2015 at 11:19 am #

    Wow. Very inspirational story, Adam! I am med free following the advice of many on this website. But tell me….wine?!?!? I cut out ALL alcohol, although I seldom drank hard liquor, but did enjoy a glass of red wine at night from time to time. Hearing that you are being successful all the while enjoying some – OK, a lot ! – of wine is awfully tempting….don’t know if I can get past the fear of the unknown on that one but sure would like to try.
    Hope your trip continues to bring you joy and health. Have fun!

  3. Mary S
    Mary May 29, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

    Wow it’s great to know there’s hope for us yet out there. You guys look like you’re having a blast. The idea of traveling scares the crap out of me. Flew down to Florida in Dec to see my daughter, flared the second day there and took me 3 weeks to get it under control. Now next week hubby is driving 400 miles to NYC and I won’t even chance it.

  4. shelly in maine May 29, 2015 at 3:28 pm #

    Adam….keep on keepin’ on! Happiness and Health to you Always.
    Thanks for the updates, summary and pics! Looks like another fantastic chapter in your journey.
    Happy, Safe and Good Health,
    Shelly :-)

  5. Graham from England
    Graham Lee May 29, 2015 at 3:40 pm #

    Great post Adam!

    Fast living, stress and industrial diet of convenience food go literally against the grain when we take a proper moment to think about it. Its never too late to wake up, you are trail blazing right now!

    Sheer IBD class!

  6. Eileen May 29, 2015 at 4:02 pm #

    Adam, Nice post! Glad you are enjoying God’s gift. It is good to be alive. I’ll tell ya’ll my story soon. Blessings!

  7. Angela May 29, 2015 at 9:02 pm #

    Great post, Adam!! Thank you for sharing!

  8. Jamie May 30, 2015 at 7:39 am #

    Thanks for sharing Adam! My husband is worried about us going to France for three weeks. I told him I deal with it at home working like crazy. I can deal with it vacationing like crazy. Definitely there are worse diseases to have. We all have it for life and just have to keep working to keep well. Meanwhile, yes we need to live life. Agreed!

  9. Debbie K May 30, 2015 at 9:10 pm #

    Very glad you had such a wonderful visit! I not longer have UC. My whole colon was removed Jan 2014. It has been quite a journey with very bad complications. On this side looking back, I’d do it again. Never have to bleed like that or have that urgency to find bathrooms. It is BETTER w/o a colon. I had it for 5 years. It took 3 years before I actually heard UC. Never again.. I love your success. The diet, the Ned’s, the bio logics did not work for me. Perhaps because the diagnosis took so long. Thank you so much for the folks you put us all in touch with.. That is a big help..n

  10. Chantel C June 3, 2015 at 8:38 pm #

    I was really encouraged by this article! I’m 24 and was just diagnosed with colitis a little over a month ago, along with GERD and eosiniphilic esophagitis (not sure if I spelled those right), so my dr has me on a few different meds and a really strict diet. I am going overseas in a little over two weeks and have been really nervous about it, but this article was comforting. Thank you so much for creating and maintaining this site – it has been so helpful!!!

    • Adam
      Adam June 4, 2015 at 10:07 am #

      Way cool Chantel! Enjoy the travels, and let us know how it goes:))

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