Don’t Give Up Hope!


My husband has hypothyroidism, about 10 years now (& has alway taken the natural form of Synthroid, now called Westhroid). Don’t know if this is significant, but after reading Mak’s story, the thyroid connection made me decide to write the following…

Husband’s Ulcerative Colitis:

I do not have Ulcerative Colitis but my husband does (did, actually he is currently in “remission”).  My husband Cliff, now 54, was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in August of 2009. He had been having frequent bloody stools since beginning of July and after testing was determined to have giardia for which he was given Flagyl which only increased his symptoms. He ended up losing 40 lbs. in about 3 weeks. He finally went for a colonoscopy in August which resulted in the UC diagnosis. The doctor prescribed Prednisone and Sulfasalazine, making the symptoms manageable. We also consulted an M.D. who practices holistic medicine and who suggested supplements and a soluble fiber diet. We immediately went on the diet which consisted of the following: rice, oatmeal, cornmeal, carrots, pasta, barley, white flour products, quinoa, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, mushrooms, bananas, mangos, turnips, squash (hard & soft), applesauce, avocados, and papayas , salmon, tuna, chicken breasts, tofu, miso, coconut water & milk, & goat cheese–pretty much. He was (& still is) also drinking kefir made from young coconuts (which contains trillions of live culture-an excellent probiotic), a supplement called “Seacure” (made from cold water fish), fish oil, and alfalfa tablets. He also took a powerful iron supplement since he became anemic from his prolonged blood loss (?). He also stopped drinking alcohol (more or less) during the fall. We started transitioning him off the Prednisone in November. His symptoms continued to improve to the point where he was only taking a third of the Sulfasalazine prescribed and no Prednisone (by January ’10). We eventually added insoluble fiber back into the diet, as well as tomatoes, chilis, berries, apples and other previously forbidden “treats” occasionally. He has continued to improve up till late spring of this year with stools fairly normal. He has not had a repeat colonoscopy.

In the late spring of this year, he began to experience pain in both of his hips. This quickly spread to equally debilitating pain & swelling in his shoulders, elbows, knees & wrists, resulting in a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis by July (he could barely walk). He was prescribed Prednisone which quickly kept his pain under control. His regular doctor told him to stop taking the Sulfasalazine, as a side-effect is joint pain-so he quit it. He began seeing an acupuncturist in August who suggested an anti-inflammatory/anti-arthritis diet: No sugars, no yeasts, no night-shade vegetables, no oxalic acid vegetables, no dairy, fish but no meat. It is high alkaline/very low acid. He is also doing an everyday gentle cleanse with psyllium, bentonite, & coconut oil. His 1-2 stools/day are absolutely normal now. He takes New Chapter brand Zyflamend, boswellia, & turmeric–which are all anti-inflammatory herbs. He also takes naproxen. We again transitioned him o ff of the Prednisone–he has been off 3 weeks now & has had very good days and very bad–he was told to expect this. He has acupuncture twice a week. He is also not drinking alcohol regularly as he suffers the next day. He swims 3 times a week. We are hopeful this nutritional approach will continue to help him regain his health. It has only been about 3 months since we have been on the regimen but the UC symptoms are non-existent & his body is now more alkaline, rather than acidic. He is managing flare-ups with naproxen, capsaicin cream, & arnica cream. He is also starting light weight-bearing exercises. It is very important that he keep moving.

A few observations: months before his UC began, Cliff & I suffered from 3 serious emotional blows in our family–financial, & personal. His personality is such that he does not “roll with the punches” very well (I do) and was definitely depressed, stressed, & felt the floor had given way beneath him. I have always encouraged him to take an anti-depressant which he never would do. We have slowly recovered from these setbacks. However, last winter, months before his Rheumatoid Arthritis began, his 56 year old brother died after a massive stroke which was another devastating occurrence. After much research, I believe that his emotional state may have something to do with his condition(s). I no longer believe in coincidences! And, through my research of Sulfasalazine, I found that UC & RA commonly occur in the same individual and is prescribed for both diseases. Also, Cliff is an extremely hard worker, demanding much of himself, & feeling responsible for more than he should. (He’s a good man but too hard on himself!)

We are in the process of exploring essential oils for their emotional healing properties to complement his treatment. I pretty much believe in trying everything that is not too wacky-sounding & has some scientific basis- like acupuncture & homeopathy–they definitely don’t hurt. I have come to believe that traditional western medicine is wonderful for acute treatment but will not heal in the long-run. A change of diet & habits, including certain mind-sets need to be examined & improved. Wish us luck!

Submitted by “Claudia” in the Colitis Venting Area

5 thoughts on “Don’t Give Up Hope!”

  1. Ulcerative colitis issssss connected to emotional stress and the personality of the person. Some people take things easy while

    some are very sensitive. I am 54 and my colitis started when i was 32 after i lost both my parents in a span of two months.

    My mom was ailing for a while and my father died after he slipped and fell down and had a head injury.This was too

    much to digest for me. With each stressful event my colitis progressed from proctitis, next sigmoid colon, then descending

    colon and then pan colitis. But i am managing it quite well and am in remission now.It seems the colitis has gone on a


    1. Uma,

      Thanks for sharing your stories. How did you manage to overcome that? What are the contributing factors in your healings? I wish everything keeps going well for you!


    2. I am sorry for your losses Uma…that sounds like it had to be a trying time. I too can attest to this being stress related. Before I got sick, I took pretty good care of myself. Then I was about to start college. I was so nervous about the future that often I could not sleep. Sometimes, I would eat to pass the time when I could not, unknowing of any illness like UC. Because of the stress, my digestive system shut down and I was left with a body that was toxic…leading to the UC. All in the span of a few weeks, because once I started school I realized I was worried for nothing. I excelled despite the rest of life going down the drain. All too ironic if you ask me. Glad you have found remission! Steve

  2. Good luck in finding what works best for your husband. My eleven year old daughter was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease two years ago. That was changed to Ulcerative Colitis, and now they think it is probably both. She also has problems with arthritis when she is flaring. She is a very stressed out and highly anxious child, and I am sure that makes things much worse for her. We are getting ready to start her on Remicade in the next few weeks when we can get the paperwork taken care of, and I am absolutely dreading it for her. At this point, we have no other choice besides long-term Prednisone, which we know has caused her much trouble already, and doesn’t seem to be working this time anyway. I heard about Kefir just this past week, and plan to start her on that, along with the Remicade. I also plan to get rid of gluten and casein in her diet. My hope is, that while the Remicade is taking care of the current crisis, we can get her adjusted to a diet that will help maintain remission, and with the doctor’s help, be able to help her not be so dependent upon the medication in the future. I would love to know what you and your husband find that will work for him.

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