Drug Free, Symptom Free – Chinese Medicine

mindyIntroduction:

Hi, My name is Mindy and I live in Florida. I am a paramedic and a student of Traditional Chinese Medicine. I have been diagnosed with UC for 6 years. I have kept myself symptom free for most of it without the use of medications.

My Symptoms:

I have no symptoms currently. When I do have flares they come on quickly and advance rapidly to severe bleeding and production of little to no stool.

My Story:

I suspected I had UC long before I had an initial diagnosis, due to symptoms and a family (Mother) history. I began modifying my diet immediately and probably staved off the disease for many years in that way. Over time with no symptoms, though, I started reverting back to old eating habits, which combined with the stress of Paramedic school led to severe and debilitating symptoms. However the first doc I saw gave me a clean bill of health, and the second diagnosed me with Crohn’s. Finally 3 scopes later and a new doc I had an “official” diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis. Prednisone brought it rapidly under control. I had remission with no meds and minor flares intermittently. Then followed a period of time where I experimented with the best diet for myself, and doctor prescribed maintenance drugs – mesalamines. Every drug in that family gives me horrific side effects, including myocarditis with chest pain, pancreatitis, a nd mouth ulcers. After a particularly bad flare that developed after a knee surgery (that prescription meds were not helping and I was told I was heading down the road to Remicade infusions) I turned to a doctor of TCM – traditional Chinese medicine. He prescribed a diet (which was not dissimilar to the SCD), acupuncture and specific chinese herbal formulas. Within 8 treatments I was able to quit medications. These days I use acupuncture periodically for remission. My other methods of control include daily ground psyllium seed (a heaping teaspoon in 10 oz juice and water), NO GLUTEN, minimal grain based carbs (I include brown rice and quinoa occasionally, minimal sugars, I include of yams and sweet potatoes which support immune balance and certain deficiencies according to TCM, consume little to no alcoholic beverages ( I allow myself a glass of wine occasionally), eat lots of fruits and veggies, and do not eat sulfite containing products (which includes all lunch mea ts and most processed foods); I limit dairy consumption to occasional yogurts and occasional high quality cheeses, with absolutely no milk or uncultured dairy products, and I exercise and do Taiji regularly. By the way this diet and lifestyle allows me to maintain a great level of health overall and an ideal weight. By and large I have found Western doctors unreceptive to any form of treatment other than prescribing meds and diagnostic scopes. They should wise up as the future of UC treatment lies in lifestyle modification and alternative therapies, not dangerous and ridiculously expensive drugs. BTW, it is only recently I discovered that alcohol, especially liquor, can create a flare in and of itself. With that discovery, I think I may have eliminated the final trigger of my flares.

Where I’d Like to be in 1 year:

My goal is to never again take another dose of steroids, nor any other prescription medication for UC; not just in one year, but EVER. I believe it is possible!

Colitis Medications I’ve tried:

Prednisone is the only medication that has worked to control a major flare. All of the other mesalamines and that class have caused me maximum side effects with little to no symptom relief. I have permanent ECG changes because of mesalamine use.

written by Mindy





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13 Responses to Drug Free, Symptom Free – Chinese Medicine

  1. Bev August 9, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    OMG OMG OMG!!

    I LOVE your post. You said alot of true stuff, Mindy!! True-dat!!

    I, too, am in complete remission, naturally, due to incorporating probiotics, L-glutamine, and astaxanthin into my daily life. No more asacol (mesalamine) for me, either. Nor any other medical drugs, for that matter. I am six months strong on NO meds at all!

    I, too, also exercise, and have for 30 years. Five days per week. I used to teach aerobics and weight training in my younger days, so I have no problem maintaining a program. It’s just always been a part of my daily routine. Get up, exercise, and then get on with the rest of my day.

    One more thing you mentioned…alcohol…I have never really drank, so I think that may be why I am able to maintain remission longer, and why my pancolitis is not as severe as the next guy’s pancolitis might be. Very good point!

    Once again, I LOVE your post!! We each have to find what works for us, NATURALLY, whether it be probiotics, acupuncture, and/or Chinses medicine, and go with it!! Yes, I do think doctors should wise up to the real way to ‘treat’ or ‘cure’ this disease, instead of trying the gamut of dangerous drugs on we patients. I don’t even want to go to the doctor anymore. There was a time when I was there two or three times per month. Now, I haven’t been in almost six months. Just like a ‘normal’ person.

    Hooray for you!! Hooray for all of us!!

    Cheers:)

    • Steve August 11, 2012 at 9:14 am #

      Dear Bev…
      Out of the three things you take(I think its three), which would you say has made the biggest difference? I was planning grabbing a great probiotic here shortly, plus was going to look at L-glutamine(sp). Any thoughts? I’m honestly not one to take supplements or medications so it would be a step in a new direction to say the least. lol.

      • Bev August 13, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

        Hi again Steve…

        Well, the probiotic really got me started feeling alot better…urgency and pain wise…but when I added the L-glutamine and the astaxanthin about two months after, the bleeding finally completely disappeared for good. I’m not sure which of those two did the trick! Also, the stool was very firm and has continued to be so. It’s like being normal totally again. I never even get gas anymore! It’s truly unbelievable. My husband has more gas than I do, and, believe me, that was never the case before…lol

        That’s why I am recommending all three. My husband seems to think it’s the L-glutamine that sealed the deal, because it’s an amino acid that repairs our insides. However, the astaxanthin is a natural anti inflammatory. I’m torn between the two as to which one helped, because, like I said, I started them on the very same day.

        I hope I shed some light on this for you. I’m sorry that I can’t be more definitive about which certain thing helped the most.

        Cheers,
        Bev

        • Steve August 13, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

          Haha. Does that mean great minds think alike because I agree with your husband that the L-glutamine is most likely doing more? :P I will definitely get another probiotic soon and check out the others more in depth. Thanks for the insight and have a great day! Steve

  2. Jennifer August 9, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    Hi, thanks so much for posting your experience. I couldn’t agree more about the importance of diet. I was curious about TCM and had investigated some of the herbal formulas but wasn’t sure where to buy them. Could you share what you’re taking and where to buy? I suppose I could try to find a TCM doc here but I never know how to gauge whether they’re good.

  3. Garry August 9, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    Excellent post. More reason for hope. Best of luck. G

  4. Paul Willoughby August 10, 2012 at 3:59 am #

    Thanks for sharing that info. I’ve thought about investigating TCM but I worry about finding the right practitioner – i.e. one who knows what they’re doing.

    Paul

  5. ann August 10, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    Mindy,

    I live in Tampa, FL and I am from China. Looks like we can be very good partners in fighting this. You may give me a lot of encouragement, haha. Anyway, I am happy for you and call me(813-419-3886) or email me anytime you want.

    Ann

  6. joanna August 11, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    that’s so great you are med-free! that has always been my dream but i’ve tried that route a few times and it never works. i don’t know anything about TCM but wish i could get into remission without the use of heavy drugs.

  7. Steve August 11, 2012 at 9:08 am #

    Stories like yours give me awesome hope and energy so thank you, Mindy. I love that you’re a paramedic (or in paramedic school still) and have found health outside of traditional western medicine. It is a head scratch-er that many in the field cannot grasp.

    My own story is looking up. I started SCD about a week ago with a few bumps in the road. I am going a lot more than I would like(in part, I was having far too much store bought juice…I switched to all water for the time being) and find it strange that I am not seeing anything solid…but I can feel that my body is changing. I don’t feel any discomfort, the urge to go is more in my mind than my body which brings a small chuckle inside, and I just went through a particular stressful experience this morning—when your dog gets out, it is one thing. When he is a pit bull and you have no idea how people will react if they run into him, it is another. I got him back safe and sound but would like to see my nieces use doors properly ;) When I was really showing symptoms, I would have to be very mindful of how my body felt if I went to look for him. Today, not only did I do it with no issues along the way, but I didn’t have to think about it before I left the house. My only concern is I am feeling weak…which I think is from the withdrawal because I only feel it at certain intervals…but anyway.

    Thanks for your story Mindy. Going through the beginning stages of SCD is tough—I can tell I am more irritable right now lol—but stories like yours and with the advice from people here everything is that much easier. Steve

    • shelly in maine August 18, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

      Hey Steve,
      Was wondering how you were progressing? Just curious on the SCD progress,etc? I think your posts are really insightful and was wondering about your uc history and progress?
      best, Shelly

  8. William August 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

    Mindy,

    Great story. Like you, I suspected that alcohol may be contributing/causing flares but then I came across a medical journal study about alcohol and UC which made me toss my beloved vodka. Although it is a small study, 75% of IBD patients reported worsening symptoms of consuming alcohol. Here is the study:

    http://mymedicalfinder.com/articles/pattern-of-alcohol-consumption-and-its-effect-on-gastrointestinal-symptoms-in-inflammatory-bowel-disease.html

    Other diet related topics like potatoes are discussed here:

    http://mymedicalfinder.com/ulcerative-colitis/treatment-options/alternative/diet/

    For me, potatoes are almost as bad as alcohol.

    Lastly, I started acupuncture a few weeks ago and although I was skeptical in spite of the research, I have seen an improvement in my symptoms. Of all of the UC treatments, this one is actually enjoyable. Best wishes!

    William

  9. Conquer UC August 23, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

    Wow that is wonderful: can i ask what is the name of the chinese herbal formula that you tried?

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