Hey Man, how’s it going??? Last time I wrote to you, maybe a year or two ago, I was in really bad shape. I want to give an update to my story (awesomeness alert: there is a great, happy, happy, joy, joy ending to it!) Thank you for your support, humor and encouragement, you were a big inspiration!
I feel so happy, healthy and blessed
So my UC diagnosis was back in 1992, I was all of 12 years old. There was intense pain, blood, urgency, explosive diarrhea alternating with constipation. This while eating a supposedly healthy diet, lots of health food store snacks and ingredients, lots of whole grains and fruits and veggies and lean meats. I decided around this time to try a vegetarian diet after reading Ingrid Newkirk’s Animal Rights Handbook and Diet For A New America by John Robbins, not for my health, but for the little critters I loved. Long story short, doctors put me on prednisone then sulfasalazine and told me I’d be on medication for the rest of my life. I thought to myself “No way! Not me!” Sure enough, after a couple years I tapered off the drugs and enjoyed colitis-symptom free health :) I had no idea how this happened, but I kept my drugs on hand, just in case! I had a bad boyfriend who tried to get me to eat meat, and when we broke up I was so upset about it, I started eating meat again (crazy I know, but that’s me).
After a few years symptoms came back and I got really nervous. Maybe the doctors were right. I got back on those meds again, but damn if it didn’t get worse with the urgency! Basically I started losing control. I had to carry extra change of clothes, always wear pads and even diapers like Depends Silhouettes covered by booty shorts so no one ever had to know, but it made everything difficult, and my stressful job was nearly impossible to maintain. I was really worried, and started going online to learn everything I could about this god-awful disease. That is when I found your site Adam! I had started SCD and was feeling a little better, but paying attention to what I ate I really noticed my body’s reaction to things, and I did not have a good reaction to meat, dairy or eggs. That left me with little to eat on SCD, but I remembered my previous veg diet and my hope returned. I found a book called Self Healing Colitis and Crohn’s, by David Klein, PhD and I transitioned easily from SCD to the Vegan Healing Diet the PhD recommends in the book. I knew now that I could be healed, but it would take time. My ultra-healthy diet made me lose so much weight that some friends were concerned, so I went to see a doctor who recommended adding grains back into my diet, and for the first time in forever, I had (totally exaggerated Colitis excitement here) a solid poop!!! I thought: this is it! It’s working! But natural healing changes in your body don’t work quite that fast and my poops did not stay solid for long. My guess is my time on the ultra-healthy Vegan Healing Diet did heal me to the point I could better digest fiber-filled grains once I did start eating them again, but the fiber did make the healing process slower in the long run.
I decided finally on a practical vegan diet, I joined some vegan groups on Meetup.com and learned how easy it could be. I went to vegetarian restaurants, I asked other restaurants to make my food vegan or vegetarian (if they did not know what vegan means, I tried to educate, just no meat, eggs or dairy) Nothing that was an animal or squirts out of an animal is a great definition! Also I could find vegan versions of ANY recipe I ever loved online, but to be honest, I mostly shop at TJs where vegan foods are delicious, clearly marked (V) and it’s pretty darn cheap too.
So one or two years later and I am really sitting pretty. No more need for my emergency clothes bag, no more pads even and ZERO medication. I feel so happy, healthy and blessed. Really blessed, and so I want to share my story in hopes someone else might be blessed in the same way.
Love, Luck and Laughs,
Ilona (Lo) Zamora