Flared up with my Flare Up

Allison mom with UCIntroduction:

Hi I am a 38 year old Mom to two boys 11 and 13. After spending an awful week in hospital I was diagnosed at 35 with UC. The GI Doc told me I’d be sick and on drugs for the rest of my life and eventually I’d need surgery. I said “Can’t I heal my body?”. He basically laughed at me. I tried “his way” for a month and said “NO MORE”. The drugs made me sicker with side effects like anorexia, depression and anxiety… and those were the mild ones! Anyhow, I ditched the GI doctors and see a Chiro/DO who is humble and caring and makes me feel like I will live a normal life again when I re-balance everything in my system. I follow a gluten-free diet and I just eat real food and good fats… I avoid sugar, coffee (sadly) and STRESS (my biggest issue). UC is constantly teaching me to be my best person, to ask for help, to have compassion and lots of gratitude. But seriously- it TOTALLY sucks at times! I love being active and being in nature with my kids but sometimes UC robs me of these pleasures.

My Symptoms:

I am having my first flare-up.. it’s been about 3 weeks but about 3 months in the making.

My Story:

I graduated college in May (with a B.S. in Biology). It was hard work but well worth it, well, until I quickly figured out I couldn’t find a job. I spent 3 months straight on career sites, sending out 100’s of resumes and I really let the stress build up! STRESS= FLARE UP! I forgot to keep doing yoga and journaling and meditating and instead stored all that stress in my body. Duh Allison!
So, I am focused on my health (because that’s really the root of everything in my life) and what UC forces us to do. Just trying to relax.
My boys have been quite scared but really helpful and wonderful. They will make great nurturers one day. I’ve had blood, mucous and TERRIBLE painful (like childbirth) constipation. Yeah- I almost never have diarrhea! I am a tall, skinny chick to start so I look
Any thoughts on remedies?
Trying to not get too down. In the last 2 1/2 years I lost my business, my savings and my independence (my kids and I moved in with my Mom). Trying to have gratitude for the things I do have but it is tough when you feel like complete WASTE 90% of the day. I feel guilty that I can’t focus as much attention as I’d like on my kids. I get angry that UC consumes my life sometimes. I get jealous of other peoples health (just being honest). I miss morning coffee because it reminds me that I am not a “normal” person. I wonder sometimes if I am being punished. I get mad at my body for failing me. Geez- does this really have to be 300 words. I’m getting too “dark” here. Thanks for listening. These blogs make me feel less alone and less isolated. Normal people can’t really ever understand.

Where I’d like to be in 1 year:

I will have a great job, living in a great town in a sweet little home of my own with my kids and cats. I’ll be feeling WONDERFUL and healthy. I’ll be active and managing my stress and not worrying about where the closest restroom is!

Colitis Medications:

No meds for me…
Try to eat clean, avoid gluten, sugar, uncultured dairy and coffee
I take digestive enzymes and a supplement powder with (aloe, MSM and some amino acids)

written by Allison

submitted in the colitis venting area




29 Responses to Flared up with my Flare Up

  1. Adam
    Adam September 4, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    Dear Allison,

    YOu are definitely not being punished, no way at all. You’re a great mom, don’t let anyone tell you differently. All you have to do is walk down the street in most towns(at least mine) and you’ll get instant proof of that. It’s crazy what you see on the streets right??

    In my opinion, what you’re doing right now is a great move on your part. There’s so many things that we all have to jugle sometimes, especially during flares. Work, kids, friends, family, finances etc… When you mention trying to get the stress down, that sounds like a great priority to have. One which usually goes way underated, but to me its super important just like good/decent sleep.

    And also, good on you for seeking out a doc/medical partner (doc/DO/chiro whatever!) who you like and respect. Super important, and good move in my opinion. Too many UC’ers are seeing people they can’t stand/respect and that makes coming around that much harder.

    I think you’ve got your head pointed in the right direction Allison.

    -Adam

  2. Yerrie September 5, 2012 at 3:53 am #

    Dear Allison,

    So sorry to hear about your struggle. I recognise a lot. You are relatively new with UC and fighting it. I did the same, but at a certain point I had to accept the fact that it was part of my life. Funny thing was that after I accepted it my life changed for the better.

    My story, maybe it will help you.

    I was diagnosed UC in 1985 at the age of 25, i am now 53. For more than 25 years I took medicines and it helped me survive. Of course I tried everything else (from hypnosis to acupuncture, from ayurveda to homeopathy, from bloodgroup diet to clearvoyants) I think I’ve seen it all in the past decades and it cost me a lot of money ánd disappointments.

    At a certain point I got so tired of those alternative docters who always gave the impression that they could help me; but in the end admitted that their treatment wasn’t effective for me.
    I decided for myself: OK I have tried about everything, I’ve spend so much money; this just isn’t going away. I am having this disease and it won’t be cured. I am going to take my medicines so that I am able to lead a more or less normal life.
    It took me about 25 years to come to this point…

    Soon after this decision I asked my doctor for an lactose intolerance test I had read about. He thought it a waste of time and money, but I persisted and gues what? I turned out to be hyper intolerant for any kind of milk product. And because I was a vegetarian i was taking diary with every meal and in between; yoghurt in the morning, cheese and creme fraiche with the warm meals and of course milk in my daily cappuchino’s. I had at least 8 lactose moments a day!

    Keeping away from dairy changed my life for the better. This bloated feeling disappeared at once, mucus and slime were gone. After a few months I could stop with the medication and … no problems!

    I am now years lactose free. No medicines, no complaints and to my surprise no more colds and flues.
    Is it hard to stay away from dairy? Not at all; there are so many alternatives.

    This summer on vacation I suddenly realised that I hadn’t even thought of taking medicines with me. :-)

    So I would advise everybody with UC to make sure that lactose isn’t causing the problem. A simple change that made my life a lot better.

    All the best to you all!

    Best regards,

    Yerrie

    • Allison-3
      Allison September 5, 2012 at 10:50 am #

      Hi Yerrie-
      Thanx so much for your thoughtful reply. So glad to hear you found your lactose culprit (too bad it took 25 years).
      I had some allergy testing done 2 years ago (blood testing) and it showed an allergy to milk but not to yogurt and cheese. As far as I understand scientifically, the lactose is broken down in cultured dairy products… However, I know there are many other proteins in milk. I will look a bit more into it though bc I do eat yogurt everyday.
      I had 2 days in a row this week of feeling great with no pain, so it was truly a blessing. Today I am having a hard time with a long and drawn out BM- yes I am the minority who struggles with constipation. But- I’m trying to just relax.
      I don’t want to accept that UC will rule my life the way it has and your right- it is 1/2 a matter of perspective, but I think the other half is not losing hope that I can beat this thing permanently. I still have to believe that!
      I am so thankful that I found this site and that I can talk to other people about poop and diarrhea bc my friends and family sometimes cringe!
      I laugh at my situation a lot! Of course I have had accidents in public and I was horrified but then I just laughed and got over it. I’ll get through my BM today and tomorrow will be a brand new day full of possibility.
      Ever hopeful-
      Allison

      • Steve September 5, 2012 at 9:48 pm #

        Hey Allison…
        Cultured dairy is better than straight milk, but the lactose is not completely broken down and still present. Just a quick word of advice. You can make homemade yogurt that is lactose free though. Have you ever read “Breaking the Vicious Cycle”? I’d recommend checking that out as a start and if you like it I can give you tons more information about it and other things that many help…like a good probiotic. Not saying whatever you are taking is bad…but if it was helping you, you wouldn’t be sick, right? The amount/quality really does make a difference. Proof positive…I just started one and I ate a big meal five hours ago. Usually I’d be sitting here doing the I gotta potty soon dance…but there is no distress to speak of and even I’m shocked. If you ever have any questions, feel free to ask.

        Oh and tremendous thanks for sharing your story! I know it seems like it is such a struggle but you will beat this. I know it! Steve

        PS…cool ink!

        • Allison-3
          Allison September 6, 2012 at 6:16 am #

          Steve-
          I have read Breaking The Vicious Cycle- I did the SCD diet for about 6 months but I felt I had a lot of blood sugar issues and other imbalances from it… but that was just my individual experience. Obviously, everyone’s system is unique but I think it’s a great diet overall and many people seem to have success. I basically follow the SCD but eat some carbs too (no gluten). For my personality- it is best to not be too extreme in anything (extreme work, stress, exercise, diet are what helped put me here in the first place!)
          I do make yogurt with my ‘Eurocuisine’ maker (24 hour yogurt). I do a goat yogurt starter and Organic whole milk.
          I am a self-improvement, solutions kinda girl so I am open to trying out anything.
          I do miss coffee and chocolate so any alternatives you’ve tried would be great!
          Also- any thoughts on almond butter? Peanut butter def. bothers me.
          Thx for all your input!

          • Steve September 6, 2012 at 11:14 am #

            Hey Allison…I just suggested SCD because I am not sure what you have tried. You follow it mostly, but allow some carbs. Can I ask what? And how often? Also, this is a silly one but what do you drink? My thoughts on almond butter? Compared to peanuts, almonds are better for us(peanuts are legumes, not nuts). If you want, pick up some and try it but myself? If you can find almonds in their raw form, meaning uncooked and unprocessed, grab a few and make your own. This way you can control what goes in with the almonds and you can make it as needed with a food processor.

            There was a small thing Elaine somewhat hinted at but never covered the way I have read elsewhere. That is how we combine our foods…some things will combine well together in the gut and digest without distress while others will not. A simple but long lost idea that could be allowing your symptoms to stay present and also may have been the reason for your imbalances with SCD. If you want more info about food combining, let me know. Just an example, meat takes a long time to get through the digestive tract. Fruits take an hour or two tops. Mixing the two can cause distress and worsen UC issues(plus all the goodness of the fruit is wasted because it is not digested properly).

            On that note, do you eat any fruit? Fresh or frozen is what you want. Not the canned stuff. I’ll share more fruit tips another time that can help with UC.

            Lastly I would ask what the supplements and dietary enzymes are? How often do you take them? Do you notice differences taking them? If not, I’d think about switching things up.

            Myself I’d recommend what Bev is saying above where I am typing this. As long as your liver and kidney functions are on the up and up, the L-glutamine will help with repairs inside your gut. The astaxanthin is an anti-inflammatory…only catch is it is fat soluble so you have to eat it with fat. I know you are getting good bacteria with your yogurt but if you are eating it and not seeing improvement try a top of the line probiotic like the one Bev is using. It will do wonders.
            Hope to hear from you soon! Steve

          • Allison-3
            Allison September 7, 2012 at 10:03 am #

            Steve-
            Lots of food for thought.
            I will check out the probiotics you recommend. In the past I have spent a ton of money on top notch refrigerated shopped to your door probiotics and when I tested levels I had virtually none- so I am always wary.
            There are so many factors in this condition it makes my head spin.
            As far as what I drink it is mostly water and some peppermint, rooibos and occasionally green tea. I gave up coffee a month ago.
            I def. think once I started to feel better I was eating more sugar and living on the edge a bit… a few beers one night, a glass of wine, some stress and BAM!
            Thanks again I have seen no progress in 3 weeks so I need to try something else.
            I understand food combining in terms of blood sugar spikes.
            I see my DO on Sunday and I will discuss these supplements with him. He got me into remission before and I am trying to just trust in his advice. I did a lot of ‘self-diagnosing’ and my own doctoring and it was usually wrong. I just really need to entrust some of my health to him and we’ll see what happens in a month.
            I am making some 24 hour yogurt tonight and trying to just have the broth with pureed carrots for the weekend.
            Glad to hear you are feeling great and digging up trees!
            I also miss being a super woman- I like being productive it makes me peaceful.
            Au Revoir.

        • Allison-3
          Allison September 7, 2012 at 7:19 am #

          Hi Steve
          Well- I just started taking the digestive enzymes with meals about 2 1/2 weeks ago- no changes yet. Still blood and mucous.
          I am taking a powder in the morning and night for gut repair with l-glutamine and aloe vera (2 1/2 weeks)- also no changes.
          I def. eat fresh fruit and I try to have it on its own. I like simple smoothies too. Right now I have a lot of nausea so it is difficult to eat. I have been making the chicken bone broth and adding rice, carrots and zucchini with a little white rice.
          Unfortunately, I have already lost about 12 pounds! :(
          It’s been a month and I’ve seen no difference in how slow my BMs are with a ton of cramping and pain- again I have constipation not diarrhea like most people.
          Feeling frustrated.
          Thanx for any info.

          • Steve September 7, 2012 at 9:27 am #

            Hey Allison…with the digestive enzymes, I would try something else. They take time but I would expect some change by now and I am suggesting this because I tried the Renew Life Critical Care probiotic(I’ve taken three doses so far—all while so not eating healthy food). Yes, I know things work different for everyone but I saw instant results so I have to share. Two days ago, I didn’t have any of those crazy “uh oh, I don’t feel so good” moments and I ate A LOT of food. Not even one. In the last twelve hours, I’ve gone three times, only once after eating last night and twice today(usually its a lot more than that). Less urgency, almost no bloating, at times I have wondered if I still have UC which sounds nuts but I mean it(I removed one tree last night and one today to boot). My L-glutamine is also 5g a pop, so take a look at how much you get per serving. I would take at least 5g, ten if your more active.

            As far as the astanxanthin, I could answer but I don’t want to steal Bev’s thunder :P After all, I’m seeing results because I picked up what Bev has said works because I was frustrated. Hope you have a great day!

          • Steve September 7, 2012 at 9:36 am #

            Come to think of it…I ate a lot last night too…a late dinner then a second dinner(bigger than the first—told you I didn’t feel like I had UC) after having some pie. I don’t normally eat that much and if I do, I feel pretty crappy the rest of the day/night. I haven’t for one second so something is kicking butt down there. I even had a little milk which is something we should all avoid!

            Also…don’t fret about losing weight. When you find what works for you, your body will mellow out at a natural weight. You’re body is sick and trying to get rid of toxins. Once it does, you’ll see weight come back. It sounds like you might be having food combining issues though. That can lead to some serious cramps and pain—a banana literally almost sent me to the hospital once. Ever read David Klien’s Self Healing Colitis and Crohn’s? He talks a lot about food combining there. Douglas Graham has a book about the same I believe. If you have any questions, don’t be shy. Steve

          • Steve September 7, 2012 at 10:38 am #

            Understandable about the probiotic and also your head spinning…I’ve been there too. This one I picked up at Rite-Aid and kept my receipt in case it was damaged by the store/transport. I get it about following your doctor too…just wanted to share because I’m seeing differences I didn’t expect. Its about a dollar a day too.

            Food combining: That banana I talked about ran into heavier foods in my gut and fermented. So not only did I not get all the greatness from it, it caused a crap load of pain. Pun intended. I distinctly remember having two and I gave the other away!! So eat lighter foods throughout your day…in terms of fruit, melons are best eaten alone on an empty stomach, then acidic fruits like oranges, then sub-acid like apples-pears, then sweet like bananas-raisins. Allow time for digestion(1-2 hours) between groups and don’t drink when you eat(it dilutes digestive enzymes the body secretes. A juicer may be a great investment if you like fruit and are feeling down. You’ll get all the nutrients but start slow. If you want to learn more about fruit/food combining pick Dave’s book. You won’t regret it but I don’t want to bore you with all the details. haha. Good day!!

        • tricia January 28, 2014 at 8:43 am #

          Steve, what probiotic do you use?

    • PeterNZ September 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

      I’ll take the test!
      Hope I’m not as am vegetarian and gluten free. Won’t be able to eat jolly all!
      Cheers,
      Peter

  3. PeterNZ September 5, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

    Mate,
    Get another doctor. Only a clown would say you will have surgery.
    Good luck with it,
    Peter

    • Bev September 6, 2012 at 9:00 am #

      As usual…right you are PeterNZ!!

  4. Bev September 6, 2012 at 9:00 am #

    Remedies?

    Probiotics and L-glutamine. I now swear by them! I am in complete remission and on NO MEDICATION at all.

    I also take that natural anti inflammatory called astaxanthin. Just for good measure!

    Cheers!

    • Allison-3
      Allison September 7, 2012 at 7:21 am #

      Hey Bev-
      Can you tell me more about the astanxanthin? Are there any side effects?
      This is from the health food store/online?
      I’ll ask my doc about this.
      Thanks.
      Allison

      • noelgallagirl September 8, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

        Hi…sorry for the late reply!

        Astaxanthin is a natural anti-inflammatory, and as far as I know…no side effects at all! It is just kelp in a capsule, I believe. It has amazing anti inflammatory properties. Google it on youtube…on Dr Oz’s show…some doctor expert type guy was talking about how everyone in the world should take it.

        It is fat soluble, which means you should take it with a fattier meal or food. I take one 4mg capsule per day, but apparently you can even buy it in 12mg. I don’t think you have to take that much, but it won’t hurt you. Athletes like to take the 12mg apparently…I’m not sure why…Steve, do yoou know?

        Cheers,
        Bev

        • Steve September 8, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

          You asked. :) Astaxanthin is much like L-Glutamine in that in speeds recovery after workouts/prevents inflammation, however, it also has shown to decrease the levels of lactic acid buildup in athletes when running which would translate to other types of exercise that bring on lactic acid like lifting weights. If it decreases stress in the heart and increases blood flow there, the lactic acid info makes sense. Now I want to take it…haha. It also protects the eyes from cataracts and can help with male fertility(interesting). lol.

          If I was taking it, I’d start with 2mg and consult my doctor. Why> There are certain conditions where it could cause harm—allergies to similar carotenoids, hypertension, asthma, and maybe some hormone disorders. Plus, you said you wanted to trust in his care! I hope that helps Allison.

          • Allison-3
            Allison September 9, 2012 at 5:42 am #

            I read all the info online… do you take it?
            I picked up a bottle yesterday by Solaray (1mg capsules) and started taking 2mg at each meal making sure I have fat.
            I see my doctor Tuesday so if he’s really against it then I will stop but I felt I needed to try something.
            Yesterday I had a 12 hour just about non-stop bathroom session… it was really awful.
            Hopefully- I am getting cleaned out.
            I feel raw, sore and still cramping a lot today.
            Ugh… need relief.
            I know this will pass.Trying to breathe and stay positive.
            Thanks for all the info.
            Allison

          • noelgallagirl September 9, 2012 at 7:36 am #

            Thanks Steve. It was actually IN the ‘EYE’ section at the health store! When the clerk recommended it, I was surprised, because I wasn’t looking for anything for my ‘eyes’ per se. After researching it, however, I found out all of astaxanthin’s other fabulous benefits! On youtube, some expert was talking about how great it is and how everyone should take it, on that Dr Oz show.

            I was sold!

            Cheers:)

          • Steve September 9, 2012 at 7:48 am #

            I’m sorry you are experiencing this Allison and wish I knew a sure way to bring you relief. It sounds like something you are eating/drinking is really setting you off. If you don’t already, make a list of anything you have put in your body since around Friday afternoon. You’re welcome to share it with me and I can try to help—I can give you contact information so only I see it if you want. If not, I would suggest drinking just water(slowly as too much will continue to facilitate elimination), and eating foods you know agree with you—avoid all the definite UC culprits. I’ve been there and that was what I did to make it stop. Rest helped as well.

            I do not take the astaxanthin if you were asking me…just the L-Glutamine and the Renew Life Critical Care probiotic without any medications. So far, pretty good although today feels like a down day but in fairness, I skipped the probiotic yesterday so I could start taking it at an earlier time. Keep us posted and do as you said…think positive and breathe. Be thinking about ya. Steve

    • Allison-3
      Allison September 7, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

      Hey Bev
      Can u elaborate on the astaxanthin? I hear u r the expert!
      2mg or 4 mg?
      how often?
      I’m reading it must be taken with fat,
      thx

      • noelgallagirl September 9, 2012 at 7:39 am #

        Boy, I sure hope you feel better soon Allison…a 12 hour bathroom session does NOT sound like fun…yoou’re correct…you DO need to try something natural that is going to help settle things down. Positive attitude, too…even tho it’s hard…

        Bev:)

        • Steve September 9, 2012 at 8:21 am #

          Hey Bev…quick question. When do you take what? If you don’t mind sharing that is. Since it works for you, I was hoping to follow a similar lay out so any help would be appreciated!

          • Bev September 10, 2012 at 11:55 am #

            Steve!

            I WAS taking the probiotic two hours after lunch…HOWEVER, I am now taking it upon getting up on the morning. Absolutelt empty stomach that way.

            I drink the L-glutamine with about 1/4 cup of 100% cranberry juice mid morning…about 10am. Any juice will do. The L-glutamine I have is fermented unflavored powder, so it tastes chalky unless I mix it into some juice. Any type of juice…whatever you like!

            I take the astaxanthin (along with 1000mg of vitamin D) right after I eat lunch, so the fat in my lunch can help absorb it.

            That’s about it! I used to take the probiotic mid afternoon, like I said above, but after reading that you should take them when you get up in teh morning with alot of water, I switched to then. It’s working great!!

            Cheers,
            Bev:)

          • Bev September 10, 2012 at 11:59 am #

            Oops, I was also going to say…you can actually forget a probiotic capsule one day and it seems to have no effect, as long as you’ve been on them for awhile. At least, that’s my experience.

            When I first started taking them, I missed one, and I got some pain. Now that I’ve been on them 7 months, if I miss one…nothing happens…I’ve never missed two tho!

      • James February 11, 2013 at 7:40 am #

        Hi Allison, I hope you are on the way to great health!! I would just add not to forget that astaxanthin bioaccumulates and some pretty credentialed experts suggest that 4mg per day would be the maximum dose.

  5. jeanne grossman January 28, 2014 at 8:12 am #

    Hi Allison,
    We are also at the Jersey Shore, my son was diagnosed with UC last year.
    Just wondering if you could give us the name of the holistic practitioners in the
    area that you have had some success with. Best wishes!!! Thank you, jeanne

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