I am female, 37 (although feel 23), athletic (training for my first marathon!) and active. I love love love being outside and enjoying the place I live in which provides me with an amazing lifestyle. Needless to say, having UC disrupted that. But only temporarily.
First off, I just want to say the purpose of my story is to provide hope.
Because I know what it feels like to think you are alone in your pain and suffering and not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I was there. And unfortunately for us, UC isn’t really a “sexy” topic you want to bring up on the 3rd or 4th date. Tales of pooping yourself can only be reserved for a very select few which makes living with UC that much more difficult.
So while I think this is a great place to vent our frustrations, I also would like to contribute some positive stories of what has worked for me. I was diagnosed about 6 years ago and have not had a flare up in well over a year. It took a lot of time, trial and error and self experimentation to get here but here I am. So here’s what worked for me
1- Allopathic meds – These worked but only temporarily. After a few months the bleeding and cramping came back and my doc didn’t know what to do with me. I was organically diagnosed with ulcerative proctitis but it moved up my colon and became kinda patchy (which he said was odd and wanted to put me in a medical journal! ha!). Anyway, i was not interested in steroids so my journey began…
2- Naturopath – now I will say that overall, this didn’t work for me but it did make me feel better mentally which I strongly believe is half the battle. I had an hour long session with her and she actually wanted to know about ME not just my symptoms. It was the first time I felt like I was being “heard”. Definitely worth a try if you can afford the meds.
3- Acupuncture – this didn’t work for me. I tried a few and, well, nothing. And I really wanted it to work. But it just didn’t.
4- TCM – One of my acupuncturists gave me traditional chinese meds…also didn’t work. But again, everyone is different so I strongly urge you to trying out a bunch of differnet things
5- Lifestyle – this is KEY. my father is a physician and he urges all his patients to change their lifestyles before he prescribes meds. I’m talking diet and exercise. Very basic. You don’t have to run marathons, but you have to at least walk. Even if it’s around the block and back. I know it can be hard to headout sometimes but moving your body is key. Running can actually be pretty hard on your bowel and stimulates BM even for UC-free people. But I love running so I do it on a route where I know where the bathrooms are (when i’m in flare up anyway). I even ran a half marathon in mid-flare! It’s all possible with a little planning. I certainly found swimming to be the best, and yoga…
6- Yoga and/or Meditation – OMG i love yoga. All kinds of yoga. And if you’ve tried it and hated it…try a differnet teacher because they make all the difference in the world. You can also get resources from your library and online. Too many options to NOT do it. Hatha, Bikram, Ashtanga, Yengar…all awesome and amazing for relaxation, breathing, stretching and massaging those organs and bowels back into shape.
7- Diet – well we all know about SCD, but I urge people to try different things. When i am see signs of a flare up coming, I get more strict in my SCD diet. If not, I don’t eat many carbs but i do cheat. I do, however, make my own yoghurt, take vitamins and Udo’s oil (omegas).
8- Mind – it is so important to be kind to yourself. Especially when in mid-flare up. Do little things for yourself. Or ask your partner, parents, friends for help. There is NO shame in UC or Crohns. Even when you crap yourself! Good god it’s embarassing but at the end of the day, I kinda have to laugh at myself. It’s kinda funny. We’re all human and no one is perfect. We have our issues, diseases, quarks…learn to love it. Getting UC meant a lot of differnet thigns for me. Mostly it meant focusing more on health, but it also meant re-examining my life and my choices. What am i doing? Why am I doing it? Am I enjoying it or doing it because I feel obliged? Who am I really? Am I defined by my work? I never really lived consciously before all of this started. I can honestly say, I am about a hundred times happier now. And having to go through this journey is a huge reason.
The best books I found were the SCD diet book and Jini Patel’s Thompson’s Listen to your Gut book. I LOVED Jini’s book because she gave TONS of options. I tried different things out and found what worked for me (which wasn’t always what worked for her). She talks about supplements, diet, relaxation and visualization techniques etc. I cannot recommend it more.
I also highly recommend Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth. This may or may not work for you. But if it makes sense to you as you start reading (first chapter is not great…it gets SO good) it will change your life. It did for me in the best way.
Lastly, find someone to talk to about this openly. Everyone needs at least one person (and not a cyber person) to be able to open up to. I had one friend whom I could tell all my “omg i crapped myself heading to a meeting today!” stories. It meant a lot to me and made me feel so much better.
There is hope!!!!!!
I encourage everyone to share the positive as well as the negative in UC…how has it changed your life in a good way? What have you learned about yourself through this process? What things have worked wonders for you?
My Colitis Treatment Right Now: Partial SCD diet, vitamins, Udo’s oil, homemade yoghurt, exercise, yoga
–Submitted by “Mel” in the Colitis Venting Area