I’m sitting here thinking about where I was and how I felt this time last year. In a word: rotten. I was in a full-blown flare that I believed I was managing but really was slowly and surely taking over my life. It is amazing what 20/20 hindsight can do. I learned from that flare not to take my health lightly and to go to the doctor sooner than later. Unfortunately it has taken a year for this lesson to sink in and I had to go through another horrible flare that saw me admitted to the hospital and becoming very ill.
But today on Friday July 8, I can admit my past mistakes in dealing with ulcerative colitis. I think there really is a silver lining to every experience and as I sit here feeling 100 per cent and having my life back, I’ve found the silver lining. I’m stronger mentally. I recognize that I cannot “do everything myself”. I admit that there is nothing wrong for asking for help. When I’m tired – I sleep. I don’t do things when I don’t feel up to it. I realize the impact ulcerative colitis has on my husband, my parents, and my brother. Most importantly, I listen to my body.
Today I am healthy. My white blood cell count is back up and in the middle of normal. My ferritin level is the highest it has been in years and in the middle of normal. My red blood cell count is in the middle of normal. I’m no longer taking Imuran – this is the culprit in making me feel so rotten for the past few months. I’ve got my energy back. I’ve started full-time training again. I feel good.
I am still taking medication – but only Asacol and not a lot – 3200 mg/day. I’ve switched to a primarily vegan diet (I still eat meat once or twice a week). My body feels good. I seem to operate well on fruits, vegetables, beans, and gluten-free grains. I don’t miss dairy – I’ve been off dairy since January so this is not a big deal for me anymore. I do like meat but I find that it just doesn’t like me – it is hard for me to digest and I feel sluggish and bloated with it in my system. I’ve been doing lots of reading about the anti-inflammatory response the body has to a vegan diet – by keeping inflammation down in my body, I believe I can help to control my ulcerative colitis. Time will tell I guess.
So all this to say that I’m feeling good today. I don’t ever want to go back to where I was a year ago or where I was last December. I can only hope that the lessons I learned from those experiences will stick with me and help me through another flare – if it does happen.
Thanks to the inspiration from this group/website – I’m trying to get fellow ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s people here in Ottawa organized for casual and informal coffee/tea chats to talk about our experiences. I think a support group can be valuable – a chance to talk with others who really know what it is like to have these diseases. I wonder if any of you are involved in similar support groups?