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Too Good To Be True?

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?



4 thoughts on “Too Good To Be True?”

  1. This is great news Vicki! I’m glad you have found something that works for you. I went to a Crohn’s/Colitis support group once and a few of the Crohn’s people said since my colitis is just in my colon I should just get surgery and be cured. WHAT?! Thank god for or I would still feel all alone.

  2. Congrats Vicki on feeling good! That is such great news, especially considering how much you have been through so far with your UC!!
    I can’t imagine how happy you are to be back in the saddle doing some hardcore training again for the sport you love! congrats to you for finding a solution that’s working! that’s the goal for all of us.
    take care and keep us posted.

  3. Fantastic news!

    Vicki, I believe your story, & others like it, are SO important on this site & to all us UC’ers who read them as they remind us of one thing that we ALL lose sight of from time to time – there is hope.

    When in the grip of a flare, or in a never ending cycle of flare-med-fail-flare-med, it’s so easy to get lower & lower & believe that our lives are non-existent, reduced to being all about one thing – this disease. Stories like yours lift our hearts, our hopes, & give us the strength to carry on & try new things to regain control.

    I’m so happy that you’re doing so well, long may it last!

    Tell me, are you on any kind of supplements or probiotic at all, or is it just the vegan-type diet & Asacol?
    I’m currently on Imuran & have been for 5 months & I’m not seeing any improvement :(

  4. HI

    Thanks so much for your kind words. Yes, feeling pretty lucky right now. It really does feel so good to read your comments – makes me appreciate this site even more. Good news about the Ottawa support group – we’ve got a date, time and location chosen and it looks like five women are coming out – strange that no men were interested…

    Well, I’m only on Asacol. I was on Imuran but this medicine is now another in a long list that I can’t tolerate. I’m crossing my fingers that the Asacol does the trick for me.

    The only supplements I’m taking are chlorella – high in Vitamin B12 and glutamine – helps in recovery after exercise. I used to take lots of over-the-counter supplements including iron, folic acid, ester-c (Vitamin C), and B12 but now my doctor says I’m not to take these since my colon can’t handle them.

    The medicine dance is a funny thing – what works for one person might not necessarily work for another. Have you thought about asking your doctor about Asacol?

    Here’s to many more healthy days. My yoga teacher always says to approach each day with an attitude of gratitude – some days this is easier than others – but in the long run it will keep you smiling on the outside.


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