A while back I asked what questions you guys wanted me to answer or content that you wanted to see on here. I want you know that I am so grateful for you reading, following and contributing to my content and I want to address all of your suggestions and questions. One of the things that a reader asked was what my exercise, diet and weight loss secrets were.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down to write a post about just this topic before. While it’s a very personal topic for me, I like when bloggers I follow, share a little of their personal lives as well, so that’s what I’m going to do today. While this is not a very “pretty” topic, it’s one of the things that has made me, me and something that I have learned to live with. Hopefully by reading this you will gain a little bit more insight into the person I have become and learn a little something as well.
So, here it goes…(breathe)
If you’ve been following me over this past year, my first (almost) full year of blogging, you may have noticed that there were several occasions where I wasn’t consistently posting Monday, Wednesday and Friday like I’ve promised I would do. While some of them were due just to life happening, a lot of them were due to something that I struggle with on a daily basis. In 2011 after about 4 years of doctors, endless prescriptions, hospitals, x-rays, surgeries, CT scans and not really knowing why I was having such horrific pains, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC.) Ulcerative colitis is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease or (IBD.) Some of you may have heard of it’s more well-known sister, Crohn’s Disease. UC is much like Crohn’s but it’s inflammation in the large intestine, whereas Crohn’s is in the small intestine. According to the CCFA website:
“UC is a chronic disease of the large intestine, also known as the colon, in which the lining of the colon becomes inflamed and develops tiny open sores, or ulcers.”
If you want to read more about the disease see here.
As you can imagine, having UC definitely has had an impact on my diet and weight. When I was first having problems back in 2007 I lost over 20 lbs. (I probably could have stood to lose it anyways from the 20 lbs I’d gained in college!) But I do fluctuate in weight, depending on how severe my UC flares are at the time. I could be on steroids that cause me to gain a lot of weight or I could only be eating Ensure or mashed potatoes (milk chocolate is the best Ensure flavor, IMO!)
Foods to avoid when you’re having a flare, which for me is almost all of the time, are anything that’s really high in fiber and would be hard to digest. So most fruits, vegetables, wheats, grains, peanuts, popcorn and caffeine. So what do I eat, you ask? I can eat some vegetables, but they have to be cooked really well, raw veggie trays at parties are my favorite but definitely not my friend and I can only have white pasta or rice, not wheat. At first it was a trial and error but I’ve pretty much figured out what triggers problems and what doesn’t. Doctors have not yet confirmed that food actually triggers UC symptoms, but it can definitely contribute to it.
As for medications, my ex-boyfriend used to tease me that my pill case was bigger than his Grandma’s! I do take a couple of prescription pills for my UC, but I’m also currently on Remicade infusions. Every 8 weeks I go to the infusion unit at my local hospital and the nurses hook me up to an IV for about 3 hours. I really don’t mind it and other than the initial IV, it doesn’t hurt, it’s sort of a forced break for me. After my infusions, though, I’m usually pretty tired and sleep for the rest of the day. For those of you who don’t know what Remicade is, it’s an anti-inflammatory mostly used for Rheumatoid Arthritis but has been shown to be successful for UC and Crohn’s patients.
Having lived with this now for almost 4 years, I’ve definitely adjusted but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t completely change my lifestyle. There are some days when I’m great and I forget I even have UC and then there are some days when I can’t even get out of bed. There have been many advances in the medical research of IBD’s, however, there is not yet a cure. My friends and family have been so supportive and understanding and have helped me cope with this disease and I honestly don’t know what I’d do without them.
Whew, well I did it. That was WAY personal, but now you know.
Do you know anyone who suffers from UC or Crohn’s? Are you struggling with some sort of disease or know someone close to you who is? Try to learn a little bit more about it. I know it means a lot to me when someone asks me questions or wants to know more, I’m sure it might to them as well.
Well, I think that was the longest post I’ve ever written. If you’re still with me, THANK YOU! It was pretty difficult for me to write this and it means a lot to me that you care enough to read it!
Please let me know if you have any questions about this. I’m definitely no expert, but I’ve learned quite a bit in the last 4 years and the more awareness I can bring to it, the better! 🙂
As always, thank you so much for reading!
Have a great week!