“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

From Walking the Ledge to Running a Marathon

What do you mean I have to share my feelings?
Last night I was chatting with my wife about the sheer and utter joy I experienced reading a new blog I found, Organically Autoimmune, a blog-journal by a woman with UC who decided to try the SCD for 365 days and write about it on the way. You know what she said to me? "You should share more on your blog."
"You like it so much when others openly share their experiences. You gripe every day about how people only write about their successes, how great natural treatments are, and how when you feel like s**t those things don't help at all. So, you should share more about your experiences." 
Okay, so in the interest of keeping my marriage solvent (deep breath), here goes: 
I wish I could go back and journal about my SCD journey, because there is so much to share. Maybe I'll go back through my symptom charts and talk to my wife (because she's so helpful--Share?--in directing the content of my blog). That will dredge up helpful content good stories for sure.
I've been on the SCD now since June of 2009, about 15 months, but I never did the math so for the past two months, I've been telling people I've been on the SCD for 18 months. The diet helped from the start (read my story). But it's been an up and down journey, and I resolve to write some about it on a regular basis, starting now.
Throughout my time on the diet, I've been through ups (Yea, I'm cured!) and downs (My life is hell. What did I eat? Why did I ever do this?). The inspiration for this post comes from a recent, my life is hell, moment in my newish SCD lifestyle.
I take probiotics along with the SCD as treatment. Recently, I got the bright idea to stop the probiotics. I needed to see if it was the diet or the bacteria that were helping me. 24 hours after I stopped ingesting glasses full of bugs twice a day, I got the normal die-off D--one extra time a day for about three days. OK. This is normal. Let's see what happens next. If only I could stay that rational. Now, a month into a probiotic-free life (I still eat SCD yogurt) my stools are still loose, and my gut groans and gurgles like a mistreated septic tank. Crap. Literally. And emotionally? Same thing: I'm gurgly.
To top it off, I just found out (don't ask me why I didn't know this before) that the OJ I have been drinking for the past 15 months, the kind I love with Calcium added, is illegal. Oh, and the applesauce I thought was legal? Also illegal. Oh, and the organic salmon I crave weekly? Also illegal. Where's my research assistant? He's fired!--Oh, wait. It's me.
So in a gurgly, anti-diarrheal fury, I announced to my wife that I was going to start all over. I had been on the SCD for 18 15 months, and it hadn't done a thing! (So was the thinking at the time.) That's right I was going to go back to the beginning and wait for Vicinni--back to a diet of chicken soup, eggs, farmer's cheese, meat, juice, and...well that's about it. My wife looked at me like she had just eaten grass. It took her almost half the day to talk me off the ledge. "Why do you have to be so reactionary?"
Reactionary? No! This is assertive. I'm going to conquer this thing, this damn disease--figure it out--by myself. I. Me. Me. I...I just don't want to feel sick again. I don't want to go back there. Don't make me go back. Don't. 
"Why do YOU have to figure it out? What if it's not something you can figure out? What if your body just needs some time?" Time. "Maybe you could just eliminate some of the suspect foods, and see if that makes you feel better." Okay. That seems reasonable.
Then I read this, from Breaking the Vicious Cycle:
“...Many cases of celiac disease, spastic colon, and diverticulitis appear to be cured by the end of a year. Other disorders such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis take much longer with a minimum time of two years on the diet. A rule of thumb is to stay on the diet at least one year after the last symptom has disappeared...” p. 70
And I remembered that Elaine's daughter was on the diet two years before her symptoms were gone. And I remembered the days when I nearly pooped my pants. I remembered the days when I didn't have the energy to walk a flight of stairs without rest. I remembered going to the bathroom 24 times a day. The point is I had to remember those things--they're not a part of my life now, and that's because of the SCD. 
So, there's one thing I keep coming back to: My last flare was uncontrollable--until I started the SCD. After a month, I was on my way towards a regular (pun intended) life. After 18, no 15 months on the SCD, while I'm not entirely normal yet (about 90% of the way there), I'm running a marathon this December. That says something.
Onward (through ups and downs) to Health

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