My Journey Towards UC Remission
The other day, I read a quote that said, "We are all broken... that’s how the light gets in." It got me thinking about my journey living with ulcerative colitis.
Living with ulcerative colitis
Since I was diagnosed at age 19, this IBD has consumed my life. Each day gets planned according to how I can best manage my symptoms.
Which foods do I avoid? What clothes do I wear for all the multiple restroom visits? Do I have an extra set of clothes in case of an "accident"? Which route do I take that will navigate me near public restrooms? Do I have pain reliever and anti-diarrheal medicine in my purse? Have I thrown in prescribed UC medication(s)? What lunch do I pack that won’t cause me gastric distress?
All of these questions and answers dictate my daily path. At times, it’s overwhelming. But around age 42, a strange occurrence hit my gut... literally.
Reaching for "The Land of Remission"
After researching with my husband's help, I began experimenting with other people's testimonials about finding UC relief. Here are the steps I took that slowly led me to a land I thought never existed – The Land of Remission.
First, my husband kept reading articles discussing whether the Indian spice known as turmeric could help reduce UC inflammation. We found information that covered both the pros and cons of turmeric’s potential healing powers.
I thought, "Well, it's not that expensive of an investment. Why not try it? If it doesn't help, at least I haven’t wasted too much money."
Dietary changes for UC
Next, my stepmother led me to a book entitled "Wheat Belly." Here I learned about cutting wheat from my diet to alleviate some of my intestinal backlashes. In this book, Dr. William Davis possets that grains cause autoimmune and inflammatory diseases through the industry’s genetic manipulation and agribusiness.
Again, I thought, "It doesn’t hurt to try going gluten-free. I’ll give it 30 days to see if I notice any changes."
Additionally, my mother-in-law happened to mention a product that helped end her daily bout of diarrhea. "Are you taking Imodium A-D?" I had asked. "No," she replied. "I'm drinking Metamucil each morning. My gut has never felt better." In my head, I thought, "Isn’t that just an old person’s drink?" But I didn’t want to insult her.
Again, the same thought I had about turmeric resonated: "It’s not an expensive investment." So, Metamucil got added to the shopping list.
Exercise and meditation
During the course of researching, I also kept seeing UC testimonials about the benefits of exercise and meditation. Here again, life showed me cheap alternatives to tackle this inflammatory disease that had haunted me since my teen years. What would it hurt to try any of these possibilities?
That was almost a decade ago. Today, I still take daily turmeric supplements swallowed down with a dose of Metamucil. I continue avoiding gluten food products, work out a minimum of 30 minutes each day, and steal moments of quiet meditation. In addition, I adopted a vegetarian lifestyle three years ago.
Maintaining UC remission
Through these changes, I have arrived at The Land of Remission. Every 2 years, I get a colonoscopy. Through this regiment, I have proof that my colon shows mild evidence of colitis. It has been this way for the past four years.
Do I get an occasional flare? Yes, my colon lets me know when I've allowed stress to control my mindset. When this happens, I tweak my diet and focus more on meditative activities.
Despite the freedom of remission, I still live cautiously with the knowledge that UC remains. This awareness teaches that by redirecting my energies, the light is able to shine through what was once broken.
How open are you about being diagnosed with IBD?