Dealing with Crohns
I was diagnosed almost 2 years ago with having Crohns disease. This was after a flare up that left me pretty much bed ridden for 3 weeks. After my diagnosis and further research of Crohns, I was angry with my previous doctors. I had been misdiagnosed as a teenager with having endometriosis, which yes that was confirmed. Yet almost half my time in the ER during that time was due to intestinal issues, according to tests. During a 6 month flare up as an early adult, after my daughter was born, I was diagnosed with having an over-active thyroid. My regular doctor kept telling me I had the flu, or another strain of the flu. I even asked him, “How? I haven’t been around many people. None of them have been sick. Are you sure? This is April/May?” The over-active thyroid diagnosis came from my OBYGN 7 weeks into my 6 month flare up.
Occasionally here and there I would be down for a couple days. I’d say about once a month or so from then till my Crohns diagnosis at 29. I started on the diet the doctors suggested to help prevent flares. My list of “cannot have” and “must avoid” keeps growing, while my okay to have list shrinks. Our community we live in is blind to this issue of Crohns and how it affects people who have it. Most food contains black pepper. Pepper, seeds, and nuts are on the top of my cannot haves. High fructose corn syrup, coffee, or carbonation are next. Then comes most veggies including leafy greens. Along with gluten or dairy. I’ve shortened this list to mainly ingredients versus actual food like pizza, spaghetti, tacos, burgers, donuts, etc. It’s challenging in the store trying to find something I can have because most everything has at least 1 or more of the above ingredients. Take chips/pretzels. I can have plain potato chips, but pretzels are out unless there is dairy/gluten free. I don’t have any options for crackers at the moment because they either contain gluten, high fructose corn syrup, or seeds. Going out to eat I have to keep it pretty basic, like eggs, ham, potatos, and bacon. Also emphasizing no pepper. Just simple things a consumer would like, but have little option or choice.
Not only does my diet restrict me, so do the seasons. Because of my Crohns I dehydrate faster than “normal.” The warmer and hot periods really take a toll out. Trying to remember how much water I’ve had or need to have. I try to concentrate on proteins and liquids versus fillers during these months. My family doesn’t always understand and sometimes say “it’s embarrassing,” if we have friends over or are out eating and I get sick. I’m not the medication type of person. Starting on 1 then ending up with a handful trying to curb the side effects. My flare ups are diminishing due to my diet restrictions. Occasional diarrhea here and there. With little to no vomiting. I’m 31 years old with 3 children and a husband. My life has done a complete turn around. It’s not easy out there trying to shop or dine, but I’m alive and currently in control.