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Week 20 Results! And my colon says “Thumbs up, Jo”

01/29/2012 5 comments

After 20 Weeks on the Specific Carb Diet

  • Have been off prednisone, and ALL drugs, for about a month now.  After a few weeks of slightly elevated sedimentation rates, I am back in normal range.  Note that I have NOT had Crohn’s symptoms, despite the slightly elevated ESR levels- no stomach cramps, no pain, no urgency, and 1-2 BMs a day.  Things have been extremely manageable and I feel like I am controlling this disease.
  • Have had little stress this week, as I took a week off before starting my new job.
  • I have been doing yoga EVERY DAY this week and it has been amazing.  I truly, truly believe it’s assisting my digestion.

Something to note is that my MCHC level is slightly below the normal range, at 31.8 (normal is 32-35).  This shows slight anemia.  MCHC has not been an issue prior to this week, and I did eat more fish than chicken this week, which could have played a factor.  I will continue to monitor my MCHC levels in subsequent weeks- but it’s nothing I’m too concerned about right now, as I have had normal levels for each week prior to this one.  Will keep watchin’.

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Categories: Results

4 Months and 1 Week into SCD Jo. How do you feel?

01/15/2012 13 comments

I’m going to make my official theme song is the Beatles’ “Free as a Bird”– because that’s how I feel.  Freeeeeeeeeeeee!!!! No longer chained to medications, pain, and fear of my future.

Why do I feel so free? WELL, it’s cuz:

  • I have NO stomach pain in the morning.
  • I am COMPLETELY med free.  HUZZAH!
  • Have good, solid poops- usually once a day (TWICE at the most)
  • I don’t even THINK about Crohn’s disease.  Unless, it’s to reflect on how so very thankful I am that my sister Angela discovered this diet and talked me into trying it.  I owe her my life back, and it is my DUTY to tell others with my condition that they owe it to themselves to try this diet!!!

THE DIET WORKS!!! 4 months and 1 week ago, I promised you I would be honest if it did, or didn’t.  But it does!

Deailng with my trials and tribulations of Crohn’s disease the past 2 years has made me so, so angry that I haven’t even THOUGHT about cheating on this diet once.  Seriously- it was “**** you, you horrible disease- I will NOT ruin all my progress just so I can chow down on a slice of pizza and land myself in the hospital again.  I’m just not the type of person that can handle being sick, and going back into the hospital again? Yeah, not gonna fly with me.

So I kissed my pizza and ice cream days goodbye and never looked back since.  I’m still eating a VERY rudimentary, but extremely healthy, diet.  My diet consists of:

  • Scrambled Eggs
  • LIGHT uses of butter and olive oil (some days I don’t use it at all and just broil the heck out of my food)
  • Occasional use of almond flour baked goods (I do it for special occasions- like birthdays, Christamases, etc)
  • Organic Chicken
  • Fish: Tilapia, Sea Bass, Snapper
  • Scallops and Shrimp (only in moderaton- once every few weeks)
  • Blueberries (I’ll do about 3 servings a week, no more than that)
  • Apples (I eat one every other day)
  • Pears (Introduced it recently with no dire side effects)
  • Bananas (EVERY day I consume 2 of these)
  • Avocado (I’ll eat at least one a day)
  • SCD Cheesecake
  • SCD Yogurt
  • Lettuce
  • Celery (In small doses)
  • Organic Applesauce

Things I’ve taken off the menu: carrots, squash, mangoes, strawberries, cherries, tuna, beef, cauliflower, broccoli.  And this doesn’t mean that it won’t work for you– I just paid super-close attention to how I reacted to these foods.  That being said, there’s no reason why I won’t introduce some of them in the future.  I remember reacting pretty badly to almond-flour baked goods at first, but then reintroducing them at a time when my tum was more advanced seemed to have good results.  In fact, in moderation, almond flour actually helps my poops.

So here are the secrets to my success, which I’m stoked to share with the world:

  • Haven’t cheated once.  Been on a rudimentary diet for 4 months.  Will continue to introduce new foods, but I will NEVER cheat, for the rest of my life.  Promise.
  • Stick with what I know, and introduce a new food one at a time so I know EXACTLY what I’m putting in my body and how it reacts.
  • If the food has dire results (ie, minor pain and looser poops the next day after I eat it) I put it in the parking garage.  Based on how adverse the effect, I will either never eat it again (ie, cauliflower) or will give it a couple more go-es before I nix it off the list (ie, carrots)
  • Eat everything in balance.  For instance, if I eat too much of anything on my rudimentary diet, then it’ll bother me (ex. if I eat 3 apples in one day, the tum will be mad).  I take all my own, personal “legals” and make sure I have a little bit of everything so that I’m nutritionally balanced throughout the day.
  • I realized my job was too stressful, so I quit and got another one at a smaller firm.  I let the person that will be my direct boss know that I have this condition during the interview, knowing that it could implicate me for getting the job, but not really caring because my health comes first!
  • Instead of intense, boot camp exercises, I do yoga. And it makes me feel just as strong as my intense, boot camp exercises did.
  • I have had a ton of support.  My amazing brother and sister each bought a yogurt maker and make me batches of yogurt, because they know I’m a busy working professional that sometimes doesn’t have time to make my own.  Because of them, I always have a full stock of SCD legal yogurt and a cheesecake in the fridge.  Whenever I go visit my mom, I always return home with a giant back of organic chicken, bananas, and avocados.  Of course, I yell at my mom because I’m 28 years old and she still buys me groceries, lol- but at the end of the day, I sooo appreciate it.  My awesome mother-in-law will put out SCD-legal dishes during a family dinner and let everyone choose from them, just so that no one asks me questions about what I’m eating.  And my cute husband has been so awesome and supportive about me saying “NO REMICADE” to 9 lab coats and defying them- me, as a regular shmuck with an IT background… not a medical one.

Mistakes I made on the lil 4-month Journey

  • Tried more advanced foods way too fast (beef, honey, too much yogurt, almond-baked goods, cheddar cheese).  From that, I learned to go back to my “Safe Diet” until I get what bothered me out of my system.  Then I’ll reintroduce.
  • Worked out too hard and had a few setbacks because of it.  I now do yoga, and I feel good.
  • Know that if I have a setback, I’ll REST my body, drink lots of water, and chill out on the yoga.  I had a setback in Week 6 and Week 14- and I was able to get out of them pretty unscathed and very quickly just resting and going back to my “safe diet.”
  • Got too stressed at work (ie, “Johanna, you have 3 weeks to execute this project with no resources to work on it.”)  I was able to get it out on time, but it was very painful and I had to deal with a lot of issues because of the obscenely inconsiderate timeline I was given.  At that point, I decided to go elsewhere that will actually give me reasonable project timeframes that I can execute without stopping my life or worrying about setbacks.  Way I figure, you’re at work for 33% of your time on this earth- that’s a big portion! I need to feel way less stressed during the “33% time.”

HUGE, MAJOR MILESTONES, I’VE CONQUERED

  • Fully tapered off prednisone (huzzah!!!)  NO need for Remicade.  NO need for Humira.  NO need for Imuran.  Freeeeeeeeeee!!!!
  • Beat the “3 month flare” that new SCD-ers get
  • Gained weight after losing a dangerous amount in the hospital
  • Symptomless and leading a normal life!!  I’m not consumed by Crohn’s disease anymore.

There will be more roadbumps on the way.  And as each day goes by, I’m more and more confident in this diet as my future.

4 months ago, I was weak, depressed after Humira didn’t work and I developed a dangerous infection from it, in the midst of the worst flare of my life that ensued because the Humira stopped working and I became immune to it, and was scared about my future.  Didn’t want to switch to Remicade.  Didn’t want to schedule my life around hour-long infusions and be “that sick person missing work to go to the hospital to get her blood pumped full of drugs.”  Didn’t want to become pregnant and start a family with mouse-proteins running through my blood.

This diet is saving my life, people.  If you’re where I was 4 months ago- in the hospital, worried SICK about your future (significant other, ability to work, raising a family, etc) and not knowing what you should do, here’s what you should do.

1) Stop feeling sorry for yourself and “GET ANGRY!!!!”  Tackle the diet with tenacity and TAKE CONTROL!!!
2) It’s easy to be skeptical, especially with a-hole doctors in your face saying “You have a 70% chance of failure.”  What the doc isn’t telling you that most of that 70% deals with people not being able to stick to the diet and cheating.  That being said, docs will give you anecdotal percentages that don’t do the science of the diet justice.
3) Be careful!  Diet doesn’t work for everyone.  Monitor how you feel VERY closely!  Pay CLOSE attention to the frequency of your poops, and aim to be anywhere from 3-6 on the Bristol scale for just starting out.

By trying the diet, you have nothing to lose.  Even if it doesn’t work for you or you have too hard of a time sticking to it, the Humiras, Remicades, and Imurans of the world are not going anywhere.

Crohn’s Has Been a Blessing in Disguise

  • I’m smarter and more tenacious after 2 years of dealing with Crohn’s.
  • I’m more in tune with my body than I have ever been my whole life.
  • I’m eating the healthiest I ever have my whole life, which means that in the future, I’m less prone to other diseases.
  • My husband is eating the healthiest he ever has since I’ve known him.
  • I have more energy than I’ve had in 2 years.
  • I no longer worry about my future.

When I was mulling over the best treatment option for me, I remember wishing I could read someone’s experience in journeying through the diet and learning REAL facts- like ups an downs- and pitfalls, and my overall experience with it.

This is why I started this blog.  I hope I can help others in inspiring them to at least try the diet.  Because for me, it is working freaking wonders.

3 month flare is over, and I have results to prove it.

12/24/2011 1 comment

After 15 weeks on the Specific Carb Diet…

  • My inflammation is down 35% from last week’s 3 month flare results, and I didn’t even have to increase my prednisone! I’m only at 5mgs now- which is NOTHING, and am weening down to 2.5 this week and will be totally off the week after.
  • I have normal inflammation level again, which means Mr. 3 Month Flare should be on his way out the door after a 2 week visit.
  • NOT exercising (as in doing yoga and strength training). Still walk about a mile or two a day during the weekdays, which seems to help the condition. Though my inflammation is normal, my body is saying “I’m not ready to exercise yet, Jo” and I’m listening to it.
  • I’m virtually med-free, and regulated. This is my Christmas miracle!!

I was REALLY scared around this time- in dealing with the 3 month flare and tapering off of the prednisone. I’m being 100% serious when I say this- ALL I wanted for Christmas was to feel healthy. And now it’s Christmas Eve, and I do– after two weeks of small flare. It feels pretty awesome to keep beating the odds with hard work, diligence, and hella-will power. lol!

Happy holidays to all! This Cinderella has a good story to close out the 2011 year. 🙂 ❤

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Categories: News, Results

12 Weeks on the SCD, and Jo is Symptom-Free….whee!

12/07/2011 4 comments

After 12 weeks on the Specific Carb Diet…

  • My Crohn’s disease is COMPLETELY regulated. 100%.
  • I feel the healthiest I have my whole life. I’m seriously healthier now than I was when I was 16 years old.
  • I’m loving yoga, keeping stress down, and enjoying my life.
  • I’m blown away at how sick I’ve been in the past– and how I made treating the disease WAY HARDER than it needed to be
  • Have clear skin, shiny hair, tons of energy, and feel positively VIBRANT.  Little high school boys hit on me, and I’m almost 30 for cripe’s sake (#cougar).
  • Have fully adopted the SCD lifestyle and embraced it. In it for the long haul.

I simply cannot believe what a long way I’ve come in 3 months. I’m proud of me, darn it!

The chart below shows the overall results of my inflammation monitored through my weekly blood work. As of December 2, 2011, my inflammation levels are PERFECT. Sedimentation went down a full 20% lower than when measured last week. Colon inflammation levels are still super duper. A+ to the Specific Carb Diet.

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Categories: Results

Week 11 Results. ZERO inflammation.

11/30/2011 2 comments

Weeks 10 and 11 trying the Specific Carb Diet. Tell us about these 2 weeks, Jo.

Sedimentation went down a full 45% lower than when measured 2 weeks ago. You are now looking at a colon with zero inflammation, folks! <applause!!>>  Here’s what I had going on:

  • Went to Vegas.  Walked the strip.  Ate GREAT dinners at great restaurants, all with carefully instructed instructions and ingredient list.
  • Was crazy easy, and I as a result was crazy regular.
  • Splurged on Thanksgiving. Ate lots of delicious turkey and made an <almond flour> apple cinnamon cake with cream cheese (made outta honey & dry curd cottage cheese) for me & the fam.
  • Still going to my job with no problem and not one ounce of stomach pain.
  • Amped up my workouts, and am getting sick little arm muscles.
  • On SUPER SMALL doses of prednisone, on the verge of being weened off altogether.

In short, I am living an ACTIVE, NORMAL, LIFE. Without having to schedule it around bi-weekly shots or hour-long blood infusions.

I know this sounds like such a preach-fest, but it’s not. This diet works.

The chart below shows the overall results of my inflammation monitored through my weekly blood work. As of November 26, 2011, my inflammation levels are PERFECT.

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Categories: News, Results

Week 8 Results …

11/10/2011 4 comments

Welcome to Week 8: two months of SCD down! In a two month period, here are my statistics:

  • No white blood cells in my stools
  • White blood cell count SIGNIFICANTLY down, at normal levels
  • Not anemic anymore
  • Went from extremely high sedimentation rate, CRP, and platelete count to normal levels

The chart below shows the overall results of my inflammation monitored through my weekly blood work. As of November 5, 2011, everything is pretty normal, even after tapering down on prednisone. This week was especially significant, as I finally went back to work after a 2 month hiatus, after being on disability post-hospital visit. This was mentally and physically exhausting- physically, getting around the city (I walk 2 miles a day to my trains- and that’s just to my trains!) and mentally, getting back in the work groove. Despite it all, I obviously handled it well given my results. This is a big milestone for me.

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Categories: Results

Week 6 Results Up: (Cue Darth Vader Music)

10/22/2011 1 comment

Welcome to my first hiccup with Crohn’s since I started SCD.

Got my latest blood work results done, after having a bad week of cramping and “the big D.”  Thanks to my docs and an AMAZING online community of good folks giving tips and support, I feel way better 2 days into Week 7 as I post this.  More about Week 6 Here

Categories: Results