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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.