My battle with colitis

In August of 2009 I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis after a month long battle with some really terrible symptoms that landed me in the hospital for a week.  I had chronic diarrhea and probably went to the bathroom about once every hour.  During this time I still continued to work at my full time job.   I had multiple trips to my primary care physician and some days I would wake up and go to the emergency room because I was also losing a lot of blood.  They tested me for parasites but everything came back normal.  Finally after several weeks of losing blood (common symptom from UC) I was admitted to the hospital.  There they assigned me to a Gastroenterologist who performed a colonoscopy and diagnosed me with Ulcerative Colitis.

Since my first case was very bad, I was told I would probably be on medication for the rest of my life.  The medication I was put on was Prednisone-60mg taper, calcium, Asacol (like way too many pills than should have been legal LOL) iron and I was told to drink ensure to put weight on and get energy.  I had lost 15 lbs and was extremely weak after battling symptoms for a month.  After being on the prednisone for a couple of days I was starting to feel better but once the taper came to an end my symptoms came back.  The Asacol wasn’t working at all so I was taken off of it.

The next medication I tried was Azathioprine.  I was on that for a few months and then I developed a rash that left scars on different parts of my body 😦  They thought the rash was a result of the UC but after coming off the medicine the rash went away and never came back.  It was later determined by a Dermatologist that I had an allergic reaction to the drug.  I also had a abnormal liver function test so I had be taken off of that medication anyway.

I was on and off prednisone for a couple of years because I became steroid dependent.  I decided to try IV therapy called Remicade because nothing else was working.    This required me to miss 4 hours of work every time I had to go in for treatment because it took at least 3 hours to administer.  This was the most frustrating thing for me but my insurance wouldn’t approve Humira (an injection that I would give myself) because it wasn’t FDA approved for colitis.

In winter 2011, after tapering off prednisone, my symptoms started coming back again; the Remicade wasn’t working.  My GI doctor upped the dose but it didn’t matter.   After several months of trying Remicade, I was put back on prednisone, but this time it wasn’t working.  I was having the same symptoms I had in 2009 when I was first diagnosed and knew I needed to do something quick.  I had several more appts with my GI doctor and then he told me that I should start looking in to having my colon removed. In the meantime, as a last resort, he wanted me to drive several hours north and see his boss who would have me start on trial drugs.  I definitely didn’t feel comfortable taking trial medications and I didn’t have time to drive back and forth every week so I started researching natural remedies on how to cure Ulcerative colitis naturally.  I found a program online and invested a lot of money into it.  I learned about all the different supplements I would need to take in order to heal my gut.  Things like VERY strong pro-biotics (not the cheap ones you buy on the shelf but the ones that are refrigerated), digestive enzymes, and so many other things.  I bought an entire months supply of it in August 2012 and started taking it daily but was losing a tremendous amount of blood and was still having severe symptoms that by September I had stopped everything and just became extremely weak and sick.  I was already too sick and healing yourself naturally can take longer than being on medications so I knew that I was going to need to see a doctor again. I started looking into having my colon removed but really couldn’t picture my life like this at such a young age and I became extremely stressed out.  Columbus Day weekend of 2012 I nearly passed out and my husband drove me to the hospital.  This time the GI dr who was on call at the hospital was my GI drs boss out of the local office. He did a colonoscopy and said my symptoms were more stress related this time and I was having more IBS symptoms than Colitis.  Colitis was still mild but not as bad as my symptoms were making it seem.  He treated me on different medication over the course of the week that I was in the hospital.  I also needed several blood transfusions too.

After a week of being in the hospital, I needed to go home because I was on the cardiac floor and the beeping noises coming from the rooms around me were making me crazy.  I couldn’t get any sleep and it certainly wasn’t helping me get better.  I was on short term disability at work and was on a low dose taper of prednisone as well as a medication combination he created that would bypass the active ingredient in Azathioprine that way I wouldn’t have another allergic reaction.  I continued on this treatment until about March 2013 when I came across this Tony Horton video on Shakeology

I noticed that a lot of the supplements he listed were the same ones I was taking as part of the heal my gut plan the previous summer so I decided to drink Shakeology every day. This was a lot cheaper than buying the supplements individually.  I was drinking it before but had to stop due to being so sick.  After one month of drinking Shakeology, I was feeling 100% better and it was at this point that I decided to completely come off all medication and see how I would do.

I can now tell you that 5 months later I am still off all medication and I am still 100% better and cannot be happier.  I have my life back and I will never stop drinking this shake.  Is it possible for my symptoms to come back?  Of course, because even on medication you can relapse.  Ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune disease. With UC, the immune system is over-reacting so Drs. treat patients with medications that weaken the immune system. This causes people to be at greater risk for infection, disease and even cancer! I was told to avoid people who were sick or even had colds; I have kids who get colds often and I need to be there to take care of them so there is no avoiding illness. Now that I am on Shakeology, I am actually strengthening my immune system but causing it to balance. It’s a life changer for me and I’m so thankful that I have my health back.

I hope if you take anything away from this it’s that you invest in yourself and do some research.  Some doctors like to push medications on you but you don’t always need them.  I am happy to say that I switched GI Drs to the one who saw me in the hospital and I have never felt better about a decision in my life.  He did a sigmoidoscopy and said I have no active inflammation.  I will certainly update you once I have my next colonoscopy.

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