Ulcerative Colitis: Autoimmune and inflammatory bowl disease

Recently I found out that I have ulcerative colitis. Basically, my body things my colon is a foreign entity and is attacking it. It was quite a shock to me, but I’m learning about UC and learning how to live with it. I’ll admit that I did see it as a setback at first, but now I’ve come to terms with it as part of my life. Anyone struggling with a disease or chronic problem can probably relate.

Since I’ve already had chronic headaches/migraines since I was 12, it was a blow to learn that I had one more thing wrong with my body. Does anyone feel sometimes that life just keeps dealing them crappy hands? Are you just waiting for it to get better, and it doesn’t seem to? I’ve recently come to the realization that it’s all in the perspective. We either let our problems overwhelm us, or we overcome them. It’s easier said than done, trust me, I know. I’ve had countless setbacks. For me it has been easier to take it step by step, one little thing at a time. I’ve just been taking it one day at a time, and one minute at a time. I’ll worry about tomorrow when it comes.

Thankfully, I have a great example to follow. My elder brother has Crohn’s disease, another disease of the bowls/intestines. He’s had it since he was a teenager, and he has managed to live a very healthy life due to a miracle medicine that he has found, and healthy life choices. A lot of people with these two diseases end up having to have surgery to remove parts of their intestines at some point in time, but that’s not always the case. I have hope that I can live a perfectly normal life, just like my brother and many other people who struggle with diseases and illnesses. I also believe that God truly does heal, and I have faith that he will take care of me, even in the rough times when things aren’t looking good.

I’ve started learning what I can and can’t eat, which is honestly the toughest part. Staying away from seeds is essential, so my favorite dessert, blackberry cobbler is out the window. That was a huge bummer. Thankfully there is still peach cobbler and it’s also amazing. I suppose there is always an alternative. That helps immensely when big changes come about in life. Anyway, at first I was overwhelmed with all of the potential triggers of ulcerative colitis. Granola, seeds, nuts, raw veggies and fruits, alcohol, carbonation, legumes, artificial sweeteners or an excess of sugar… sometimes even dairy can be an upset. These I’ve found online. The main culprits my doctor warned me about are seeds, iceberg lettuce, and MSG; msg is frequently used in Chinese and Asian cooking. I’ve also heard bad things about popcorn..

So obviously my options are limited, but it’s not the end of the world. I’ll have to find out my particular triggers and the rest I’ll be able to eat without worry. Not everything I listed will be a problem, I just have to figure out what my body likes and doesn’t like. It’s going to be a major life change. But for instance, I can still eat veggies. I just have to cook them. I can still have a balanced and delicious diet, I just have to be careful of what I eat. My brother eats whatever he wants, not a worry in the world. So it’s different for everyone.

It’s important to take a daily probiotic, with live and active cultures. Whether it be a pill form or yogurt, it’s important to keep the bacteria in the gut under control.

Exercise is imperative to staying healthy and stress free. Stress is one of the major triggers of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. I’m seriously thinking about starting yoga, which is recommended. Stretching or meditating are great relaxers, keeping stress levels down. I’ve been needing to work out for a very long time, this just gives me the best excuse possible. Now that I have to stay healthy, it’ll also help my diet. Lean meats, fish, and cooked veggies will be a big part of what I eat now. That’s much healthier than what I used to eat, that’s for sure. So there are good and bad aspects to this, but I’m choosing to focus on the good things and move on with my life headed in a positive direction.

No one is alone in their problems, we are all struggling with something. It’s up to how you cope with it, and hopefully you have someone who loves and supports you to help you along the way to finding the best way possible for you to live happily. We all need love and encouragement. And to be able to make the sacrifices necessary to have a happier, healthier life is a big thing. I hope we can all do what’s best for ourselves, no matter our circumstances.

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