I’ve been gone a long time. Over time I’ve felt more tired and often felt icky.
Had a ton of heartburn. I thought it was because of weight gain.
Each month I kept feeling worse with more symptoms. In January I was traveling for work, states away from home, and woke up at 2 AM in my hotel room and couldn’t breathe. My lungs were burning. Apparently I had inhaled acid reflux in my sleep. It was the worst feeling in my life. Scared the crap out of me! I called my doctor’s office the next day and got instructions to take Zantac and begin a bland diet. Do you know how hard that is when you’re away from home?
Over the next couple months I continued to experience more symptoms more often. There were days that I just couldn’t eat much because of nausea and pain. (One day I actually totaled my calories and it was less than 400 for the day). Finally had a procedure the end of February.
I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Definition below from ccfa.org. This is a disease that I’ll deal with the rest of my life.
What is Ulcerative Colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease of the large intestine, also known as the colon, in which the lining of the colon becomes inflamed and develops tiny open sores, or ulcers, that produce pus and mucous. The combination of inflammation and ulceration can cause abdominal discomfort and frequent emptying of the colon.
Ulcerative colitis is the result of an abnormal response by your body's immune system. Normally, the cells and proteins that make up the immune system protect you from infection. In people with IBD, however, the immune system mistakes food, bacteria, and other materials in the intestine for foreign or invading substances. When this happens, the body sends white blood cells into the lining of the intestines, where they produce chronic inflammation and ulcerations.
It’s important to understand the difference between ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract, but ulcerative colitis affects only the colon. Additionally, while Crohn’s disease can affect all layers of the bowel wall, ulcerative colitis only affects the lining of the colon.
While both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are types of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD), they should not be confused with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a disorder that affects the muscle contractions of the colon. IBS is not characterized by intestinal inflammation.
Now that I’m on medication for the UC and continuing the bland diet I’m starting to feel better with fewer instances of pain and other issues. My appetite is starting to come back. But it still sucks. There are days that I get so frustrated because I’m so limited on what I can have. The hardest part is the limited fruits and veggies that I can eat. I’m back to eating white bread because wheat and multi-grain bother me. I hate that I can’t eat nuts and seeds for snacks.
One of the things that I’m working on that I’ve read that helps is to get at least eight hours sleep. Easier said than done being a working Mom with a long commute. But I’m trying.
I’ve noticed this month that I’ve lost 9 pounds. I suspect it’s a result of actually eating enough calories. That’s the only thing I can attribute it to. Ok, that and the fact that I can’t eat chocolate.
I’m hoping my next follow-up appointment I’ll get the ok to start incorporating foods back into my diet.
In the meantime I’ll keep following doctor’s orders and be optimistic that I’ll be able to eat some of my favorite foods, tomatoes and tomato based products such as spaghetti sauce.