getting the y(uc)k out, part 1

so this cheesy title has double meaning: 1) getting rid of the junk foods in my life that are keeping my health less than what it could be and 2) what has helped me overcome my symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis. * Also i just realized that this title could seem like i am using yuck in place of the less than favorable “f” word.but i can assure you this is an unintentional, albeit, hilarious coincidence. :)

here’s the deal, i have been meaning to write about my UC since i started blogging, but it seemed like such an undertaking to document my life with it thus far. however, i realized i don’t need to do it all in one shot, so this may be broken up into many blogs, and i think i will always write about my current progress with it.

a little back story: i was diagnosed with UC when i was 8 years old. yuck. throughout my almost 20 year battle i have sought and accepted traditional pharmaceutical medicine to treat my symptoms. (if you would like to know more about symptoms of UC you can check it out here).  i was always told that i can only hope to ride out my flares, as they are called, and hope that the medicine i needed to take (12 pills a day) would keep my symptoms at bay for a while in between each flare. i would have a flare, feel really awful for a while (up to 2 years at a time..), then my symptoms would subside and i would have months or even years without any flares….and then the cycle would repeat. it was exhausting, and scary, and defeating, and hopeless…

Last year in december i was having another flare, but this time it was really affecting me emotionally. more than before. i was really tired mentally, emotionally, and physically. just tired of fighting it. tired of worrying about this turning into cancer someday, but most importantly, tired of not being able to enjoy or appreciate life like i wanted to because of my fear, worry, and symptoms.  it was a really low moment for me with my battle with UC. i don’t remember ever being that discouraged before. there were many nights that pauly would sit up with me as i would cry and process and struggle with all my anxiety and frustration around my disease.

i was praying and praying that God would just heal me, (as i have since i was little) but He works in mysterious ways :) i was on the internet one night trying to find natural remedies hoping that maybe that route would work to heal my colon. i liked the idea of trying to heal my colon, not just survive flare to flare.

i had become a vegetarian about 2 years prior and saw how much that lifestyle change helped ease my digestive issues. i was already moving in the way of natural medicine, i guess, but didn’t really realize fully what it meant. i knew that certain foods upset my symptoms, and that certain foods made me feel better but other than knowing that, i didn’t give it much thought.

so back to that night on the internet, i happened to stumble upon a section of a hospital here in the twin cities that also offered naturopathic doctor services. i called the next morning to a woman name dr. nita champion to see if she would have an opening to see me. after speaking with her for a few minutes, (longer than any doctor had ever spoken to me about my symptoms in my life!) she told me i would be a great fit for her husband, dr. nate champion. he has ulcerative colitis himself, healed his body completely through natural medicine, and now works for a clinic that offers support to others with UC, crohns, and other IBD conditions. it was unreal. i called him immediately and set the appointment.

on my first visit, dr. champion took 2 hours (2 hours!) with me to talk not only about my physical symptoms, but also how it was affecting me emotionally. he completely understood what i was going through, having gone through it himself. it was like nothing i have ever experienced before with my UC. i bawled on the way home, calling paul and telling him that i think this was really going to work, that i felt reassured that i was going to be okay for the first time in years.

in a few upcoming blogs i will talk about what specifically i did to get my symptoms under control, but i don’t want this to get too long. :) so that’s the beginning at least…..

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