Supplementary manifestations….sounds more lyrical than “new stuff,” or “current updates” doesn’t it?
There’s a lot to share, but I’ll try to keep it to a reasonable amount of words. I had a follow-up appt with my GI at the beginning of the June (seriously, has it been that long since I wrote on here??). He went over the photos with me and re-iterated how well everything is going. Two things that stood out:
1-I don’t actually have any ulcers right now. What? Yeah, apparently it’s just inflammation and mucus. Although this is good news, it is confusing and frankly, disorienting….which is probably a good thing. I think it makes for good character development to have your freaking world rocked every now and again. I’m so used to identifying with these damn tiny little ulcers that I have to now redefine myself. Do I have to change the name of my blog? Maybe I should dye my hair a new color. Do I have to get all new friends and buy new clothes? I hope not, it all sounds like a lot of work.
2-the “healthy” part above the inflammation is still classified as “inactive colitis” according to their biopsies. Although this should not have come as some huge surprise to me, it did. Basically, this stuff doesn’t go away easily, or at all. It’s like the UC is saying: “Hey, in case you forgot, I will be with you for THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. Just making sure you don’t forget and F things up again!” I realize it’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but goodness, it would be nice if it just freaking went away already. And for good.
The doctor patiently explained again why a daily medication would be helpful. It would reduce the chance of another bad flare by 50%. He likened it to a vitamin that you take in the morning, just to make sure everything is running smoothly. He explained it as a topical intervention….it goes directly to the colon, where it needs to and only affects the first few levels of cells. The one he wants me to take is not an immuno-suppressant like many other UC drugs are. It’s safe and relatively harmless on paper. He complimented me on all of my hard work and said I was 90% of the way there. This just helps you get to that last 10%. It all sounds very natural and easy when he says it. :)
Fast forward to a yoga class I took on Saturday with one of my favorite teachers. After working us really hard for 60 minutes (I thought I was going to die a few times during the flow), he had us sit and meditate. He asked us to think about our greatest teacher in life. What it is that keeps us inspired and focused. What keeps us coming back to our mat. He asked us to thank those teachers and pay respect to all of them. I just sat there and cried like a crazy person. I have had amazing, humbling, brilliant teachers. But none of them comes to close to changing my life like UC has. What choice do I have but to be grateful for this annoyingly efficient teacher and spotlight? And I’m close. I’m ridiculously close. I’m 90% of the way there. I don’t want to turn it off now with a prescription. I’m still a work in progress. Maybe I always will be. But at least I’ll have found my way by listening to my mind, body and spirit. I know what I’m doing may not work for everyone, but I am absolutely happy that it’s working for me.
Which leads to my other MD appt I had in June, this time with an integrative, Ayurvedic, yoga teacher who just happens to be my new primary care physician. She is amazing. I am grateful to have her on my side. We had a two-hour appointment where she went through the most comprehensive health history that any doctor has ever walked me through. She (ironically? fittingly?) said the same thing as my GI: Alisa, you’re almost there, we just need to tweak that last 10%. The HOW was different though. She prescribed VSL#3 which is a behind-the-counter, super strength probiotic. I didn’t fill that prescription either. I’m so stubborn! haha. I already have a probiotic that has been working great for me, therefore I’m happy with it, no need for the VSL. She did make a number of recommendations that I am following, though. In terms of herbs, I’m now taking triphala, curcumin (turmeric) and aloe vera juice. I’m also supposed to be doing a digestive tea daily with fennel, coriander and cumin, but I’m still working that one into my routine. In terms of lifestyle, she recommended more restorative yoga, warming foods, soothing activities, and of course, less stress overall.
For today, there is a growing light at the end of the tunnel: I won’t always have to have colitis as a reminder to be nice to myself. It’s fine for now (that’s for you, Papa!) but it’s not exactly a sustainable situation. Knowing that makes it that much easier to let it go, which I’m doing slowly. I’m learning how to be a real person, functioning in a healthy way on my own, without the help and guidance of my colitis.
ALISA’S MUSIC CORNER
Does it make me a teeny-bopper if I love the new Bruno Mars song? Is that who buys his stuff? I don’t even know. I’m not saying I celebrate his whole catalog, but I’m digging his new wannabe Michael Jackson/Earth, Wind & Fire song, Treasure. I never got into disco music overall, but this song is just fun. Check out the music video and you’ll swear it’s actually the Jackson 5 dancing around. Despite what I said on my last post, I do love when people rip off other people and do it just as well or better. So keep on rocking it, Bruno.