Healing

Redistribution of energy

states_of_matter

This has been sitting in my drafts list for over a year and I am stoked to finally be putting words to it.

The basic concept I want to discuss is the wording and general approach to a chronic disease “cure.” Many words surround this. We often will hear that we are trying to beat a disease or battle through or fix it or solve or cure. While much of this can be applied to acute illness, I am not sold on the fact that those words apply to, or are useful in, describing chronic illness. What if, instead of a cure, we were in search of a redistribution of energy? Instead of focusing on “fixing” on our body, we simply rearranged the way our bodies use our cells, proteins, hormones, etc?

Basically, I’m thinking…it’s all the same molecules. We’ve had the same water here since the dinosaurs. And yet, that water takes a million different forms across a million different applications. Why can’t it be the same with chronic disease in our physical (or mental or emotional or spiritual or physiological) body?

The three more well known states of matter are pictured above. Let’s apply H2O to the example: two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. By applying different levels of energy (heat, pressure, cold, time, space) to these atoms, we get water, ice and steam. Pretty damn cool when you think about it. It inspires me because I know that although we are creating new cells all the time, my body is obviously stuck in some sort of rut. However, by changing how I apply different energies, perhaps I could rearrange those cells a bit and have a balance within my body that doesn’t include colitis.

This intention of finding balance through redistribution of energy instead of trying to fix myself all the time has been transformational and immensely helpful recently. I spent/wasted a lot of time over the past 11 years trying to fix myself with results that have been good, not great, and nothing permanent yet. I still have flareups; the disease is still with me. By reframing my “problem” into simply a confused arrangement of molecules, it seems more more doable to become healthy. Perhaps this is all semantics, and that is itself a “cure” by certain definitions, but for some reason in my head, this concept makes balanced health seem less impossible. Which is nice.

PS-I am not a scientist by trade, so it’s entirely possible I messed up a bit of the science here. I will count on Kevin to correct any egregious errors. Mostly I’m just using this all as a metaphor, so work with me here! :)

 

ALISA’S MUSIC CORNER

I spent this whole blog post listening to Adele’s recent TV special from Radio City Music Hall. Suffice to say, it’s fairly epic. She seems like a relatively normal human for being a ludicrously popular music star. Kind of cool. I think I speak for the rest of the world when I say that “Hello” (although it does make me laugh when I sing Lionel Richie on top of it) is one of the most fun songs to belt out of all time. Feels so good to let your voice soar sometimes! Even if you sound nothing like Adele.

I was trying to link directly to “Hello” but that is not happening in a short google search. So here’s a link to the entire show. Luckily it’s the first song!

 

 

Categories: Balance, Colitis, Healing, Self-love | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Nana 101

Yesterday, my grandmother, Michaela Marina Durán (née Moreno), would have turned 101 years old. She passed away in 1985, when I was three years old. Consequently, I don’t know her too well, but one of my earliest memories of love is from Nana. I have a strong image of her in the doorway at 558 Ramona, holding a baby (although I can’t think of who that would be…maybe a toddler version of Monica or Justine :)). I don’t have any words associated with the memory, just a clear image. And a powerful, visceral feeling of love coming from her.

It’s difficult for me to conceptualize the time period she must have lived in or her life in general. 1914 was such a different time for women, especially women of color. She was the mother of eight children, and I’m told she also miscarried three times. 11 pregnancies…I cannot even imagine. Having only one baby makes me question her overall sanity for going forward with the process seven more times. ;) There have been multiple times already over my one year of motherhood and 9-10 months of pregnancy that I have asked Nana for strength and felt her love in return. When I was going through my insane labor process, I felt her very brightly and I know she helped me stay alive and healthy to push out my baby boy.

Why talk about this now, after a full year of silence on this blog? Why visit these memories? I don’t know, really. I was in yoga last night and during savasana, it dawned on me that I’ve been receiving a lot of messages lately. These messages are becoming more loud and urgent in my brain, and are even showing up in my dreams. I have a calling to serve others. I know that, and I’ve known that for awhile. I do help people in my job/career now, however there is a larger audience for me to speak to and I have to start taking those next steps. I want to support others with IBD to find balance. I think it’s the only way I will “cure” myself of my chronic disease. I will come up with a series of postures and call them “Yoga for IBD.” It’s a concept my friend Joel cae up with and tried to get me to help with many years ago, but I pushed him away. I will also go back to school and learn more about mind-body medicine model with the intention of helping other UC’ers with their pain, balance and journey. The question is when? I don’t know, but the messaging is becoming louder that I need to start something quickly. My first step is returning to my writing. And today I wanted to write about Nana’s love.

I don’t have many pictures of my grandmother here at the house. Just three really. Although they are prized possessions to me. Two of them have love notes on the back from Pop, my grandfather. They were married on April 12, 1941 and stayed together until she passed in 1985. These love notes were from 1938, when he was still in treatment for his tuberculosis and she was there for a visit. It is moving to read his words of love to her, penned so beautifully, so long ago. I now see why my dad is such a romantic.

Anyway, this post is a ramble, but I needed to get it done. I will be taking the next steps toward my recovery and eventual balance with my colitis, and that all starts here for me. Thank you for your patience as I moved through my silence in writing and I hope to see you all here soon again.

My music corner tonight will be courtesy of Ben Harper. I pieced together a video with the pictures I do have of Nana and Pop, along with the other family photos I have here at my house. I don’t have many, still they all show the love and happiness through the foundation that Nana and Pop laid out many years ago. I love you Nana, and Happy Birthday.

Categories: Balance, Healing, Love, Self-care, Self-love | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

2 years (ish) later

LoveOkay, I’m a few weeks late with this post.  Okay, almost a month.  :)  But I did celebrate two years (!!!) of being medication free on August 13, despite my lack of pomp, circumstance or blog post about it. It’s a little surreal to think that it has been two years. And simultaneously, it seems like much longer. Especially if I think if it in terms of alcohol! It helps that I’ve been pregnant for all of 2014, granted…still, I don’t remember the last time I was even buzzed, let alone drunk! Strange. I guess my 30s will be defined by different types of headlines than my 20s. I am okay with that.

It has been interesting comparing Year 2 of living drug-free versus Year 1. The first part of any new adventure is filled with hope and motivation and dreams and pie-in-the-sky expectations. After that wore off, in Year 2, I had to M A I N T A I N. Long-term maintenance can be much more challenging than the initial cold turkey decision. It has been for me in a few ways. First and foremost, I started feeling better! This was a blessing and a curse. And as my dad would say, my lifestyle changes were working so well that I stopped doing them. I started putting different things into my diet, in the spirit of “seeing what works for my body”. In reality, it just tastes good to eat a bagel with cream cheese occasionally. I am human after all. As I was feeling better, I lost that direct feedback loop of “eat crap or get stressed out –> have blood in poop”. I didn’t have the blood anymore and consequently, I had to find new ways to remind myself that it’s not a good idea to freak out at small things out of my control or eat random processed sugar at all hours of the day. Of course, after a few days/weeks of poor decision making, the blood would make a comeback anyway, so, good job colon? At least it’s consistent and I know what I’m dealing with. Having strategies to combat the colitis has been hugely helpful during this second year.

Socially, the long-term maintenance has been way easier than the first year. People adapted so easily to my strict eating habits that when I began deviating from them after awhile, they were kind of confused. Especially after I got pregnant and my colitis was SUPER AMAZING. Gotta love the upside of hormones. I was eating whatever I wanted with no repercussions at all. Now that the pregnancy is almost at an end (is it Sept 19 yet??), I am noticing the return of traces of blood, small changes in my acne, slight shifts in my hair, etc. I love observing it and figuring out how to return my body back to balance. It’s like a crazy Jenga game.

I think the hardest part of long-term maintenance is the most obvious: staying committed. It’s like being an addict. You have to take it one decision, one minute, one hour, one day at a time. You have to be okay with yourself when you deviate from the plan. Be nice to yourself and try not to develop an eating disorder.  :)  It’s all a little overwhelming sometimes, which means sometimes you take a break. Relax and eat a cookie and don’t judge it. But don’t eat the whole box either. Work in a little spinach and kale more often. Such a dance.

Speaking of being an addict, I was cleaning a few months ago, and it was stunning how I had hidden the drugs that were maintaining my colitis in various rooms of our house. I didn’t even realize it. I felt like an alcoholic discovering bottles they hid for themselves. I found a bottle of Asacol in the back of the third drawer of my bathroom. I found another half bottle faaaaaaar in the back underneath the sink. I still had three weeks worth of medicated enemas in my closet, just in case. Even though I had long since given up the habit of mesalamine, there it was, lurking everywhere. I knew I had the enemas as insurance in case things got really bad, really quickly and I needed it. However, I had been holding on for such a long time that they expired! The pills were all still good, but why did I have them? I hadn’t taken them in years. As I threw out the final bottle and box of enemas, I started crying. It was much harder than I thought it would be. At the same time, it was incredibly liberating. I knew I was doing right by my body, nevertheless, the finality set in during that moment. Saying I was done taking the drugs was one thing. Stopping the 9 pills a day regimen was another thing. Physically eliminating the option was apparently a whole new thing. Luckily, my incomparable supportive husband was there to give me hugs and tell me I was doing the right thing. He’s incredible. Not sure what I would do without him, but I’m pretty sure it would involve me shooting drugs in my butt through enemas. HAHA! That’s ridiculously gross! But true. Weird.

At any rate, the house is now officially 100% mesalamine free! It only took almost 10 years to get there! It is an interesting, frustrating, exhilarating, educational path, and I’m grateful everyday I’m on it. Plus, since it is a chronic disease, I may as well embrace the journey because it’s not going anywhere! As the name of the blog implies, I feel that I’ve been given UC as a life assignment and the only way I know how to deal with that assignment is through love. Love of self, love of patience, love of mistakes, love of others, love of balance within my body and life, love of food, love of yoga! It’s all very exciting. Thanks to all for the support and hopefully Year 3 will be even better than the last! I’ll have at least one more family member to share it with soon.  :)  LOVE!

 

ALISA’S MUSIC CORNER

In the spirit of love, here’s one of my favorite love songs ever. It captures the emotion of love in such a heartbreaking and accurate way. Makes me cry most of the time when I hear it. I like the studio version best:

Categories: Colitis, Healing, Love, Patient History, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

What’s in a diagnosis?

hello-my-name-is-001

What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.  Someone smart said that once.

I have been struggling with this concept for a few years now, however in the past few weeks it has come up repeatedly for me.  A diagnosis is the first thing we ask about and want to know things are going wrong.  I did this the other night with a situation that a friend is going through with their sister.  Before I could help it, I found myself asking, “Does anyone know the diagnosis?”  In essence I’m saying, what’s wrong with her and what’s it called?  As if having a name is going to solve all the problems of the world.  That’s obviously not how it is, although it sounds very appealing.  Fortunately or unfortunately, even with a specific diagnosis, we must reexamine our entire life when something is that pervasive and life-changing (like ulcerative colitis or bipolar or diabetes or whatever) to dive beyond the symptoms and figure out what is really going on.

This blog post has been extremely difficult for me to write.  I think it’s because I see both sides of the argument very clearly, and I haven’t decided which side I want to take.  Accordingly, I’m going to break it down as if I’m writing both sides of an opinion piece.  We’ll see if I come to any conclusions….

PRO-DIAGNOSIS

Naming the Game: it’s the way to go!

When I was first struggling with my ulcerative colitis, it was a scary and tenuous time in my life.  I mean, I was 22 years old, no real history of illness, and now there was blood in the toilet at the wrong time of the month.  It was weird.  Especially considering my entrenchment in western medicine at the time, I was desperate for a diagnosis.  Just tell me what’s wrong with me so I can take a pill or have surgery and be done with it.  I heard about a case study once of a woman who was going to the doctor’s office every year afraid of cancer, despite being very healthy.  When she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 42, she reported feeling relieved.  She had spent such a long time agonizing over the possibility of cancer that once she had a category to put herself in, she felt as if she had a place to belong.  And I think that is the most powerful part of someone slapping a label on you.  Humans are categorizing creatures and it makes us feel good to have a spot to neatly classify things.  “Oh, you have XYZ disease.  Don’t worry.  We have XYZ intervention/medication and that will be fine.  Here’s a group of people to talk to with the same problem.”  By having a doctor tell me I have UC, I was given a starting point.  I could join the IBD support groups and google relevant interventions and feel good that I was part of a select cohort who could understand my pain.

In spite of a common diagnosis though, my UC looks incredibly different from all of the other UC patients that I’ve met over the years.  In fact, from the anecdotal perspective that I’ve experienced thus far, no two patients seem to express UC the same way.  Some have to go to the bathroom 20 times a day.  Some go 2-3 days without pooping.  Some eat meat and bread like it’s going out of style.  Others can only find relief in vegetables and fruits.  Some have tons of blood in their stool, some have none at all.  Some have crazy gas pains and acid reflux, others have never experienced such symptoms.

Which leads me to…..

CON-DIAGNOSIS

Name, schname: what’s the flipping point??!

The importance given to a diagnosis is downright dangerous at times, whether it be for a physical or mental illness. Many people find themselves over-identifying with their disease.  Extremists may even use it as an excuse to do or not do things.  At this point of my life/illness/balance though, I don’t think there is a single diagnosis that I could personally receive that would make me change how I treat it.  Now, this may be a bit unfair given all the work I’ve done over the last 9+ years wrestling with a diagnosis.  If I were going through this process without an initial diagnosis, would I be able to attack it in the same way from the beginning?  It’s cute for me to sit here with 20/20 hindsight and say, “Well going forward, I know this is what I would do” because I’ve already been through it.  And maybe we all have to go through it to figure out what works best for our body.  However I am hopeful that even if I had an undiagnosable disease at this point of my life, I would have solid steps and interventions to make my body the best version it could be.

I prefer to think of a diagnosis as a conversation starter.  “Hey you have schizophrenia?  Great, here’s an area to begin, only know that this isn’t the end all/be all for the rest of your life.”  Even something simple like a common cold is extremely vague and unique to the person.  There are medical and homeopathic remedies that work for one person that will never work for another.  Basically the diagnosis is nice and all, but doesn’t answer the true questions or do the real work of finding a cause and treating that.

A few years ago, The Soloist, with Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr. was released in theatres and it wasn’t the greatest movie ever, but it deeply moved me.  In 2009 when it came out, I was in a bad place with my colitis and was extremely unclear about what I was going to do next.  None of the medication was working anymore and I was feeling stuck.  The main character (Jamie Foxx) has fairly severe mental illness and it was very hard on his family and those around him who wanted to help him.  In one scene, there is a group counseling session and a character remarks:

I mean, it’s tired. It’s like they can’t find the medication that’s right for me, you know?”

Whew.  I started crying just by her saying that!  haha.  I’m emotional.  Still, it is SO FRUSTRATING despite having a “diagnosis” that doctors can’t seem to help you.  They have a honest motive, yet medicating a chronic illness is so…..ineffective.  It’s hard on the patient and the doctor.

The best scene though was when Robert Downey, Jr. was talking to the man running the support group.  He still was learning about Jamie Foxx’s condition and desperately wanting to help the only way he knew how.  Here is their exchange (I can’t find it on youtube.  It is about 47 minutes in to the movie if you own it or rent it.)

Robert Downey, Jr, talking about Jamie Foxx: What does he have, schizophrenia?

Group Leader: I don’t know.

Well, we should hook him up with psychiatric services and find out, right?

Yeah…I don’t get too hung up on diagnosis.

What do you mean?

What do I mean?

But how do you help someone if you don’t know what they have?

Look at these people. Every one of them’s been diagnosed more than you can imagine. And as far as I can tell, it hasn’t done them any good.

But he needs medication, right?

I’ll tell you one thing he doesn’t need: one more person telling him he needs medication.

This scene made a lot of sense to me on many levels. To be fair, it comes out of an exasperated situation where people are at the end of their rope.  Would the group leader have the same opinion if all them had never been given a diagnosis or talked to a professional at some point?  Probably not.  I guess at the end of the day, the diagnosis is important only as much as it can help you.  As long as you (or your practitioners and healing helpers) aren’t falling on your disease like a crutch, then it can be productive.  Writing things off simply because of a disease title…well I can’t seem to wrap my head around that one.

I’d love to hear your opinion!  Either here in the comments or in an email or in person next time I see you!  I am fascinated by this right now and want more input as my opinion forms….and then of course I’ll change my opinion 50 times after that.  :)

 

ALISA’S MUSIC CORNER

The Beatles!  Maybe you’ve heard of them?  I’ve been listening to them a lot this week.  They have so many ridiculously amazing songs; it’s hard to pick one to talk about.  I’ll pick a cover actually.  The best cover of Let It Be (in my opinionated opinion, of course) was from the movie Across The Universe.  In the movie, they took Beatles songs and made a musical with only a small amount of dialog which was interesting.  The intention and creativity behind the song choices was very well done despite the movie itself being kind of slow.

On the DVD extras, they show behind-the-scenes footage of the supremely talented woman chosen to sing Let It Be.  This is not on the youtube clip, but the director had asked the woman to simply think about the 1967 riots in Detroit and the meaning of the lyrics as she was singing.  Those riots raged for 5 days and included the National Guard, army, tanks and machine guns.  The riots left behind 43 dead, 1,189 injured, 7,200 arrests and over 2,000 buildings destroyed.  It is devastating to think about.

Wow, I must be my father’s daughter, bringing it to war culture out of nowhere!  Nevertheless it gives you a little context for this clip.  Those darn Beatles sure know how to write a moving song.

 

Categories: Balance, Colitis, Diagnosis, Healing, Patient History | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Yoga

sun-salutationWhen talking to a friend over the weekend, he mentioned that he had been going to yoga a lot recently and that he, his wife, and his new baby were all better off because of it.  He is debating taking the teacher training at CorePower (which, of course, I gushed about…not biased at all seeing as that’s where I teach), and he wanted to know if it deepened or weakened my practice.  That question put the fire under me to write this post that has been sitting patiently in my brain until now: WHY YOGA?

For me personally, I practice yoga because…..actually, let’s back up.  A little history with why I started yoga to begin with, why I continued with yoga, and why I am waking up to practice tomorrow morning despite writing this post well past midnight.

I took my first yoga class at CorePower Yoga (or CPY) back in March 2009.  As an understatement, I’ll say that I was not hooked right away.  This was not love at first pose.  I, in fact, was only there because my friend Silvia invited me and I have a hard time turning things down.  Plus I think Silvia is cool and I wanted to be cool too.  Combine that with the fact that my sister had already been practicing yoga for a few years and was chirping at me to get in the studio ASAP!!!  Like most things Michelle insists that I will like if I just freaking try it already, I resist as much as humanly possible, inevitably give in, and invariably fall in love with said suggestion.  It’s a fun cycle.  For me, anyway.  Not sure about her sisterly interpretation.  :)

Off I went to yoga class.  And it was honestly pretty terrible.  I won’t say I hated it, but I definitely did not enjoy it.  But Silvia kept inviting me to different yoga studios around PB and it became a little bit of a Saturday morning outing for us and a few others.  I didn’t go consistently, but I went….semi-regularly.  At the time, I knew I had to do something active and I couldn’t find an adult dance studio that I liked.  That’s what I really wanted to do was dance.  I loved my adult jazz class that I grew up with (started sneaking in when I was 12 despite the minimum age being 13), but there was simply no San Diego equivalent to the amazing Tim Hill’s class.   So I persisted with this yoga thing, kind of half-heartedly because I didn’t feel I had many other options.

Why did I initially get turned off by yoga?  The answer I told myself: I sucked at it.  And I hated that I sucked at it.  In general, I can pick things up pretty damn quickly.  I take it for granted that typically (outside of sports), if I focus on something for a relatively short amount of time, I’m decent at it.  Yoga was not one of those things.  I was sore, I was out of shape, I was falling over, I was out of breath, I was in my head and I was “bad” at it.  I did not like going in, time and time again, feeling like I sucked.  To add insult to injury, I didn’t even improve right away!  I didn’t feel comfortable in a yoga studio for about a year.  A year!

But I kept going.  A big reason is that there is a ton of free yoga in San Diego, and who doesn’t like free stuff?  I was bouncing around studios, trying out free week trials and figuring out what I liked/didn’t like about various yoga studios.  This one was too hot, this one too cold.  This one had great class times, but a bad location.  That one had a great location, but crappy teachers.  This one was not enough of a workout, that one left me feeling like I ran a marathon.  Me being the Goldilocks in this situation, CorePower was just right.  I like to call it the Starbucks of yoga.  It’s commercialized, but it’s a top-notch, consistent product.  There’s a lot to be said for that.  Plus I loved the format: we did sit ups in the middle of class, it was heated but not ridiculous,  there were classes all the time, and so many locations that I could drive to four studios within ten minutes of my house.  They have beautiful locker rooms with hairspray and tampons always stocked….they know their audience.  I decided to become a member a full year after that first class.  As you may remember, 2010 was a big year for me trying to finally take care of myself and not be such a doofus anymore about my health.

As I found out along the way, yoga is not something you can suck at.  Turns out the answer I told myself years ago (“I sucked at it”) isn’t actually the true one.  The true answer is that I was not ready to embrace yoga, or to embrace change in my life.  If you compare my yoga timeline to my food/nutrition/lifestyle timeline, yoga came first.  Well, technically the chiropractor came first, but yoga was a close second.  :)  And most importantly, yoga has stuck around the longest.  I think it was inevitable that I stuck with it.  It almost wasn’t even a choice.  I think my ego told myself that I had to keep going in order to “get better” at it.  The reality is that my body needed it, my spirit needed it, and the universe used my ego as the carrot to keep me going back.  Honestly, I’m so grateful that I have yoga now in my life, that I don’t care why I kept going.  I’m just glad that I did.

Being the person I am, I took CPY by the horns once I got there.  I enrolled in a few boot camps, I started cleaning as a trade to get free yoga all the time, I became pretty immersed in the culture and actually starting enjoying myself.  I had a few cathartic moments on the mat and was finally hooked.  Pretty soon, everyone was trying to talk me into teacher training.  I had zero intentions of becoming a yoga teacher.  I’m still not 100% sure why I decided to do it.  However it happened, in the fall of 2011, I found myself enrolled in a 200-hour teacher training program for an activity I had only taken seriously for less than two years.  I was in way over my head.

Teacher training is a 8 week format at CPY.  That’s 200 hours to get done in 8 weeks.  I was extremely naive about how quickly I could become trained.  Even in a 10 week format, that’s an extra 20 hours a week to your normal routine!  Luckily (?), CPY makes you do what is called an “extensions” program once you are done with the first 8 weeks, which meant I then had an additional 4 weeks to get more teaching practice in, and to finalize my hours.  Although teacher training was a grueling process, it was one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done in my life.  It changed how I approach my mat, each of my postures, my breath, my life.  That was the one life-changing event where yoga went from a task I enjoyed to an activity that affected my mind-body-spirit health.  There is SO MUCH to learn and teach about yoga that cannot be contained in this blog, but suffice to say that it truly changed my life.  I now teach twice a week and try to practice three times a week, although I don’t always hit that mark.

One of my fellow UCers once said to me that they are pursuing this holistic lifestyle as a treatment method because they prefer meditation, not medication.  That sums up where I am with yoga today.  Yoga has introduced me to meditation, retreats at the Chopra Center, regular therapeutic massage, and I know that I would still be on my medication if not for yoga.  The short answer I regularly give people when they ask why I practice yoga is that it allows me to breathe.  If only for one hour, I allow myself to shut up, breathe, meditate in motion, and relax.  There is incalculable benefit for deep breathing all on its own!  Yoga inspires me, forces me, enables me to keep breathing.  Today, that’s my why.

ALISA’S MUSIC CORNER

I found this band….or actually, Spotify thought I would like this band (cocky jerks!), called Lake Street Dive…and Spotify was right.  I like them.  They can get a little repetitive, but the lead singer has a really cool Alabama Shakes meets Adele thing going for her.  Two great people to rip off if you ask me.  I was listening to their studio album, but then Jon found this fun video of them singing Jackson 5 live and I was sold.  Check it out!

Categories: Balance, Colitis, Healing, Yoga | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

One year later

calendar

A peek into my day today:

  • Wake up!  Hooray, I’m still here!
  • Take two probiotics
  • Go to the bathroom….another great bathroom trip!
  • Get dressed, grab my fresh green juice and head to yoga
  • Have an awesome yoga class with one of my favorite teachers, Tara
  • Come home, eat a homemade Clif bar, finish my juice, get ready for work
  • Simmer my ayurvedic tea for 10 minutes before putting it in my adult sippy cup
  • Head to work, eat leftover yellow curry with lots of veggies and brown rice/quinoa for lunch
  • Snack on nuts, dried mango, grapes, fresh orange/carrot juice
  • Come home, take my multi-vitamin, triphala and curcumin with aloe vera juice
  • Put the SCOBYs into the new batch of kombucha I started last night
  • Eat a salmon burrito and black beans with my beautiful husband
  • Write a blog entry
  • Take one more probiotic
  • SLEEP!

Whew!  Why is today so important that I felt I had to chronicle the whole thing?  Because today is the official one year anniversary of me not taking any medication.  It completely snuck up on me!  It doesn’t seem possible that I haven’t had a hamburger for a year.  How have I survived?  It has been an interesting road.  The experience has been a struggle at times, but worth every second in the end.  If you could look back even just a few years, this daily routine would have seemed ridiculous!  I mean, everything I do is shrouded in hippie-ness.  I love it, it’s just odd to reflect back on how much has shifted over the years.  Gradual changes and tiny steps… and then one day you look around and it’s all new!

I need to once again thank YOU, my friends and family for your seemingly unending support during this last year.  You have all been really patient with my strange food behavior and my sober ways.  Especially when I was being uber-strict, it was tough to maintain socially.  But no one ever made me feel bad or weird or whatever for doing what I was doing.  In fact, it went the other way, where many friends and family members shifted their own approach to food as a result of this blog and how I’ve been eating.  Most notable are my two amazing parents.  Over the last year, my dad has lost 100+ lbs, my mom completed yoga teacher training and actually started some self-care practices….my dad is even walking!  These are things that I used to only dream about.  I’m insanely proud of them.  So thank you to you all for making that happen through your understanding.

In terms of the colitis itself, I keep getting better and better!  This last month in particular has been really smooth and virtually symptom-free.  It’s pretty incredible.  I’ve already started to ease up on my eating habits, and have transitioned into being more flexible with bread or cheese here and there.  I’ve even had a few drinks!  Gasp!  haha.  Still no meals of steak and ribs or anything like that, but I found that I was becoming a little obsessed with the food I was eating.  And as I am constantly reminding myself, it’s not ALL about the food.  I didn’t want to develop an eating disorder, which I could feel brewing.  So I instead found patience with myself, allowed a moderate amount of processed foods to enter my body and I took them in with love.  For the most part, it is okay when that stuff happens.  I can feel in my body where it is off after I derail from the plan, but the whole system is nowhere near as sensitive as it was.  It’s pretty exciting.

At this time last year, I was having 3 or more painful bowel movements per day that were mostly or entirely blood.  I wasn’t even moving real product anymore.  I had the “burny butthole feeling” virtually all the time.  I was bloated, gassy and pretty sad about the whole thing.  I was still taking 3 pills, 3 times a day of asacol and its effectiveness had gone to zero.  I knew I had to make a drastic change (well, many drastic changes), but even so, it was a risk.  Thank goodness it paid off, and then some!  I’m so glad it did.  What a difference a year can make!

Here’s to many more years of learning, growing and continuing down the path of healing!  Cheers!

 

 

ALISA’S MUSIC CORNER

Rent

 

I think it’s safe to say that I grew up listening to the musical Rent.  I think I’ve seen it three times?  I forget.  But I must have listened to the soundtrack at least 200 times (almost as many times as Les Mis).  Every time I hear “Seasons of Love,” I fall even more in love with the whole show, and most of the time I end up in tears.  I can’t think of a better, more fitting measurement of this last year, medication free.   Measure in love.  Enjoy!

Categories: Colitis, Healing, Patient History | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

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