I’m not going to sugar coat this. 2012 was the most physically, mentally and spiritually difficult year of my life. As the months went by, I could feel my body aging and deteriorating. I know what it felt like to be in my 90s, and at times, to feel better than I have ever felt. Random pain, stiffness, mood swings, and a host of symptoms came and went. By faith, though, I never let up and by determination, I made this blog and learned as much as I could to find an answer. I encourage you to review my comprehensive blood tests below to see the progression throughout 2012. I hope these results will encourage some of you to see that food is medicine.
Comprehensive Blood Autoimmune Tests
- While on Enbrel (12/6/11)
- Off of Enbrel (4/18/12) – Note the high SED rate + C-Reactive Protein (both markers of inflammation)
- Test on 8/21/12 – Hemoglobin/Hemocrit lowered (might be sign of anemia), but SED rate went from 101 to 37! Also note the major decrease with IL-6 (19.98 down to 12.10) but increase in IL-4 (<3.20 up to 8.34) when measuring the Th1/Th2 immune system balance.
- Test on 12/14/12 – Iron saturation is still low and SED rate stayed the same (38), but almost all other tests came back within the normal range (some on the very edge).
On a symptom-level basis, I am almost where I was while on Enbrel a year ago (except for the SED rate, iron levels, and a few other markers). However, the only medication I take today is Asacol HD (treatment of moderately active ulcerative colitis – my main reason for my auto-immune disease) & 1 ibuprofen at night. I currently still have stiffness, fatigue (especially at night after 7pm), soreness (especially after I work out / swim). As of yesterday (12/29), I got off Prednisone & Omeprazole and will take a few days for my body to adjust the auto-immunity from it.
December 2012 Cruise
From 12/5 – 12/8, I went on a dancing cruise. During this time I was on 1 Prednisone a day & 1 at night + I brought my air mattress (since beds are always too stiff for me to sleep in). Overall, the cruise went exceptionally well. I was able to dance when I wanted, walked everywhere on the floating city / ship and I only had nightly calf cramps (after 1st night it went much better). I experimented with many foods (some that I’ve not had in over 6 months) and did not receive any major flare-ups! For the first time in 2012, I was able to go where I wanted and socialize without pain interfering. Now that I know I’m only going to get better, I can’t wait until we do it again.
After the cruise I am able to exercise, just not as much as I was while on the Prednisone. My right hip was bad from 12/22 – 12/27 due to reduced dosage from Prednisone and exercise. The good news is the level of pain is about 1/2 of what I went through last time. I went to the pool on 12/28 as the right hip was getting better & 12/29 my mobility was back. Now I am battling stiffness / soreness with my shoulders, some low-back & neck (stiffness). Since my last post, I have been on the Wii Fit + almost every morning until my right hip got bad. My hope is to get back to the Wii Fit+ mid-week, gym / swimming by the end of next week, and I have a power plate session I’m scheduled for on Wednesday.
With the addition of ibuprofen, my sleep is better. I still wake up 1-2 times at night, but the 2nd time I get up is usually 4-5 hours after the initial wake-up. Just last night I was wiped out after 7pm, went to bed at 9:30pm. I got up at 11:30pm, then 5am, went back to bed at 5:30am & got up at 7am. Total sleep was 9 hours – something I haven’t done in awhile.
My weight on 12/29 was 131 lbs. and a BMI of 18.30. Verifying with the doctor, Crohn’s disease makes it difficult to absorb nutrients. My diet continues to be a modified version of the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD).
What’s the Plan in 2013? I’ve talked with many MDs, NDs, chiropractors, nurses, massage therapists, etc. and they all agree I’m on the right track. Since my blood tests confirm it, I will continue what I’ve listed above while learning new healthy recipes and (God-willing) start to focus on the social activities I’ve missed. While I’ve learned a lot in 2012, I’m glad it’s finally over.