On January 14th 2012, I began the process of eradicating my auto-immune disease and attaining 100 percent health. While I grow tired of finding the right combination to defeat the cause, I no longer put a needle twice a week in my thigh (Enbrel); now I only take one pill of Prednisone per day. I’m also closer to finding the root cause(s), not just minimizing the symptoms. From all the knowledge I’ve learned thus far, here is an overview of the current root cause, managing it, and the steps to remission.
The Root Cause
After taking many tests, my main issue is the digestive system. Masking the root cause by taking Enbrel for 9+ has manifested additional symptoms such as hemorrhoids, anemia, and ulcerative colitis (UC) / Crohn’s Disease. Additional digestive system issues include shrinking of the esophagus, lack of absorbing nutrients, Jejunojejunal intussusception, and ulcers. There may be other damage, but this is what I have found so far in the 1st year.
Before I begin, let’s define an auto-immune disease. It is NOT a disease. It is a warning system that says something is severely wrong within your body (similar to the engine light in your car). If not fixed, something major will happen and if not treated, will lead to a miserable life and/or death.
There are three levels of “disease” management that I currently use: holistic healing, medical healing, and inflammation management. Holistic healing includes a modified Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) with a majority of cooked organic food, a variety of exercises (mornings with the Wii Fit+ Yoga/exercises, swimming, power plate, and ballroom dancing), therapeutic massage and chiropractic adjustments. Medical healing includes Asacol HD to repair the Ulcerative Colitis / Crohn’s Disease. Inflammation is reduced to tolerable levels with low-dose (1/2 pill in morning, 1/2 pill at dinner) Prednisone and Omeprazole for acid reflux from the Prednisone.
NOTE: Taking ibuprofen is not an option anymore. I was taking one a night for 5 days, 2 for 1 day and was internally bleeding from it. Hemorrhoid symptoms such as fissures were also coming back. The only good that came out of it was the best consistent sleep I’ve had all year.
Steps to Remission
As my D.O. (doctor) explains, there is nothing more I can medically do right now to improve the situation. I need to continue on the medicine described above and do another Colonoscopy / Endoscopy mid-2013. Holistically, continue to follow the SCD diet and exercise regimen listed above. As of last Friday, I also found the Naturopath I’ve been looking for. Within the coming weeks I will probably start taking Water Kefir (video) and then essential oils (high-grade DoTERRA oils that are digestible) to detoxify the body and will allow my digestive system to absorb the nutrients since the Crohn’s Disease prevents this. Based on the data I’ve gathered, I could see remission in April.
Auto-Immune 1st Year Health Review Details
- Major Milestones
- Tests Taken
- Symptoms / Diagnosis
- What I’ve Learned (helpful health tips)
- Where Do I Go From Here?
- Recapping the 6-Month Review in chronological order, I started off with my Vegan 21-Day Food Reboot + stopped most forms of starch, got off Enbrel for good on February 7th, took many medical & holistice tests, went to Costa Rica, started on an ibuprofen regimen, found out I needed starch (rice), started an exercise regimen, and was able to expand my starches with potatoes.
- Rice vs. Potatoes – A Starch Comparison for Auto-Immune Diets (Sept. 3rd) – Finding the reason why I could eat one kind of starch and not another. Over time I am able to eat any kind of potatoes while I am taking the Asacol HD.
- My Autoimmune Health 9 1/2 Months Later (Nov. 6th) – Moved away from regular chiropractic care, but added the Power Plate rehabilitation exercises every 1-2 weeks. Focused more on a new massage therapist who understands auto-immune, exercise routine updated, changing supplements, and reducing ibuprofen down to 1-2 per day. Due to blood tests & CT scan, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, IBS, Ulcerative Colitis, and Anemia. My SED rate went from 101 down to 34 on 8/21/12 with my comprehensive blood test and I no longer need to do the Th1/Th2 test due to the significant decrease in the markers of inflammation (Natural doctor confirmed this with me a month ago).
- The Benefits of Soluble Fiber (Nov. 9th) – Crohn’s disease can lead to frequent runs to the bathroom and without eating grains in my diet this makes it worse. In order to help this balance, I needed more soluble fiber. I found that acacia fiber not only contains pure soluble fiber, but has a prebiotic that helps people with IBS. The only downside is my body took months to get adjusted to it & I ran into a few flare-ups due to overdose.
- Anemia and Natural Supplement Fix (Nov. 12th) – Fatigue due to internal blood loss (which I found out later had to due with the ibuprofen), I developed Anemia, lacking enough healthy red blood cells. I found that by taking Rainbow Light Plant Source Iron, I was able to help manage the Anemia. I still have iron saturation issues, but that is more to do with the Crohn’s Disease than the iron supplement not doing it’s job.
- Sugar Alternatives (Nov. 29th) – Use black strap molasses rather than cane sugar, Stevia instead of artificial sweetners, and coconut nectar instead of agave.
- My Autoimmune Medical Breakthrough – Chronicles the history of my holistic and medical history of 2012 and leads to my break-through procedure: the Colonoscopy and Endoscopy. Along with specific medications and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, I doubled my quality of health. My range of foods could increase along with an increase in exercise and social activities. My urgency to go to the bathroom (spiked adrenal & cortisol levels) in the middle of the night went away (battled that for more than 6 months), people told me I looked better, and became overall more productive. Eventually I had to reduce the dosage of the Prednisone & now use just enough of what I need. Without it, symptoms like fissures, canker sores, lack of sleep, pain, and stiffness come back.
- End of 2012 Results – Besides recapping my experiences in 2012, I enjoyed a 4-day cruise and tested out my improved health. 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.
- After the 6-months of test data, I took updated comprehensive blood tests, Anemia tests, Crohn’s / IBS / Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and they all came back positive – feel free to review the auto-immune tests in detail.
- Overall the comprehensive tests got better and the test at the end of the year almost all markers within normal range. The only concern still lingering is iron saturation (due to the Crohn’s), RDW and Neutrophils are high, and SED rate / C-Reactive protein are high (markers of inflammation). To put this in perspective, my SED rate on 4/18 was 101; 8/21 it was 37. Although this is a huge improvement, my test on 12/14 showed my SED rate at 38. If the normal range is between 0-15, I still have work to do to get my inflammation to normal ranges.
Symptoms / Diagnosis
Included below are all the symptoms listed from my 6-month review and afterwards. I’ve crossed out the symptoms that have not occurred after my 6-month review to the end of 2012.
When you live, eat & breathe a healthy lifestyle, you pick up on some good information. Listed below is some of what I’ve learned after my 6-month review.
Where Do I Go From Here?
As mentioned above in the “Steps to Remission” area, I need to continue to take my low-dose of Prednisone, Asacol HD to improve my gut, exercise, at eat the modified SCD diet. As of last Friday, I also found the Naturopath I’ve been looking for. Within the coming weeks I will probably start taking Water Kefir (video) and then essential oils (high-grade DoTERRA oils that are digestible) to detoxify the body and will allow my digestive system to absorb the nutrients since the Crohn’s Disease prevents this. Based on the data I’ve gathered, I could see remission in April.