Humira – My Autoimmune Benefits, Side Effects, and Results

As discussed in my previous post about Iritis, I’ve had enough of playing the chronic inflammation game and wanted my life back.  I discussed this over with my Rheumatologist and we both agreed that Humira would be my choice of biologic medication. Not only would Humira block my chronic inflammation, but it is FDA approved to treat Crohn’s disease – one of my root causes.  To recap, let’s look over my rates / percentages of health since I got off Enbrel for good on February 7th 2012:

Rate of My SED and CRP Rates of Inflammation

My SED and CRP Rates of Inflammation from Dec. 2011 – Dec. 2013 (2 Years).  Note the normal rates for both are under 15.

  • 10-20% Health – Mid-March 2012:  Enbrel out of system, could barely tie my own shoes.  Life unbearable at times, but parents lovingly got me through as my body was slowly healing.  Many symptoms developed at this time.  Rates of Inflammation:  CRP spiked from 9 in Dec. 2011 to 142.8.  SED rate at 101.
  • 20-40% Health – July 2012:  Eating and learning to cook a healthier lifestyle improved my condition, but times still unbearable and started a regimen of ibuprofen to function in my daily life.  Started many tests to determine root causes of my issues.
  • 40-50% Health with Bursts:  December 2012 – Found major root causes from the tests I took.  Symptoms / issues pointed to Crohn’s Disease / IBS / Ulcerative Colitis (Which might have developed due to the ibuprofen I was taking – Mayo Clinic states:  “Don’t use ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Aleve) or aspirin. These are likely to make your symptoms worse.”).  My bursts were coming from taking Prednisone (hard to sleep taking this) and going off ibuprofen.
  • 40-60% Health: April 2013Detoxification off of meds and supplements.
  • 30 – 50% Health:  June – Early September 2013:  Recommendations from an autoimmune specialist put me on a new set of supplements and tests.  Although I reverted back to my lowest points in 2013 (I needed other people to help drive me to places and did not leave the house sometimes for a weeks), I did find root issues:  Mold / fungus in my house, oxidative stress, and leaky gut syndrome (nutrition dysfunction).  Taking medications helped the root cause, but made my system weak.  Supplementation either had little help or was harmful.
  • 50 – 70% Health – Mid-Late September 2013: Introduction of Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN).  With low cost and minimal side effects, LDN boosted my health around 20% + getting off all the “fixing the root cause” medication & supplements.
  • 70 – 85% Health – November / December 2013:  Along with the Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN), I started taking Humira due to my Iritis attack.  Within the 1st 3 days after Humira I saw significant consistent improvement.  Increasing weight along with exercise / Yoga has continued to increase my health.  In December, back to a “normal” weight, Iron levels back to normal (no anemia), and have more energy than I ever had in my 30s.  Rates of Inflammation:  CRP rate at 3.3 (better than when I was on Enbrel and had a CRP of 9.5) and SED rate of 4 (review latest test).

What is Humira?

With autoimmune diseases, your body produces too much of a protein called TNF.  This TNF then triggers an inflammation response that goes throughout the body.  Humira is designed to block the receptors that hold TNF as explained in this video.


Humira is used by injecting the grey cap (Cap #1) into your skin (I inject into my thigh) once every 2 weeks.  Since Crohn’s disease deals with the digestive system, the Humira injection does not interfere like a pill would.

My Humira Results

If you examine my comprehensive autoimmune blood tests, look for the results of my SED rate and CRP (C-Reactive Protein) – they are both markers of inflammation.  Normal ranges for SED rate are 0-15 and CRP are 0 – 4.9.  In April 2012, my SED rate was 101 and CRP was 142.8; abnormal and dangerously high.  After taking Humira, Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) and all that I’ve learned throughout my journey, my comprehensive autoimmune blood test in mid-November shows a SED rate of 4 and a CRP rate of 3.3; a vast improvement.

Here is an update on autoimmune symptoms listed in my last post about Iritis:

  • My weight on 12-13-13

    My current weight of 134.5 lbs. on 12-13-13 (Wii Fit Plus).

  • Continued to lose weight and at my lowest was 116 pounds (originally 158 lbs.)
    My weight starting Humira was 116 lbs. and has increased to 134.5 lbs (roughly 1 1/2 months time).
  • Continued nutrient malabsorption Current increase in weight and ability to eat foods I could not before prove I am absorbing food.
  • Fatigue / Anemia (usually sleeping twice a day & needing 10+ hours of sleep / day) I no longer need to take naps and 8 hours a night of sleep is typical (most of the time without the need to get up in the middle of the night).  Review my Iron Level tests prior to taking Humira and after taking Humira.
  • Sitting in chair too long makes my body very stiff.  I can sit in the chair for hours although my back gets 2-3 out of 10 in stiffness…I can live with that!
  • Stools loose.  No problem now, I can poop like a champ!
  • Very hard to squat down or bend over (can’t really do this unless I assist with holding onto something) to pick something up.  I can now do a Sun Salutation in Yoga, and I can bend over and pick things up off the floor.
  • Flare-ups from foods, sometime even safe foods.  No flare-ups because the Humira blocks the receptors that cause the inflammation (but the process still happens).  I still avoid the foods that caused me to flare up the most – breads, grains & flour mainly.
  • Get cold quickly along with poor circulation & purple fingers (Raynaud’s Syndrome) – I still get this, but less noticeable.
  • Weak body: Need a rope to get out of bed, can only go to the pool for 10 minutes, no gym workouts, etc.  On 12/4 was my 1st major (45 minute) workout on my chest, biceps & triceps.  I can now go dancing for hours and walk around the block with no issues.  Driving is also so much easier.  Did I mention that I removed the rope from my bed (it was the only way I could get out of bed for more than a year) a few weeks ago?  That was a great moment.
  • But the last and final straw was developing Iritis on 10/9/13.  6 Ophthalmologist visits over 1 1/2 month span (1 month of which my right eye was dilated the entire time), it’s all cleared up.  The medicine made my condition much better after the 1st day.

Humira Side Effects

Humira, like all biologic medications, can have serious (even deadly) side effects caused by fungus, bacteria, and virus infections.  Liver infections and psoriasis has also showed up in patients taking Humira.  My symptoms include increase sneezing and my ability to fight infections.  The LDN & eating a healthy lifestyle help my immune system and could have a better chance at fighting infections.  Finally, and I know this might sound strange, is that I have to adjust to my new level of energy.  It’s hard to go to sleep because I don’t feel like I need to (but when I lie down for 10 minutes I do sleep – kind of feel like a kid again).  When I wake up, I’m up and need to do activities if I wake up too early.

Future Plans – Finding the Autoimmune Root Cause


Two words:  “I’m back!”

Thank you to those who have continued to pray for me.  Please focus your prayers on having me find my root cause(s) and for the other millions of people to find their root cause(s) of inflammation.

Diary – Getting Back on Humira

Since most of the major gains were made in the first week, I will only supply a daily diary for the first seven (7) days and then a weekly diary afterwards.

10/25 – Bed at 10:30pm, up at 4:30am and then 7:15am.  Slept from 9-10am and rested from 1-2pm.  Woke up stiff & sore due to all the work I’m doing, doctors, insurance, etc.  Same old routine with the right foot, left elbow, back & shoulders along with the right eye cloudy from the meds.  I began taking Humira in the morning with the pen instead of taking with the syringe like I used to with Enbrel and it’s much easier to administer plus I only have to take one time every two weeks.  I was finally able to start my mini-vacation at 6pm (which is just the weekend + a little on Monday) by traveling up to Venice (1st time since March).  One great steak dinner & some Chardonnay later & I was beyond exhausted by 7pm…but very happy to be with my parents and George.
10/26 – Bed at 10:30pm, up at 4:45am, then 7:30am.  Napped from 3-4:30pm.  Noticeable areas of pain / stiffness are right foot, neck, low back & cloudiness in right eye due to meds. 1st day after taking Humira and I can already start to see the effects of the medication.  I feel less stiff when I woke up and my Yoga was easier to do in the morning.  I had a full sleep from 10:30pm – 4:45am & then it was on & off as usual.   Where it started to really shine was I could walk at the Ringling Museum for 2-3 hours.  And for lunch I had fries along with a Colada & grilled fish.  Normally this would flare me up, but it didn’t.  But I could notice my stomach not feeling so good for a few hours after that lunch.  By the afternoon I was exhausted but felt better after getting up.  Fajitas and margaritas in the evening with fringe foods with no flare-up and my stomach felt fine afterwards.  Lower back still stiff & hurting if I stay in a chair too long.  Shoulders / neck / mid-back OK throughout day but my sides (front rib areas) hurt a bit.
10/27 – Bed at 11:15pm, up at 5:15am and then 8am.  Napped from 11:30 – 1pm.  For 1 1/2 years, I dreamed of what arrived today. Woke up much easier and my pain & stiffness is much less.  Neck still limited left & right, but better up & down motion.  Right eye cloudy due to meds.  Went to the cold pool and hot tub (Russian bath style but not as bad as this) at 9:30am for 20 minutes.  Drove back to Naples, cooked dinner for me & three friends & no flare-ups.  Prior to taking LDN, I could not do it.  While on LDN alone, I could do it, but would need help from my friends to cook / clean while I rested.  Today, no problem.
10/28 – Bed at 11:15pm, up at 1pm, then 6:30am, then 8:30am.  Tried to nap in the afternoon but too much to do & phone calls.  Neck range same as yesterday + shoulders & low-back a bit stiff.  Right eye cloudy with meds, right foot inflamed & hips hurt.  I can now get out of my own bed without using the rope!  In the morning was able to do a Plank for 30 seconds and got up much easier than I did trying this on 9/29.  Bending down to put dishes away is better but still cannot pick stuff off the floor.  Dressing myself takes much less time and is easier to do (feels kind of like a joke now to do).  10:30am walked around the entire neighborhood block for the first time in over a year.  6:15pm walked down the end of the street and took 15 minutes, not 20 minutes like before.
10/29 – Bed at 11pm, up at 6:30am.  Napped from 2:30pm – 3:30pm.  1st time I didn’t get up in the middle of the night.  Looks like my adrenals are getting back to normal now.  Noticeable areas are right eye (meds), right foot but better than yesterday.  8:30pm walked down the street for 15 minutes.  Lower back sore in the evening (probably due to plank yesterday).
10/30 – Bed at 11:15pm, up at 6:15am & napped from 3-4pm.  Waking up with low back stiffness at 3 out of 10.  Neck is still 4 out of 10 left to right & 3 out of 10 up & down.  My stools have pretty much normalized at this point and my weight is now 119 1/2 lbs.  I seem to gain a little over 1/2 lb. each day since taking the meds.  8am and & 6pm walked down the end of the road.
10/31 – Bed at 11:45pm, up at 2am, then 8:15am.  Napped from 1:30pm – 3:15pm.  Shoulder blades, neck movement from side to side, and right eye cloudiness / light sensitive (due to medication) are the main issues;  minor stiffness throughout & low-back pain.  Today I helped out some kids for Halloween and was able to hold onto bags of candy for a long time along with a 2 hour walk.  Stayed out past midnight without issue.
Week 2 (11/1 – 11/7) – Sleep continues to be getting up 1-2 times per night along with mid-day naps for most days.  Noticeable issues throughout the week include pain / stiffness in shoulder blades, neck movement from side to side, and right eye cloudiness / light sensitive (due to medication).  I took a few walks in the evening and was able to travel to multiple stores without issue until the end of the week when I started to develop pain in my right hip.  Sleep was also becoming an issue (developed nightmares on 11/2) as I started working 12+ hour days for my company CGschool (setting up events in Boston & San Francisco).  Back was also stiffer as it progressed to the evening due to all the sitting & work I had to do.  Without the Humira, none of this would have been possible.
Week 3 (11/8 – 11/14) – Sleep continues to be getting up 1-2 times per night  along with mid-day naps for most days.  Beginning of the week, the right hip was worse (went from 2 out of 10 to 6-7 out of 10 on pain scale) and was due to the workload / sitting too long / walking too far at night / new exercises I would try on the Wii Fit (especially ones balancing on one leg).  Other noticeable issues throughout the week include neck stiffness from side to side, some shoulder blade pain (probably due to exercises and sitting too long in the chair) and right eye cloudiness / light sensitive (due to medication).  Stomach issues arose in the early week due to gas & trying fringe foods (dairy, crackers).  When I started Humira, I was at 116 lbs.  Now I am up to 124.5 lbs. (+8 lbs.).  11/8 was a long day & had to fix a major issue for CGschool (was up until 2am).  Weekend ate at Roy’s with no issue as they were very accommodating to my food sensitivities.  Mid-back continued to hurt along with hip & knew I had to go to the pool.  Did a hard workout on 11/10 in the pool (as I need to build strength) which helped my hip heal itself throughout the week.  As a side note, if I did not take Humira, my pain would be a 9 out of 10 at this point.  End of week was getting better as my responsibilities were getting less – still  needed to do 12 hour days for San Francisco class.
Week 4 (11/15 – 11/21) – Sleep continues to be getting up once per night  along with mid-day naps for most days.  Hips bad in beginning of week healed up mid-end of week (as long as I didn’t do anything to stand on one leg like Yoga exercises or getting my pants on one leg at a time).  Right eye continued to get better and 11/19 Opthamologist gave me the OK to stop the meds altogether on 11/24.  Range of neck motion getting better but still noticeable and some stiffness in the back through mid-week.  Travelling around town again was easy to do.  Workouts once at the pool (11/16), Wii Fit 1-minute planks worked and started push-ups / side planks on 11/19 (failed at 5th & 6th rep), started downward dog Yoga pose on 11/22, and walked most evenings.
Week 5 (11/22 – 11/28) – Sleep continues to be getting up once per night  along with mid-day naps for most days.  As I continue to get stronger, I still feel noticeable pains (probably due to workouts) in the shoulder blades, neck, and back (2-3 out of 10); right hip continues to be fine.  My right eye cleared up by 11/25 and my weight is now 128 lbs (+4 lbs. from 2 weeks ago).  Starting to get harder to go to sleep due to increased levels of energy (my body was so used to being with so little energy before).  Went ballroom dancing 11/24 and felt in right hip again, but cleared up same day / next day.  Was able to travel to Venice (it’s been over 6 months since I have been able to leave the Naples area without assistance) for Thanksgiving.  Had small amounts of stuffing & lots of mashed potatoes & gravy and I could tell my body wanted more veggies by end of weekend – still no flare-ups.
Week 6 (11/29 – 12/5) – Beginning of week, I needed to get up once per night during sleep but by end of week I slept straight through.  My issue is getting to sleep due to adjusting to new energy.  Shoulder blades / back / neck (side to side) are 2-3 out of 10 due to all the sitting, travelling and eating (eating is also making my facial complexion worse) Thanksgiving leftovers (not to mention the pumpkin pie).  11/30 had my first major workout at my parent’s gym in Venice (1/2 hour).  12/4 did another major workout (both times were upper body – biceps, triceps, chest, abs) and also able to walk around the block with no issue at all (finished in less than 25 minutes; used to take me 40 minutes).  I’m also starting to be able to do short bursts of jogging / running since I lost the ability to run.  12/3 – travelled to Fort Myers and back in the evening time and traveled a few places – no issues.  Some days during the later part of the week show no significant pain / stiffness issues.
Week 7 (12/6 – 12/12) – Tested my body’s endurance at the beginning of the week – 12/6 took 3 hours of ballroom dancing lessons, 12/7 2 hours of social ballroom dancing, 12/8 one of my hardest workouts + laps + 2 minutes treading water at the pool for 1/2 hour straight; did it all without issue.  Upper workout mid-week without issue but felt it on 12/12. All together I worked out every day and felt some pains, but those are the pains of getting stronger – big difference than a flare-up due to inflammation. Neck range got better throughout the week (was at 3 out of 10, now 1.5 out of 10).  As for food, I won’t go back to Pei Wei as they do something that does not agree with my system (had the Thai Chicken coconut curry) & am learning to avoid Chinese stir-fry style meals now.  I also learned that I should not do more than a 1/2 a cup of black beans as anymore doesn’t work well with my system.


Autoimmune Detox – The Benefits and Side Effects

The essence of detoxification is to rid the body of poisonous substances.  From chelation to dietary detox, there are many ways to detoxify your body and in Ayurvedic tradition, spring time is one of the best times to do this.  My choice of autoimmune detox was to minimize any strenuous exercise and rely only on the essential supplements / medications for a month.  Items crossed out below were removed during detox:


  • Swimming exercises 2-3X per week
  • Wii Fit+ Yoga & strength exercises



One Month Autoimmune Detox History

As of 3/17 I stopped exercising & at 3/20 I’ve removed all supplements from my diet.  3/20-3/22 visited Sarasota (2 hours North of where I live) & had the longest sustainable day since I began the diet on 3/21 from 8:30am to 11:30pm.  Back in Naples on 3/23 & crashed – 13 hours of sleep on 3/23 & 12 hours on 3/24.  This confirms I am still anemic & am back on my iron supplement.  Started feeling better and then had something that did not agree with me at Whole Foods on 3/30 (may have been tomato paste hidden) and flared up for the next 2-3 days.  Normally this would only take 1 day, but detoxing makes me more susceptible to flare-ups and I got a cold (1st time since I started the diet) that everyone around me was getting (lethargic, scratch throat) from 4/1 – 4/14.  Worst days were 4/5 & 4/6 as coughing prevented me from sleeping.  On 4/5 at 2am and 4/6 10pm felt a chocking feeling and violent cough to remedy which made me sore all over from shoulders to bottom of ribs.  Using an elevated pillow, Mucinex (Fast-Max severe congestion & cough), a sore throat spray, lots of chicken soup, and menthol cough drop while going to sleep improved my condition and allowed me to sleep.  Cold started to go away on 4/8 but is still lingering around and did not leave the house for a week.  The detox reduced weight slightly but the cold took my weight from 130 to 127lbs – my lowest since starting the diet.  Average weight in so far in 2013 is 131 lbs. and fluctuates from 127 to 134lbs.  Most days I average 8 hours of interrupted sleep (get up 2-3 times per night) and add 1 1/2 – 4 hours of sleep in the daytime.

Benefits and Side Effects of My Autoimmune Detox


  • Helps identify which supplements are working and which are not.
  • Allows the body to heal on it’s own terms.
  • Lack of rigorous exercise made my body less sore in some areas, but exercise back in the pool will help other areas.  Finding a balance of exercise intensity is key and may need to work with a rehab facility with a pool to find out.
  • Less pills to take!  Much less side effects from the medicine.

Side Effects

  • Longer lasting and more susceptible to flare-ups
  • More susceptible to colds / flu
  • Weight loss since I’m underweight
  • Less physical strength and endurance along with soreness in areas which may prevent from longer periods of sleep throughout the night
  • Need to sleep more (but this might be the best thing for me)


While detoxing has it’s risks, you get to know the truth on what your body really needs and not what you think it needs.  Now that the detox is almost over, I can introduce one supplement at a time to see if it’s helping along with slowly starting my swimming regimen again.   In the next few months, I will start blood tests again to see how I’ve progressed without these supplements.

My Autoimmune Medical Breakthrough

Autoimmune Medical Breakthrough and Holistic History of 2012

Imagine driving your car from New York to Chicago at night.  You know where you need to go, but you can only see a short distance in front of you.  By faith I knew this issue was gut-related, but I had no idea how to fix it.  Here is how I arrived to my medical breakthrough in 2012:

Healing Holistically

In the beginning, I changed my diet completely by doing a 21-day reboot (A – see diagram below).  Through this Vegan regimen, this allowed my system to start detoxifying what I thought was healthy for so many years – calorie-counting, low-fat, Standard American Diet (SAD).  Within 3-weeks  I lost 14 pounds and continued thereafter.  After 3-weeks, my sustainable diet focused on the No-Starch / Low-Starch Diet (NSD/LSD) and I stopped eating Vegan completely.  Throughout 2012, adding supplements, avoiding certain foods, and taking tests improved my condition over time.

The Damage

Coming off Enbrel (9+ years) was (what I could imagine) getting off of heavy drugs like cocaine.  Like a dam, my immune system was being held back and when I stopped taking Enbrel, the floodgates opened 3-4 weeks later.   I continued to have serious symptoms which tested me more physically, mentally, and spiritually than any other time in my life and found solace in God, the love and care of my parents, and taking Ibuprofen while my condition slowly improved over the next 6 to 9 1/2 months.

The Autoimmune Medical Breakthrough

In April 2012, I took a series of blood tests that showed off-the charts inflammation markers (SED rate, C-Reactive Protein, etc.).  At that time it was hard to pinpoint exactly what was going on until my body got over the Enbrel effect.  As the months went by, I learned more about the foods I should not eat (food intolerance – Cyrex Test), foods I needed to focus on (vitamin deficiency – Metametrix Test) used supplements to build me back up.  On the 8/21/12 comprehensive blood test,  my D.O. had enough comparison data (EX. SED rate went from 101 to 37) to see my Hemoglobin/Hemocrit was low and might be sign of anemia.

Based off the 8/21/12 comprehensive test, I saw a Hematologist and discovered I have slight anemia (TEST DATA).  The 1st page shows the iron deficiency, 2nd shows the out-of-range blood levels, 3rd page is blood in stool (internally bleeding) (D), and the last shows the percentage off of the normal range with anemia.  Although my Hematologist only focused this issue on my hemorrhoids, my D.O. and I both agreed there was more going on and sought out a Gastrointerologist.  Listed below are the three tests that have lead me to my autoimmune medical breakthrough:

My Autoimmune Digestive System Diagram
My Autoimmune Digestive System Diagram
  • Prometheus IBD sgi Diagnostic Blood Test (RESULTS – 1st Page)- the blood test shows focus on Crohn’s Disease – inflammation of the large and small intestine (colon).
  • CT Abdomen and Pelvis Scan (RESULTS – Page 2-3) – In this test, you drink a bunch of barium, get injected with iodine, and have a balloon device in the rectum area.  The CT scan reveals ulcerative colitis and compression of the distal esophagus (B).  Other info on the CT scan were confirmed by doctor as normal or a part of the inflammation issue:  Cysts in kidneys, the Jejunojejunal intussusception, and the fat surrounding descending colon (C).
  • Colonoscopy and Endoscopy (11/19 procedure, follow-up every 2 weeks) (A-D)  NOTE: I am providing preparation & procedure details so anyone who is thinking about doing this understands the sacrifice they need to make for the results.
    2 days prior to the procedure, I could not be on any of the ibuprofen I had been taking for most of 2012.  I planned 2 1/2 weeks to get from 2-3 ibuprofen per day down to 1-2 per day.   The day before I fasted (food) and had to drink 4 liters of this:

    Electrolyte Solution and Measurement

    4 Liters of PEG 3350 Electrolyte Solution

    I eased into this by taking 1 glass at 2,3, & 4pm.  From the hours of 5-10pm I needed to take a glass every 15 minutes.  As you can imagine, this flushes out your system by going to the bathroom many, many times (so much so your bottom gets raw).  Next morning at 8:30am I had to finish off with an enema and I was prepped for the procedure at 11:00am.

    Before they begin the procedure, I was put under anesthesia and did not remember a thing.  I woke up feeling a “next-level of health” better without any anesthesia effects, no food, and no water.  I woke up drinking some water, driven home by my parents and finally eating some soup around 1-2pm.

    The Colonoscopy and Endoscopy Results

    The doctor had taken some biopsies and confirmed I had Ulcerative Colitis (U.C.) and Gastritis (which may have been caused by taking Ibuprofen throughout the year) along with Grade 1 hemorrhoids (do not prolapse).  Also I tested negative for H. Pylori (gut bacteria that causes inflammation) and may have gotten rid of this using the Pyloricin supplements I took in late February.  Along with a modified / healthier low-residue diet for two weeks, I need to take these medications:

    • Prednisone – Take 3 tablets every morning for 2 weeks.Take 1 tablet in the morning and one at night for the next 2 weeks (12/4-12/17).  Evaluation 2-weeks later (12/17).  This basically replaces the anti-inflammation in ibuprofen, I feel phenomenal throughout the day and I can start to do the normal activities I once dreamed about when I was at my worst.  In fact, I even get surges of energy late into the evening (EX. cleaning my bathrooms like a mad man from 9-10pm – I never do that…never).  At around 2am it wears off & it becomes difficult to sleep.  Mornings were the worst (especially days 2-4), but got tolerable afterwards (inflammation around 7 out of 10, days 2-4 & 4-5 after day 4).  Reducing the dosage will lessen my side effects (increased acid production, runny nose, spikes in energy).  Prolonged usage is not good and hopefully taking one in the morning & one at night will keep things even and I can get better sleep.
    • Omeprazole – Because of the acid reflux & production with the Prednisone, this drug acts as an acid inhibitor similar to Prilosec OTC.  Take one in the morning and I usually have to take an hour nap after I eat breakfast due to drowsiness so I can start my day right.  Once I get off the Prednisone, I get off Omeprazole.
    • Asacol HD – For the treatment of moderately active ulcerative colitis and prevents it from recurring.  I take 2 in the morning and 2 at night with meals.  Once I get off the other two drugs and my symptoms are done (formed stools, no mucus, no inflammation break-outs), I can stop taking Asacol HD.

The Benefits After the Procedure

In the 2-weeks after the procedure, I’ve seen major improvements mentally and physically.  Although these benefits are amplified with the usage of Prednisone, there are times when I could tell it wearing off.  As each week progresses, I am feeling more of the benefits below with or without the Prednisone in my system.

  • Day 4 – 2 weeks after the procedure, my inflammation went down to tolerable levels in the mornings and I’m completely off ibuprofen.
  • Day 4 – 2 weeks receiving major boosts of energy and mentally clairvoyant throughout the day.  I work out 3 times a week at my local gym and have seen major gains in strength.  Spikes in energy are too much in the evening time and hard to sleep.
  • Although I’ve only tried this today (12/4), moving the Prednisone dosage to 1 in the morning and 1 at night allows me better inflammation coverage (along with less soreness & stiffness), better sleep, and no spikes in energy levels.
  • Getting in/out of bed is so much easier now & I don’t need to use the rope to get out of bed (although it does make it easier).
  • My weight is gradually increasing.  As of 12/3, I now weigh 131lbs, 18.33 BMI
  • Wider range in foods.  For example, I have tested and can now eat waxy potatoes (ex. red-skin potatoes) where I could not before.  More details on my new diet below.
  • My shoulders are not as sore getting out of bed during the night.
  • No need to fast, Colonics or anything to flush out my system per doctor’s 2-week follow up suggestion.
  • I don’t have the urgency anymore to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  My cortisol levels must be normalizing now (see spike on page 2 of Figure 1 graph to see the spike from midnight to 8am – test done on 4/18/12).
  • I’m able to sleep on my side up to 2 hours maximum.
  • Range of motion in my neck is finally better.  During my massage on 11/20 (1 day after the procedure), my massage therapist noticed a major improvement in my neck’s range of motion.
  • Other symptoms I didn’t mention above & are listed in my 6-month review are either gone or haven’t been tested yet.
  • Friends say I look better.  One comment that stands out is “you don’t look like a prisoner from a POW camp anymore”.
  • Mentally I’m much happier because I can do much more; be more productive at work (or making this blog), seeing people without always needing to do stretching exercises, sitting down at dinner with a friend without needing to get up due to pain, working out, dancing, and knowing that I can start working on my bucket list.  Lastly, I’m happier because I know that the faith I had in God was not in vein.  He directed my path and the hard work I did is paying off.

Symptoms Still Needing to be Resolved

  • I’m slightly limping due to inflammation pinching my neve(s) in my hip areas.  But the pain is far less than when I started exercising back in early July.
  • Bowel movements are still muddy and I still have mucus.  In order to get off the medicine, the bowel movements need to have form and I can’t have the mucus.
  • Need to go to the bathroom 3-5 times a day.  I need to be one in the morning and one at night.
  • I am still not able to have a full night of sleep and battling stiffness / soreness.  However, the pain getting out of bed is much less and am able to get back into bed quicker.  Sometimes I am able to do exercises within the bed & go back to sleep.  I usually wake up 2X per night.
  • Although I cannot confirm, I still have to take an iron supplement for my anemia & a B-complex supplement detailed from the Metametrix Test (taken on 6/6).  When the supply runs out of the B-complex, I will test & see if I need anymore.

New Diet Plan – Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)

During my 2-week follow-up, I explained how I use a modified version of the low-starch diet (LSD).  The doctor gave me a diet plan they follow for people with U.C. / IBD / Crohn’s called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD).  Both utilize the same theory where eating specific foods cause bad bacteria to grow.  The difference is which foods these diets choose from.  In most cases people modify the SCD & NSD / LSD diet based on food intolerance tests & whether they flare-up (autoimmune kicks in & inflammation spikes).

Listed below are SCD foods to avoid and foods allowed (via WebMD):
NOTE:  I will modify this list based on my food intolerance tests.

The following foods are allowed in the diet:

  • Vegetables (except canned)
  • Legumes (except the ones noted below)
  • Unprocessed meats, poultry, fish, and eggs
  • Natural cheeses (except those listed below)
  • Homemade yogurt fermented at least 24 hours
  • Most fruits and juices without additives
  • Nuts, peanuts in the shell (past issues where peanut got stuck in the colon), natural peanut butter
  • Oils: olive, coconut, soybean, and corn
  • Weak tea and coffee
  • Unflavored gelatin
  • Mustard and vinegar
  • Saccharin

Foods and ingredients not allowed on the SCD include:

  • Sugars: lactose, sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, fructose, molasses, maltose, isomaltose, fructooligosaccharides (FOS), and any processed sugar – my list of sugar alternatives are safe for me to eat in moderation.
  • All canned vegetables
  • All grains: anything made from corn, wheat, wheat germ, barley, oats, rye, rice (my results), buckwheat, soy, spelt, and amaranth
  • Some legumes: chickpeas, bean sprouts, soybeans, mung beans, fava beans, and garbanzo beans
  • Starchy vegetables: potatoes (tried 3-4 days ago and no issues), yam, parsnips, seaweed products (eaten plenty of sushi-wrapped Nori seaweed with no issues), agar, and carrageenan
  • Canned and processed meats (I buy Wild Alaskan fish and I’m fine)
  • Dairy: milk, milk products, ice cream, whey powder, commercial yogurt, heavy cream, buttermilk, sour cream, and the following cheeses: ricotta, mozzarella, cottage cheese, cream cheese, feta, processed cheeses, and cheese spreads – for me, the more processed, the more chance of a flare-up.  The lactobacillus helps my digestion.
  • Canola oil, commercial mayonnaise (I use Soy Free Vegenaise), commercial ketchup, margarine, baking powder (I use 1 part baking soda to 2 parts cream of tartar), and balsamic vinegar
  • Candy, chocolate (small amounts are fine or homemade with cacao powder), carob
Food Testing After the Procedure
Over the past few days, I have introduced new foods to see how my system would handle.
  • Chicken wings (removed fried outer area) with bleu cheese dressing – no flare-ups
  • Jambalaya pasta over Rice – no flare-ups, slight energy drop afterwards.  Offending food might be in the mild Cajun cream sauce.
  • Red skin potatoes (homemade) – no flare-up
  • Peppermint Breakfast Date Brownie (Local baker from farmers market) – Ground dates, butter, unsweetened chocolate, almond milk, eggs, ground almonds, sweet rice flour, tapioca flour, vanilla, raspberry vinegar, cocoa, peppermint extract stevia, salt, baking soda – took for dinner, flared up at night & throughout entire next day.  If I had to guess it was the rice or tapioca flour.

What’s Next?

  • To celebrate the hard work done this year, I leave for a 4-day dance cruise tomorrow.  It will be the first time I have no control over the food I prepare and the first time I will be testing out both my dancing and sea legs.  Good timing?  Nope, God’s timing.
  • On 12/17 I will also have a comprehensive blood and anemia test done and reviewed.
  • Also on 12/17 I have my 2-week follow up with the gastroenterologist.