Life with Crohns. Best tips to improve your life with any type of colitis.
My name is Inna. I am a pharmacist from New York, Functional Medicine Practitioner and I’m a
Crohns disease patient.
In 2000 I was given a misdiagnosis of Ulcerative colitis (UC) right after having my first child. I was first started on mesalamine.
Then, three years later, during my second pregnancy, my symptoms got worse. In the middle of giving birth, I had a fever over 104F and severe pains unrelated to the labor. Doctors had to put a central IV line because they could not access my veins. I needed the antibiotics and pain medications. After a lot of discussions, medical doctors finally comforted themselves with pneumonia as my diagnosis. I don’t think that anyone of them noticed that I got severe diarrhea even before starting antibiotics. After I got strong enough to walk, I was discharged home with my newborn child.
My gastroenterologist reviewed my case and was now convinced that this was in fact Crohns disease (autoimmune disease). It’s very easy to confuse Crohns disease (CD) with UC especially when the symptoms are still mild. Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis are inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).
After being misdiagnosed once, I decided to start questioning everything.
I started reading a lot of medical literature on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and realized that this diagnosis was probably the correct one according to all the current diagnostic parameters. The fact that I have a close blood relative with Crohns disease also supported this theory.
Then I tried most medications available like Rowasa enema, Pentasa, Asacol, 6-MP or mercaptopurine, Entocort, Xifaxan, antibiotics like Cipro without much improvement. I think that I tried most of the medications for Crohns disease.
I actually got worse and ended up in the hospital a few times with horrible flare ups. These flare ups are called Crohns disease exacerbations. I was given intravenous corticosteroids that made my mind very unclear. Intravenous antibiotics made the diarrhea even worse. Slowly, my heart rate went down. I ended up in the Cardio unit with almost a non existent pulse. I thought to myself that I absolutely needed to get out of this hospital alive. I had faith.
The last drop was the myocardium test with radioactive contrast that was injected to check my heart function. I started having a massive headache that almost caused a stroke. The test had to be stopped because I was vomiting every minute from the pain. The tears were flowing out of my eyes uncontrollably and all I thought about was if I reached my worst point yet.
After this experience I left the hospital against medical advice. But, I did return scared for my life a few days later because I grew so week.
At one point I was offered surgery if my condition wouldn’t improve but thankfully I got a little better. One of the patients in my hospital room said that I was lucky. “Lucky? How?” I asked. And she explained that because my inflammation was localized around one place called the ileum it would be easier to operate and remove that segment, if necessary. Her ulcerations were all over the colon.
The next step in my story was Remicade. I was receiving it already in the doctor’s office together with Benadryl capsules to prevent any kind of allergic reaction. I did not respond to it as fast as others. But my relative with Crohns said it worked like “magic potion” for her.
Then, I received Mercaptopurine (6-MP) and stayed on it for a while.
I started improving slowly but now my immune system was down from the medications and the aftermath of Crohns exacerbations. I was catching viral and bacterial infection so fast. Working in the pharmacy in the cold season did not help either. I needed to feel better... FAST.
I even went to see John of God in Brazil. I was looking for more ways of healing. That was a very interesting experience.
When I was investigating all the different causes of Crohns disease and colitis, I came across the article about mercury toxicity . After reading all possible toxic effects and how mercury can poison the digestive tract from the silver fillings, I decided to remove all of my mercury amalgams. That was not an easy process at all. Even though the studies about mercury fillings were not scientifically supported, slowly my Crohn disease was getting a little better.
I started doing more research on alternative therapy. I tried acupuncture and it improved my digestion. I tried many herbs and homeopathic medications that were excellent. I found a medical doctor that practiced non-traditional medicine who figured out what natural supplements I needed. Those natural supplements improved my immunity. I changed my diet according to my own long research and many specialists’ suggestions. The dose of 6-MP was reduced slowly and eventually it was discontinued. Then I found the real health solution and that was Functional Medicine. And I am very proud to be a Functional Medicine Practitioner to be able to really help people.
Not all gastroenterologists would agree to combine traditional with non-traditional medications. That’s why only one third of the patients report taking natural or herbal supplements to their doctors. But now there are more and more studies on alternative treatments. More and more insurance companies give recognition to acupuncturists and chiropractors. Some insurance companies even pay for consultations with certified nutritionists. And a lot of these natural supplements work wonders! Try discussing them with your doctor. Maybe he or she would want to learn something new.
My recommendation is to combine both traditional and non-traditional treatments.
Yes it’s a lot of work but try little by little to make small changes. That’s what I did. And we can definitely improve our quality of life. Even if I help one person with my suggestions, I would be thrilled!
As a Functional Medicine Practitioner I can help you repair your digestive health through telephone consultations and lab-based successful protocols.
If you wish to contact me to set an appointment on the phone, simply fill out this form.
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