My In Depth Health Journey: Healing from Ulcerative Colitis
There are so many misconceptions about the severity of what I have been through. It is hard for people to understand what it is like being sick or living a life of survival. On the other spectrum people want to know the details of what I have done, what I have tried and more in depth about my healing journey from my diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis to now.
I decided writing an in depth look at my health journey and history seemed like the best idea to answer any questions and give people an idea of what it is like living to survive.
I hope my story can help inspire you and show you that you are your own best advocate.
Here it goes…
In 2012 I was diagnosed with a debilitating auto immune disease called Ulcerative Colitis at the age of 21. Ulcerative Colitis is a condition that causes and contributes to a laundry list of symptoms. The basic idea is it causes severe inflammation of the colon causing ulceration and in my case severe bleeding, among many other things, we will get to later in this post. Your body essentially attacks your colon as though it is a foreign object. Your colon and gut health is the center of every function in your body, so when that goes, you’ve got yourself a problem!
I spent close to 3 years on the couch, in my bed, on the toilet, on the bathroom floor and in and out of doctors offices and hospitals just trying to survive.
Survival was truly my only goal for quite some time.
I experienced severe bleeding. Cups of blood loss per day. Weight loss, and inability to gain weight. Severe, debilitating abdomen pain. Malnutrition as I could not absorb the nutrients from my food. Headaches. Trouble sleeping. Nausea. Weakness and fatigue so strong there were times I could not get out of bed.
During flare ups it would be so bad I could not walk on my own without passing out.
As it spread I started experiencing Fibromyalgia pain and Arthritis pain in my knees, elbows, wrists and shoulders.
As I’m sure you can imagine, my emotional state was not ideal in dealing with all of this either.
My husband, Justin and I found our life became about making it from one moment to the next and my survival became the only focus.
He was there from the beginning through every dark moment. He carried me from the bed to the bathroom, took me to every doctor appointment and spent numerous nights researching for hours trying to find answers. He slept beside my hospital bed, stayed up all night with me, and always went above and beyond to make sure I was taken care of, comfortable and as happy as I could be given the circumstance.
I was hospitalized in 2013 after it had spread to my entire colon. This was my breaking point.
The ER nurses arranged for me to be in the next level below the ICU because they were convinced that the doctors on the general floor would be terrified by my symptoms and severe bleeding. I needed to be where the advanced doctors who had seen everything were.
I was hooked up to a heart monitor since my heart rate was off the charts. I was pumped with drugs, treated like a number and told there was nothing I could do about it. That my life would basically consist of hospital visits, disability and taking hard medications the rest of my life. I was so weak that I was considered a fall risk and could not even walk myself to the bathroom.
I vowed laying in that hospital bed that I would do what it took to get better and I would never return again. I went home that day and cried tears of joy to be breathing fresh air and to be going home. The blessings we take for granted.
I started the typical drug protocol. Steroids, high dose anti-inflammatories, pain killers, and the list could literally go on. I was on 40 pills a day just to make it to the next hour.
My parents came from out of state to stay with me as I couldn’t be alone for a single minute without having a caretaker. I would cry out all night for someone to help, for something that could take the pain away.
To be honest, I didn’t even want to live if this was going to be my life.
I started losing massive amounts of hair, developing insomnia that equalled 100% sleepless nights, developed a compromised immune system so bad that any exposure to a virus or sickness of any kind would be manifested in my body to the fullest degree.
I experienced nearly every side effect of the drugs I was on.
Because of the stress of dealing with this, my husband developed Shingles and because of my compromised immune system from the steroids I got an extreme case of Chicken Pox. Every centimeter on my body was covered in them. Every. Single. Crevice.
Needless to say, my life was not going as planned and I was beyond miserable.
After the Chicken Pox resolved (Praise the Lord), I was left with physical scars and a drive and strength I didn’t know I had.
I began an intensive healing journey with the goal of getting off medication and healing naturally, getting my life back and allowing this experience to shape everything in my life.
I became a full time researcher and took the plunge of holistic healing. I was not going to give up.
Over the next few years I worked with over 20 different doctors, tried every therapy and alternative treatment I found out about, including NET, NAET, Chiropractic, Massage, IV Therapy, Hydrotherapy, Essential Oil Therapy, RET, Acupuncture, homeopathic remedies and the list goes on. I tried diet after diet. SCD, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Low fiber, High fiber, Sugar Free, Fasting, Juicing and this list could also go on. Got test after test and did just about everything I could think of.
What actually worked you’re wondering?
Well it’s constantly changing as I change. My needs, my stress levels, where I am at in my life, these things all play into my healing at any given time.
Here are the components I found to be most effective in my healing journey:
- Real food diet (all organic, unprocessed, nutrient dense food)
- Grain free and sugar free, except for raw local honey and fruit
- Lots of faith, prayer and speaking healing scriptures over my body
- Reducing stress in my life
- Physical activity like yoga, hiking, walking and lifting weights
- IV Therapy
- Essential Oils
You will see a lot of people out there that claim one thing healed them and that’s great for them.
But what I have found to be true, is that to find true healing it is a holistic process.
You could have the most perfect diet, but if you have stress in your life, work yourself to the ground, are lonely or isolated, or are in an incredibly unhealthy relationship, you could still be sick! The most progress in my healing came when I realized it was a full circle. It involved every aspect of my life, my mental state, my diet, my physical activity, my relationship with The Lord, my lifestyle, toxins in my life and even my daily habits.
You’re body is constantly changing as is your life. For example, going Paleo might work for you for a season to control a symptom or help lose weight, but 5 years down the line you might need something else.
The key to sustaining healing is learning how to grow, take care of yourself from every angle and to know your own body. (TWEET THAT)
I do great on a vegetarian diet sometimes and other times I need to add in some fish or chicken to get the right amount of protein. It is constantly changing.
I have learned loud and clear over the past several years that I am my own best advocate, not my doctor or medical journals.
YOU are your own best advocate. I have to listen to my own intuition and pray daily for guidance. I cannot put my life in the hands of doctors or others without listening to how I feel.
God has truly turned this illness into a blessing in disguise. He makes all things work together for good and I find myself grateful for the revelation that I have found in Jesus through all of this. For the person this experienced has molded me into.
God is my healer. He is my guide and I give FULL credit for every bit of progress I have made, to His healing hands and loving guidance.
I hope my journey can inspire you to find health and wholeness. It IS possible, don’t ever give up!
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