Yesterday afternoon, I headed into Boston for my appointment with my new gastroenterologist at MGH.
I drove to the T, parked my car, and then took the train into the city. I don’t trust the MTBA to get me anywhere without an issue, so I always give myself plenty of extra time when I take public transportation into Boston.
Surprisingly, everything went smoothly, and I ended up at Charles/MGH about 30 minutes before my appointment, so I popped into Whole Foods to do a little grocery shopping and buy a snack. (I always need a snack.) Plus, I heard a rumor (thanks, Kim!) that Whole Foods now sells coconut aminos, so I went in search of a bottle.
Success! Found it!
A lot of the recipes in Well Fed, including the Paleo Pad Thai, call for coconut aminos, but I haven’t been able to find them, so I’ve just been making the recipes without. Now, I’m really excited to taste those recipes!
Then, it was time for my doctor’s appointment at the Crohn’s & Colitis Center. As soon as I saw the office, I felt really good about my decision to switch doctors.
So, my appointment… I don’t even know where to begin, but it was awesome. I love my new doctor. He’s friendly. He’s funny. He listens. He doesn’t blow off my questions like my previous doctor, so he’s already an improvement! He also told me he only drinks water and beer, so I think we’re a good match. Haha! But, in all seriousness, I think he’ll be a great doctor for me. I met with him and his Nurse Practitioner for more than an hour, and they answered all of my questions.
Ok, let me see if I can summarize what we talked about. Let’s start with diet since it’s been such a hot topic on CNC lately.
I told my doctor about all of the changes I’ve made to my diet and what I’ve been eating. He listened, took it all in, and then replied: “Enjoy your life.” (Obviously, he could tell I was a tad stressed out about it.) He explained no single diet or eating plan works for everyone with ulcerative colitis. What you eat and how your body responds all depends on what part of your intestine is affected and what symptoms you have. Then, I asked him about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and Paleo and whether any of his patients have had success with either of them. He said, yes, some of his patients felt better when they followed these diets, but it was difficult for them to maintain long-term. He said if eating a Paleo-like diet makes me feel good, I should keep doing it.
I also asked my doctor about specific foods (nut butter, protein powder, red meat) and whether I should be eating them or not. To this, he simply replied: “Eat whatever you can tolerate.” He explained that ulcerative colitis varies from person to person and even changes within the same person over time. What works for one person might not work for another, so I really just need to figure out what foods work best for me. He did mention, however, during a flare, I should avoid nuts, seeds, corn, raw veggies, and salad since their “shape” can upset the intestines. Additionally, he said, endoscopically, certain foods don’t heal the intestines, but it’s an organ that is constantly repairing itself.
“Enjoy your life.”
“Eat whatever you can tolerate.”
I’m planning to pretty much keep doing what I’m doing with my diet because it makes me feel great, but I’m going to play around with some new (and old) foods to see how they jive with my system and affect my symptoms. I’ve sort of been doing this all along, but, this time, I’m really going to focus on enjoying my life and not letting my food choices stress me out.
As far as what this means for the Paleo Challenge, Mal and I chatted about it last night and we decided we’re still going to participate—we don’t want to let down our teammates and we still want to achieve our fitness goals—but we’re just going to do our own thing and see how closely we eat a Paleo diet. Hey, it’ll be a fun experiment for us!
Onto exercise… I asked my doctor about intense workouts and whether they’d bring on a flare or affect my symptoms, and he said probably not. I told him all about CrossFit and the type of workouts we do there, and he told me they shouldn’t be an issue. Sweet. I’m going to CrossFit tonight! BOOM!
And a long-term plan… this is where things got tough for me. (I may or may not have cried because I’m a loser.) I asked my doctor about my ultimate goal of managing this disease without prescription drugs, and, in the nicest way possible, he said it’s probably not possible, especially since my body isn’t responding quickly to the steroids, which means more of my colon is probably infected. (Of course, he doesn’t know this for sure. He wants to do a colonoscopy if I’m not better in 4 weeks when I go for a follow-up appointment.) So, then, I asked him what a good long-term plan would be for me, and he replied: “Get off steroids, stay on Colozol, keep taking VSL#3, and do a handstand.” (Not going to lie, I love that he threw “do a handstand” in there. I think he just wanted to make me laugh because I was on the verge of tears, but it was much appreciated.) I’m not totally psyched with his answer, but I know I’ve spent way too much time and energy trying to figure out this disease, which just isn’t possible, so accepting this and moving forward will hopefully do me some good.
So, yea, good news and bad news, I guess. I have a lot to think about and definitely a road to recovery ahead. I’m not sure what else to say because I’m still trying to process everything, but I want you guys to know I truly appreciate all of your support over the past several weeks. It hasn’t been easy for me, especially with all of my diet changes and attempts at weirdo home remedies, but it means a lot to me that you continue to read and show your support.
After my doctor’s appointment, I walked back toward the T and then broke out the snack I bought for myself at Whole Foods. When I opened my bag, I was surprised to see the coconut aminos spilled all over. GAH! (The top of the bottle wasn’t screwed on all of the way.) I cleaned up everything the best I could, but, as you can see, my snacks were covered in coconut aminos.
On the drive home, not even kidding, the “check engine” light went on in my car. Seriously, car, wtf?
The car repair shop was on my way home, so I swung in to get it checked out. It turns out it was another sensor issue. (The rain may have confused it and caused it to turn on.) The mechanic cleared the codes, so the “check engine” light is off for now. Hopefully, it stays that way!
Dinner was Pot Roast with Cider-Maple Gravy and Mashed Butternut Squash and it was really good. It was a simple recipe (just 7 ingredients), so it sort of tasted that way. Not bad, just not amazing, ya know? I ended up adding curry, paprika, cinnamon, and onion powder to my butternut squash to jazz it up.
I’m off to NuVal for my last time!