Theresa's Mixed Nuts: Tips For Managing Your Life With Ulcerative Colitis and Chrone's Disease

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Tips For Managing Your Life With Ulcerative Colitis and Chrone's Disease


March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. I just want to remind those of you 50 and over to remember to get your screenings! Colon cancer is very curable, but like with most cancers, early detection is key!


I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis when I was 27 years old. The first few years were pure hell. I was extremely sick, and thought I was going to live out the rest of my days in misery. Thankfully, I have been in remission for the past few years, and feel I am as healthy as I was before getting sick. I want to share with those of you who may be suffering from Ulcerative Colitis or Chrone’s Disease a few tips that have helped me cope with the illness, and have made life a little more manageable.


Keep A Food Diary

There are so many sites out there that have lists of foods you can and can not eat. Not every sufferer reacts to foods the same. I kept eating foods off the OK list, but was still getting sick. Other times, I would eat food off the NO list and would be fine. It’s all about pinpointing how YOUR body will react to foods. The best way to do that is to keep a list, then compare when you are flaring.

Learn To Say No

Stress is a main cause of flare ups. When you are busy doing for everyone else, you aren’t helping yourself. This was very hard for me. I am a people pleaser. I always said yes to every little favor people asked of me, even if it caused me stress. When I finally started saying no, the stress was reduced, as were my flare ups. Bonus- you learn who your real friends are too!

Rest

If you feel tired, rest! Everything else can wait. If you are tired and keep pushing yourself, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. You are only putting more stress on your body, which will result in a flare up.

Keep Gatorade On Hand

If you are feeling very tired or sluggish, you may be dehydrated. Many times I have been overly tired, but perk right back up after drinking a bottle of Gatorade.

Map Out Restrooms

I have a knowledge of every public bathroom in my area, should I need one in an emergency. I will only dine at restaurants that I know have more than 1 bathroom stall. If a store does not have a public bathroom, I will not shop there. I choose Walgreen’s over CVS simply because Walgreen’s doesn’t lock their bathroom door. At CVS I have to hunt down an employee to open the bathroom, and by then it could be too late. I will not shop at supercenters that only have a restroom at the front of the store and not the back also. Getting stuck in the back of a large store then trying to rush to the front in an emergency is not pleasant. Also, when visiting amusement parks and zoos, make sure you have a map of the park with you at all times, and familiarize yourself with the restroom locations.

Don’t Be Afraid To Switch Doctors or Medication

If you feel your doctor is not listening to your concerns, don’t be afraid to find a new one. I went through 3 different doctors before I found the right fit. Also, don’t be afraid to request a new medication. There were some medications that I knew were not working, but my doctor kept insisting that I take them. I wasted a lot of time taking medication that I knew wasn’t right for me because my doctor encouraged me to continue with the prescription. You know your body better than anyone else. If you feel the medication isn’t working, demand something else. Not everyone will react the same to every medication. I went through 5 different medications before finally finding the one that worked for me.


I am not a doctor, and am not claiming to be an expert on Chrone’s and Colitis. I am simply sharing some tips that have helped me manage my illness over the years. If you suffer from Chrone’s or Colitis, I encourage you to talk to your doctor about all the available options for treating your disease. These are lifelong illnesses, so the sooner you are able to have a better understanding of what works in terms of finding relief for your body, the better!

27 comments:

  1. My hubby suffers a lot with anxiety based INS and know how much he suffers. A Dr once have him antidepressants when he asked for dietry help. Grr. They are great tips- especially the toilet ones.

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    1. Getting over the anxiety is hard! Even though I feel healthy right now, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't panic when I have to leave the house. Sometimes, I think even doctors just don't get it.

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  2. What food can do, learned that this year. Turned 27 and all went to complete crap, guess that is the magic number huh? But yeah on a strict diet of what works and to heck with everything else, stupid gluten crap..lol still f-ed up 14 months later, but getting there, I hope.

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    1. Hang in there Pat! You'll get there! It just takes some time navigating the changes you have to make to get your body back to a healthy state.

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  3. That's really great that you have all the forethought and awareness to choose where you're going and to be prepared. I'm glad that it can be managed and lived with as well as you're doing.

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    1. Thanks Liz! It took some time, but it is possible to live a healthy and active lifestyle with Chrone's and Colitis :)

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  4. Excellent tips. Plus they work great for a healthy lifestyle in general too.

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  5. My mother suffers from this. Thanks for posting this my friend.

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    1. Hugs to your mom Keith! I think only those who suffer from it and those that are closest to them know how rough it can get. I am sure you are a great support system for your mom!

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  6. Very informative post Theresa. I am happy that you have had years free of the symptoms and wish you continued good health. Take care and enjoy the rest of your day.

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    1. Thanks you for your well wishes Judy! Have a great day too!

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  7. Lots of good tips Theresa!! Being sick is no fun but you are handeling it very well from the sounds of this post.

    Never knew that about Gatorade!! I can't drink it because of the sugar, but I need to keep it on hand for my hubs when he gets sluggish.

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    1. The Gatorade works wonders if you are feeling tired from dehydration! It's saved me from having to make several trips to the ER!

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  8. These are great tips and so informative! My hubby has some IBS issues that bug him from time to time, but it's fairly under control (for now lol), because we eat very healthy and know what to avoid for him. My ex had Chrohn's really bad and I learned a lot about it during that time...especially avoiding seeds in foods so it didn't get irritate his intestines/bowels and get stuck. It was so heartbreaking to see him curled on the couch in pain. I really do feel for people that suffer from Crohn's and Colitis! Food diaries are SO important!! Even for people with food allergies and other illnesses as well. You're so right about that. And stress triggers so much, it's so important to try and keep that under control (as hard as that can be at times! So glad you're in remission and my fingers are crossed that you'll continue being healthy for a long time :)

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    1. Brandi, I am happy to hear that Phill is doing ok with his IBS symptoms. Those can be just as nagging as UC and Chrones symptoms!

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  9. I'm glad to hear that you are able to manage it now. My husband's brother in law has chrone's and I know he has issues quite frequently!

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    1. Thanks Theresa! It certainly is an illness that does cause frequent problems!

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  10. Theresa, This is a really good article. I just did a post not long ago about this. My twins best friend, Jesse, was diagnosed about a year ago with this and he is only 20. It's been hard for him. Please link this up with me today on Thursday Thoughts. I'll give you a shout out on Facebook too. Blessings to you!

    Teresa from NanaHoodhttp://nanahood.com/frog-legs-and-fried-chicken

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    1. I hope Jesse is able to find some relief soon! Its rough dealing with this illness at any age, but my heart especially goes out to those who are diagnosed early in life!

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  11. Oh no I didn't know you had cancer! So glad it's cured and you are much healthier now :)

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

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    1. Oh no, Ai, I don't have cancer. However, the longer one has Ulcerative Colitis and Chrones, the higher the chance of getting colon cancer. Just putting a reminder at the top to have the colon cancer screenings done since it's Colon Cancer Awareness Month :)

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  12. These are all good things to think of, and it's really nice of you to share them.

    It's funny that de-stressing (including saying no) works wonders on so many things, and in so many areas, isn't it? That's my one area to really working on...knowing when enough is enough.

    I like your tip on knowing your own body too, instead of just relying on a 'yes/no' list. :)

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  13. Great tips! My sister has irritable bowel disease, so most of these apply to her as well. She knows every single public bathroom in the city of Boston. I remember that I worked with someone who had Chrone's Disease years back and he didn't take care of himself and was out sick A LOT. I felt so bad for him.

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  14. Great tips! If I'm out, the first thing I do is find out where the restroom is.
    The saying no is something I'm working on and struggling with.
    Getting rest, some times it's hard to give in to my body when it's telling me I need rest but I have learned to give in and have come to terms with the fact that I can't constantly go go go and wear my body down.
    Ah, Gatorade! I survived on pedialyte for over a week recently.
    Thank you for sharing these tips. It's encouraging to see more and more people openly talking about these issues.

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  15. I'm glad that you have it pretty well under control now. Sometimes it's so hard to tell other people no, even when you know that it is physically causing you pain to keep doing so much for others.

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Thanks for your comments! I appreciate every one of them :)

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