Please be aware that the following contains graphic descriptions which may not be for the squeamish. Bowel disease is still very much a taboo subject, but the reality of living with it is what drives me to tell my story. Those who know me and my struggle will appreciate why I want to share my own particular journey. It's honest and might not be a palatable subject for most (and some might say not relative to a style blog) in which case I suggest you leave the page. If I can help only one person improve their lot in life, then it will be a great thing.
You don't get into your fifties without having a health issue or two and I'm no exception. Increasingly, it seems that so many health problems are rooted in what we consume. The old adage of "You are what you eat" is certainly true for me, although it's taken me nearly 40 years to address it.
In my late teens I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, a severe bowel disease that has been part of my life ever since. At times the disease has flared up until at it's most acute it has lead me to be hospitalised. Medical opinion states that it's a stress related immune disorder which manifests itself in an area of the colon becoming inflamed to the point that ulcers are produced which then burst and bleed. Painful cramps and frequent bloody, loose bowel movements can make leaving home virtually impossible and once on this downward spiral the usual outcome is medical intervention such as steroids under hospital care. Daily medication is the first line of treatment aiming to control the overactive immune response, but these can cause their own problems and reactions. Repeated flare ups can often result in surgery in an attempt to curtail the disease and if the surgery is extensive then the patient can wake up to find themselves with a stoma and a colostomy bag.
My story has taken a different turn from the norm, thank goodness. In my 30's I reacted badly to the standard drug treatment and this prompted me to start a search for my very own Holy Grail - a non medical treatment that could reduce my symptoms and perhaps in the long run cure me. This proved to be an expensive but on the whole interesting quest. I tried a host of Alternative Therapies from Chinese herbs and Homeopathy to self Hypnosis and many others on the way. This spanned a period of some 20 years and in the meantime I was lucky to have long spells when the symptoms went into remission.
Fast forward then to April 2013 when I had a particularly bad flare up, the worst I'd experienced without being admitted to hospital. Desperate not to end up on the conveyor belt of conventional medicine, I started trawling the Internet for new research into my condition. Sifting through endless claims for wonder supplements and miracle cures I eventually stumbled across a reference to a book which strangely enough I had bought many years earlier, but had dismissed after only reading the introduction as it seemed too drastic to implement or more importantly, maintain. I unearthed my copy and read it in one sitting.
As they say, drastic times call for drastic measures and at the time of writing it's May 2015 and I've been well for 2 years. The key to my wellbeing is, I believe, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet as devised by an American doctor Elaine Gottschall. My GP has been a great help and in the early days as I was dropping weight rapidly referred me to an NHS dietician to ensure I was getting all the essential nutrients. My weight has plateaued and I am at last fit and healthy.
The title of the book is "Breaking the vicious cycle. Intestinal health through diet" by Elaine Gottschall BA, MSC.
As with all matters of health it's essential to refer to your own doctor for advice before you embark on any diet or alternative health treatment.
02/06/15It's only 6 days since the blog went live and I'm delighted to report that today I received an email from a couple moored up on a yacht in the Caribbean. The woman thanked me for the details of the book, as her husband has UC and will now get a copy so that he can start to learn how he can help himself. Already this page has justified it's inclusion. Hurrah!