Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Three Changes

Well, hello again!

My doctor finally got the results of the biopsies they took (almost two weeks ago now), and the results show the same worsening that was visible to him during the colonoscopy.  The microscopic analysis shows moderate problems in one particular area (the area on my right lower quadrant near my liver that always hurts and that has gotten worse again lately) that are worse than they were last year, but mild problems everywhere else.  The damage is contained to my colon, which means the pattern for me is more like Ulcerative Colitis rather than typical Crohn's (this is a good thing!) Any sort of  "architectural changes" (changes in the structure of the cells of the intestines) are bad news, but they're more dangerous when they take place in the small intestine because the scar tissue they tend to cause is more likely to block off a thin tube (small intestine) than they are to block off a larger tube (large intestine, also called the colon).  In my case, there's no scar tissue yet (yay!)  

My Gastroenterologist AGAIN recommended the drug Lialda (generica: mesalamine), which is a topical anti-inflammatory.  "Topical" in this case doesn't mean "on the skin," it means the medication focuses on the colon, which is where I need to be anti-inflamed.  When I asked him about side-effects and long-term concerns using this drug, he said that he'd want to monitor my kidney function every three to six months, because any anti-inflammatory can cause kidney problems (and I'm assuming, kidney damage or failure).  This is not really okay with me.  

Change #1:
So . . . I went back to the study that showed that the herb Boswellia Serrata is as effective as an anti-inflammatory as mesalamine to check what I'm doing wrong, since it hasn't seemed to work for me so far.  I realized that I hadn't carefully checked the dosage used in these studies, and I need to be taking 15 capsules of the brand I've been using per day instead of the 2-4 capsules I've been taking.  The study used 1200 mg three times per day (another study - here's a link to a summary - used smaller doses and showed similar amazing results, but I have been using the smaller doses and haven't seen the amazing results, so I'm ramping it up!)  I have only been taking 500 mg once or twice per day, depending on my symptoms.  

Change #2:
The second change is an even bigger one (at least, it requires more effort and cash!): removing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from my (our) diet as completely as possible.  I have come across a few testimonials of people who are symptom-free and healthy after a diagnosis of Crohn's (even off medications they used to desperately need) due to removing GMOs from their diet.  

Depending on what you know about GMOs, this may or may not make sense to you.  There are TONS of documentaries available on Netflix and YouTube about GMOs and the research that has been done showing them to be extremely dangerous to humans and animals.  Here is a link to a site that has gathered the research into an easy-to-read list with subheadings.

Here's a bit of an education if you haven't had this come up yet in your life:
Scientists decided that food wasn't good enough in its natural state, so they decided to take genes from some things (plants or animals) and shoot them into other plants/animals.  For example, they removed genes from a hardy and bug/pesticide-resistant bacteria called Bt for short (it's really Bacillus thuringiensis) and put them into corn and cotton to make them more resistant to insects. The way the new gene helped the corn and cotton is to make the stomachs of the insects explode after they ate the plants. Unfortunately, it seems that eating Bt products can cause similar problems in humans - holes in the digestive tract. Also, many animals who eat the cotton/corn plants just flat out DIE after eating it. Tons and tons of documented cases of formerly healthy cattle dropping dead after being introducted to feed modified with the Bt gene. Read the above website for more information about Bt dangers.

GMOs were introduced in 1996, and experts now say that 75-80% of everything in your local grocery store contains some genetically modified ingredient.  58% of Americans don't even know this fact (I bet some of you just sat up straighter in your chair).  And 52% of Americans polled would not buy a GMO product if the product were labelled as having genetically modified organisms in it.  The majority of us trust GOD's plan for our food rather than a laboratory and a test tube.

Now the research you have most likely heard is that these products are "proven" to be no more harmful to humans or animals than conventionally grown or organically grown products, but I believe this to be a BIG FAT LIE that the producers of these products have paid millions of dollars to perpetuate.
Here is a link to a document that lists the commonly believed myths about GMOs.

I don't need to preach here, but if you are interested, here are some links to watch/read/ponder.
I really would like my readers to be well-informed, safe, healthy.

"Seeds Of Death"

"Why Americans Are The Sickest People In the World"

Click here or here to find out more about how you can really KNOW what's in your food and whether a product contains genetically modified organisms.  Also, buy ORGANIC! I shop mostly at Sprout's, and the products I buy are all labeled "organic" or "NON GMO project verified" (an independent third-party source).

So there you have it.  We are slowly eating up all the GMO food in the house and replacing it with non-GMO options.  Slightly more expensive, but maybe our food will start to work as medicine rather than hurting us! 

Change #3:
A third thing I will be changing is moving to a plant-heavy diet.  For the last year, since I was diagnosed with Crohn's, I was afraid to eat raw fruits and vegetables because I have been told they are difficult on the digestive system (and because the one episode of bleeding and extreme pain I had was after eating yogurt with strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries as my lunch for weeks last spring, little knowing that those tiny seeds, and probably the dairy, weren't helping me).  All of these things are experiments because I can't guarantee how they will work, but they are based on science and they are reasonable and not dangerous.

For the last week, I have been eating lovely heaped salads (with organic raw carrots, green apples, cucumbers, romaine, tomatoes . . . ) and small amounts of organic chicken.  I have had a little digestive discomfort, but nothing terrible, and I have been loving every minute of eating a healthy diet based on REAL foods - foods that my Grandmother would have recognized, foods that are made in a garden or farm rather than a beaker.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” 
― Hippocrates


If you read through all of that, you deserve a reward - so here it is!
Sweet Juvy, sleeping with her white belly showing and her pink tongue peeking out!

 Close-up of her sweet little face:

If you have questions about GMOs or anything else I mentioned, 
leave a question in the comments below!  I'm not an expert, but I may have resources that may help you think through the issue and consider your options.

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