still striving for contentment despite my illness

Don't feel like you need to read this blog. It is very long but I felt it was important for me to type it to get my thoughts out:

The blogs I usually write are mainly a way for me to document changes I am trying to make in my life. I usually don't like to post unless I can put either a positive spin on it or say something that could be helpful to those who may stumble upon my words. Today I decided to finally do a full post on the illness I am going through. This week is a good week because this is the first time in over a year since I have been diagnosed that I have had a really good attitude about it.

What is my illness... it is Ulcerative Colitis (UC). You may not have heard much about this illness because it is highly embarrassing since it deals with part of the Colon. There are many debates on what causes UC but the leading theory is that the immune system is attacking good cells in the body causing the Intestines to because damaged and inflamed. When I have times of flare ups (which isn't all the time) I sometimes experience bleeding, bloating, pain, and sometimes the body wants to push things out far before I am ready (which is a pain when I am driving or there is no available restroom).

I had been experiencing this on and off for many years without knowing it and in August of 2008 it got much worse. So bad that the anxiety of not knowing what was wrong with me alone was probably making it worse. And I experienced so much discomfort I was in tears. With medication I am not at that place anymore and it helps that I understand things a little better though some times knowing that this could be a life long problem brings me down sometimes. It can be really tough and embarrassing and I can continue the list but I think you get the point. Keep in mind not every day is like this but enough where I would get really frustrating.

Before I go any farther I want to say thanks to my friends, family, and co-workers. Thanks for putting up with my illness. If it wasn't for you things would be much harder for me. Thanks to those who had seen me at my worst and comforted me. It means a lot to me and I look back on those times fondly.

So as I mentioned I like to keep my blog posts with a positive note and that is because my attitude is turning around on my illness.

I researched sites about Colitis like ccfa.org to find books I could use to help me and I found a really good book called "Eating Right for a Bad Gut". It is an awesome book where the author did a lot of interviews and research on what works and what doesn't for UC sufferers and the feeling I get from this book is the same I got when I read the Dave Ramsey's book, "Total Money Make Over" when I was attempting to get out of debt (which I had done successfully). The "Eating RIght" book really gives detail of how I should eat to feel better and many who have followed the book have done VERY well. Just the few changes I have done over the last week have made me feel better than I have in a very long time.

The idea of the book is to practice good nutrition but there are also things that would be good for most people and not for someone with UC so it puts a spin on nutrition for UC sufferers.

The things I didn't know before reading the book is the how's and why's things would effect me and make me worse. Now I have a much better idea of what I can and can't eat. That means I can go to a restaurant and not be afraid of the menu thinking I am going to be near bedridden the next day because of my choices. So for me going to a resturant was much more scary then public speaking. So if I ever passed on going out to lunch you know why now. Though the hard part of the plan is I have to cut out a few things that I enjoy like red meat, the positive way I look at it now is "do I want a hamburger or do I want to feel good". I think the choice is easy.

Looking Forward

Having this illness could in the long run make me much more healthier then I was before I was diagnosed. Before I had no reason to stop eating the way I was and I had no intention to look into proper nutrition. Based on the fact that I weighed over 40 pounds more than I did before I could have easily had many more health problems over the next few years. Now following the nutrition examples in the book it will be much easier to eat well and feel better. I am still not all the way there on following the rules but from what I have followed so far has been a major motivator to continue on the plan.


Please don't feel bad for me

Everyone has things they go through in life that burdens them. To me this is much easier to go through then when I had 20,000 in debt. I know now how too keep my condition under control a little better. Yes, I will still have some bad days but they won't be nearly as bad as they were before (as long as I follow the rules). The great things about anything that happens to us in life is that it builds character and this has really helped me grow as a person. It helps me better sympathize with others who have chronic illnesses much worse than mine; it helps me eat better and feel MUCH better; it has made me stop and think about what is important in life. So not every day is perfect for me but neither is it for anyone. Though I may have more rules on what I can do it doesn't mean I don't enjoy what I do have and what I can do.

Even though you may not have the condition I have you may want to look into changing how you eat. In this Fast Food society we develop so many preventable illnesses and with just a little more work and education you can learn how to eat right and make life so much more enjoyable. You may end up like me discovering you have much more energy then you did before. That has been the biggest surprise.

Anyway, thanks for reading. If you did read please post a comment.