‘just believe’, I love you and I’ve missed you.

just-believe-come-back

hello my loves! check this out!! a perfect stranger and JUST BELIEVE!!!!! 4500 KMs FROM HOME!!

just believe World [est. 2010] has been on my mind a lot in the last few months. unfortunately it took a back seat 5 years ago when I started my new job at the College.

and now I run in to this guy! WEARING MY #JUSTBELIEVE SHIRT!!!! IN MEXICO!!!!!
if that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is.
(I ran up to him and complimented his freaken’ AWESOME shirt and excitedly told him and his wife that I was the founder of the brand. we had a really great chat about what ‘just believe’ means to him. as I left them to go for my walk on the beach my heart jumped with joy and gratitude, thoughts running wild with a big bleepin smile.)

i’m SO thankful for this moment, and more than ever now, i’m ready to continue this journey with just believe World. thank you to all of my family and friends AND STRANGERS who have continued to support this brand and dream since it’s conception 7 years ago. to the lovers and BELIEVERS of ‘just believe’, you know who you are, you’re gettin in on this journey too and we’re gonna rock the heck out of this.

I love yas. + happy Saturday <3

With a #gratefulheart,

-me

How do YOU survive a colitis flare? day7 and it’s been a #shitshow thus far.

Well 5 days ago I thought I was gonna get crowned ‘master colitis-flare-up-kicker-asser’. In my mind on #day1 of the flare I was already #winning. but then the wicked evil Mr.jerkface called STRESS kept getting in the way. stress prevails. stress wins. stress kills. all the time. even thinking and writing about the past week is probably gonna do damage.

today is day 7 and I’ve been in bed all day. [feeling thankful for an ensuite. ha.]

this is how everything went down….

day 2 of the flare: my truck had to get towed to the shop. being without a vehicle sucks, but the $930 estimate sucks even more. I own a home and run it on my single salary. (plus my special diet full of non-gmo and organic foods, and a lot of supplements.)  money is tight. ESPECIALLY after Christmas.

Continue reading “How do YOU survive a colitis flare? day7 and it’s been a #shitshow thus far.”

Happy New Year + [not so happy] new flare. colitis.

I’ve been working on this post for the last two weeks and the title was supposed to be ‘199 days in remission for colitis girl! and now today is day 1 of another flare. insert sad face here. nice to meet you too, 2017.

I can’t say that I am surprised though. that I’m in a flare. in the last month and a half i’ve been carrying on like I was magically cured and could eat, drink, and do whatever I wanted. maybe that’s a bit dramatic because I do actually work hard and limit myself very much so.  but this time of year it’s a lot harder with all the holiday gatherings and treats constantly shoved in my face. when I say treats I don’t mean just baking and chocolates. treats for me are POTATOES of all kinds (mainly potato chips),  gluten, dairy (cheese is a super hard one for me and tis’ the season for eggnog!), + WINE. wine wine wine.

I am usually pretty dedicated when it comes to following my restrictive diet except when I am invited over to other people’s places… if there’s only one kind of appetizer on the table in front of me that I should NOT be eating, 9 times out of 10 I’m gonna eat it. (unless I’m in a flare. when I’m in a flare I have all the willpower in the world to not touch something bad)  My one dear friend though, mama Mia, always goes above and beyond for me. When she has me over for dinner she always caters to my needs and I am beyond grateful to her for that. she also LOVES to cook and she started her own blog recently… www.miacucina.blog. (check it out!!) I can’t wait to collaborate with her on some colitis-friendly recipes and I will be sure to share them here.

anyywaaay……

for the last 6 days or so I’ve been getting some warning symptoms. as soon as I was waking up in the morning I’d have the urge to go to the washroom right away. and more than once. my instincts were telling me that it was a bad sign but I talked myself out of it because: my tummy wasn’t big and bloated, I wasn’t experiencing my typical colitis tummy ache and pain, no cramping + there’s been NO BLOOD. except this morning. the damn unwanted guest came this morning. but not lots, thank God! I had a ladies night at my place on Friday and I’m pretty sure (along with a couple other bad dietary choices days prior to that) that that’s why I am back in a flare. the appie menu I had served was pretty much all okay for me to eat on a good day… in remission, far away from a potential flare. like: non-gmo cornflakes for gluten free chicken nuggets (and all other non-gmo corn for that matter *in moderation*), goat cheese, nuts, grains + more examples in another post. the killer for me on Friday night, was almost an entire bottle of wine. insert feeling stupid face here. it was also a 3 am-er and I got maybe only 5 hours of sleep because I was hosting brunch the next morning. needless to say, New Years Eve was a very chill evening (+ NO alcohol cause I had a hunch I overdid it) and Bax and I did the countdown in bed. lol. I’m surprised I even made it til midnight. Anyway all that carelessness brings me here to today. in a flare. resting. I haven’t left my peaceful pad since. trying to redeem myself with lots of R & R and very strict eating.

Can anyone spot my little dude? he was helping me colour earlier… peaceful_pad

so the plan for today’s post was gonna be a bit of bragging for being in remission for 199 days. ha, that backfired a bit. and then I was gonna finally share my colonoscopy story which is about 6 months overdue.

here’s a quick side note for my fellow #ibdfighters who may be inspired to ‘cure’ themselves too!  last year I made it almost an entire year without going in to a flare. that’s a record for me in my 12-year-colitis-life. almost 11 months in remission. and that was also the year I was introduced to bone broth and started drinking it every. single. morning. except for right now!! lol. which probably has a little something to do with me being in a flare again. I ran out of bones right before Christmas, and I was supposed to steal some already-made broth from my aunty but that didn’t happen. I called farmer Jim a couple of days ago so hopefully he’ll have me hooked up soon!! I ended up stealing some bones from my aunty and they’ve been in the crockpot since last night. beef bones take 48 hours so they’ll be done tomorrow night. not soon enough!!!

so rewind back to May 31. 2016. 2 days before my colonoscopy. (I document everything in my Day One journal. best app ever. I write everything down about my moods, stress levels, digestion, versus what I ate that day / cheated on, and note when I exercised, and then it becomes super important data in helping me to learn how to stay in remission.) so back to May 31. was my first official day in remission as there was no blood in my stool that morning. (blood is the last symptom to take a hike when I am going in to remission.)

then the eve of June 2 I am chugalugging 4 LITRES of liquid drugs aka poison toxic overload. all the while wondering what it was doing to my recently healed, ever so delicate, intestinal lining….

the last three times I’ve gone in for a colonoscopy (this one was number 6 or 7) the nurses have problems getting my IV in and I end up blacking-out. [for those who haven’t experienced passing out, it’s not pleasant. your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen and blood so you lose consciousness. when you finally come-to you feel nauseous and sick. certainly not something you want to go through right before a colonoscopy.]

so, colonoscopy day… My nurse this time around, Nurse Jean, was a Godsend. I explained my situation and she was determined and assured me that this time around would be different. I trusted her as she was a nurse for forever, retired and came back. she knew her stuff. and it’s important to know that I am not passing out because I’m afraid of needles lol… As you can see in the first pic below I am in great spirits having a jolly ole time. after about 30 seconds of her doing her thing, I was convinced the needle was in and I actually even yelled out to everyone that Nurse Jean is my hero, woo hoo, she got it in!!! and I was pretty much doing a happy dance in my mind. but then she said aloud that it wasn’t in and that she was having trouble. so I’m pretty sure subconsciously I was going in to panic mode. my mom was by my side and we were joking around trying to distract me from what the nurse was trying to do but then the feelings starting to come. I felt my head start feeling weird and spinny but in slow-motion. it was a horrible feeling. so that’s me coughing in the second picture. I told everyone that I was about to go sleepy. that I could feel it coming. So I was instructed to cough cause apparently that’s supposed to help. I felt myself struggling to stay conscious and at the same time I was wanting to black-out so all bad feelings would be gone.

I thought for sure the coughing worked, but my mom swears I ended up fainting. I was adamant that I did not [because i’m stubborn and need to be in control], but then I saw the 4th picture, middle below. lol. so who really knows. I think at that point maybe I was just taking a rest. lol!!

but then the craziest shit happened. they finally got the IV in, but the whole ordeal ended up putting me in to ‘shock’ ..it was one of the craziest feelings I’ve ever experienced… all of a sudden my hands, arms, legs and feet got all tingling and immediately began to blow up. like you would a balloon. I was so freaked out by the pressure building up in my extremities and I started panicking trying to explain to nurse Jean what I was feeling. from my perspective she looked worried so that freaked me out and intensified what I was feeling. she just kept telling me it was my nerves but I wasn’t convinced. I ended up half calming down because I remembered I was in a hospital and if something terrible was happening I would probably be okay. within minutes it was time to wheel me in to the procedure room and then that’s when I got stabbed with a really bad colitis tummy ache. all of that was a crazy amount of stress that I endured. STRESS. is. a. WEAPON. and it’s POWERFUL. the dangerous thing about stress is that if I were to have experienced the exact scenario in remission, I wouldn’t have got that tummy ache as a sign of the damage the stress was doing, yet the physical damage to my body would have been the same. think about that. the signs are only there when it’s too late. and that’s not a colitis thing. that’s a stress thing. it just manifests its way differently in everyone.

when they wheeled me in to the procedure room I begged the anesthesiologist to drug me up quick so the feeling and pressure that was going on in my body would subside. no dice. my specialist (gastroenterologist) needed to ask me a bunch of questions before the procedure.

post colonoscopy, after I woke up, I had the urge to run to the washroom. pretty much to empty nothing but blood in to the toilet. so yes. I believe that the crap I had to drink the night before, plus the stress of the whole IV thing, and the probing around up there with the camera + biopsies, put me back in to the flare. (Nurse Jean promises me that the ‘IV team’ will be called in for my next colonoscopy and all the fainting shenanigans should hopefully never happen again)

My GI came to chat with me in the recovery room and told me that I was in an active flare. I was quite ticked by the news since 2 days leading up to my colonoscopy I had got myself back in to remission. not without tons of hard work and effort. and lots of help from VSL #3. and my bank account.

He explained to me that the drug that I’ve been on for 12 years (Asacol, which apparently is the most ‘safetest’ IBD drug to be on) is no longer doing its job and that I need to go on a more powerful drug. an IMMUNOSUPPRESSANT drug. okay so hold on here.. the year before  I almost made it a complete YEAR in remission. and the year before that I went in to two flares. and all the years before that I was in flares on and off all the time. so. according to MY calculations, I can’t justify switching to a more harmful drug. sorry doc but NOOOO THANK YOUUUUUUU. I told him I don’t feel comfortable going on a different kind of drug that will, one: only mask my colitis symptoms, and two: weaken my immune system for me to develop all other kinds of problems. He encouraged me to go for a specific kind of blood test that would see if my liver could handle this particular new drug and that we would talk about it again when I went for my follow up appointment. I agreed at that moment but I was pretty sure that this blood test would be pointless because I wasn’t going to change my mind.

I later told my chiropractor the story about the troubles I had with the IV and that my arms and legs ‘blew up’. she knew right away what I had experienced, nodded and said, yeah, that was ADRENALINE (!!) racing through you. CRAZIEST FEELING. I wish my mom would have had a video camera instead ha ha.

SO. two of the biggest changes / additions in my life, that I’ve done since I got out of that last flare….

ditching my Brita/tap water!!!  for the last 6 months I’ve been buying distilled water from World of Water. thanks goes to my interior design instructor! when I was missing all those classes last spring because of how sick I was I finally told her what was up. that I had colitis. she was very familiar with a similar disease and she’s the one that pointed out to me that the chlorine in my tap water was killing the good bacteria in my gut. I guess I thought the Brita was taking out ALL the harmful stuff in my tap water. little did I know that it was still full of chlorine. I am SO angry at this oversight. all these probiotics I was pumping in to my gut and the TONS of tap water that I was drinking every day was counteracting my efforts. so, so grateful to her for bringing that to my attention. I hooked myself up with an pretty water cooler (thanks, mom) and also looked in to getting a filtration system put on my shower as well. our skin absorbs 10 times more than any other organ in our bodies… (think about what we put on our skin every day…washing our hands with anti-bacterials, lathering up in body lotions, face creams etc.) I now save my bathtub time for at the lake where I can soak in *just* lake water. and I’ve also been making my own body butter for the last year and a bit. [I use this recipe and sometimes add beeswax.]

the next best thing in my life has been KEFIR. all thanks to my moms friend from work. I had heard of the stuff before but didn’t pay too much attention to it until it* showed up at my doorstep shortly after my colonoscopy. I’ve been making my own kefir and eating it everyday since! and this post has gotten waaaay too long so more on kefir later. [update: i’m a bit skeptical of the dairy kefir. so for that I’ve been off of it.]

 

because of the minimal blood today, no tummy aches or cramping, I’ve got a gut feeling *no pun intended, ha* that I’m gonna nip this little b*tch in the bud and i’ll be good as new SOON.  I’m pretty confident that the new additions to my diet / lifestyle in the last 6 months have been making a positive difference.  I honestly believe that I have the power to control this disease. it’s not easy, and I suck at it sometimes, but I BELIEVE. and that’s always half the battle. our mindset.

so quick quick before I go, for my fellow #ibdfighters, here are some of the things I do when I go in to a flare (in addition to my daily restrictions regardless of being in a flare) :

I ‘up’ the asacol from 3, 800mg pills to 6 pills per day. take salofalk suppositories before bed. increase probiotics. no more daily coffee (that’s the hardest for me) no cold liquids/foods. try and limit solid foods… more smoothies the better. limit grains. absolutely no alcohol, no corn and popcorn, no seeds, no turmeric (or spices), no soy, limit meat, increase alkaline foods, limit exercise to yoga or walking – I don’t do my regular 3 flights of stairs at work, no body building, nothing that will leave my body having to rebuild cells. get TONS of rest and be mindful about STRESS and avoid it as much as possible. and REST if I haven’t already said it ;-) go for a massage and chiropractor (I see Dr. Kelly who practices Korean Specific Technique).

holy moly that was long. thanks to everyone who read right to this point. I love yas. you keep me going.

nighty night. xo

-me

this is my happy pill. and #gojetsgo

vitamin_b_winnipeg_jets

so this is my happy pill >>> VITAMIN B. [complex]. I’ve been taking it religiously for about the last 2 years…

Continue reading “this is my happy pill. and #gojetsgo”

HELLO! just checkin’ in. #colitislife

so the last time I sat down to write this blog post, this is where I was.

gods_country

and then I was too distracted by the beauty (and the +16 degree WEATHER IN NOVEMBER) so taking this picture was as far as I got.

—-      ————         ————-        ——

but even right now I can’t find my words for this post cause my thoughts are lost in an unorganized mess that is my head. i’m feeling a tad overwhelmed with SO MUCH INFORMATION that I want to share with you. so I think for now instead of words we’ll just do pictures!

this is what i’ve been up to since my last post...  [and I’ll be back when I’m ready.]

Continue reading “HELLO! just checkin’ in. #colitislife”

colonoscopies are so much FUN. said no one ever.

colonoscopy-prep1 down and 15 more to go. SIXTEEN. is the number of cups I need to drink of this NOT VERY GOOD “colon cleanser”. I wish the makers of this crap would just leave the “flavour”  out. A sorry attempt at strawberry and as far as I’m concerned it makes the taste that much worse. and it’s slimy. like thick slimy. and I wanna cryyyyyyyyy. OMG

Continue reading “colonoscopies are so much FUN. said no one ever.”

calm and peace can always be found at the lake

back to April…

last week started off not so good for my brain and heart.  sadness and anger and worry hogged the majority of my thoughts. and this time I can’t blame it [these feelings] on a lack of Vitamin B (or so I thought). without going in to detail about what happened, a few different things just added up [from sad thoughts, to mean people, to worry and anger and back to sadness] and gave me a sucky Monday. AND it was still cloudy after a weekend full of clouds and cold and wind. at some point tho the sun did come out cause I remember it when I took a breather and walked to the Thrift store on my lunch. I guess my mind was too distracted to notice  that I had stormed out of the office without my purse. #damnit.

Tuesday I woke up feeling very depressed about all the new thoughts Monday had given me. and of course what you throw out in to the universe… the law of attraction, and all that magic, it’s very very real. sooooo > > > one bad thought leads to the next bad thought and one spilled smoothie splattered all over leads to your crabbiness about your blush colour looking horrible and you messing up your eye liner. and running too late to worry about garbage day and the litter box is full and oh! okay, lets miss the bus by 5 seconds. and kaBAM we’re playing a wicked game of dominos. oh and yay, more clouds. by the time I was almost at work standing at an intersection waiting to cross the street, I was fighting hard to hold back some tears. at that point I was sad and angry for being sad and angry. and then, like meant-to-be kinda stuff , this old rough looking homely man with a cane came hobbling towards me and as he crossed in front of my path he looked over to me and said, ‘GOOOOD MORNING! Can we get a smile! (???)’  and it completely overwhelmed me with [more unneeded] emotion. I gave him a half-big smile just as it was my turn to cross the street. I made it to my desk just in time for the tears to start flowing. I was incredibly moved by the old-man-smile moment, sad about Monday’s thoughts and the clouds and also mad that I was even crying and feeling all this crap in the first place!!! the old man thing was a huge moment to me because, one > i’m usually always smiling. two > he doesn’t even  know that i’m having a sucky day. and three. > strangers don’t usually blurt things out to other strangers, so the chance of that happening to me in the state that I was in…. was a big ‘woah’ for me.

anyway, maybe hard to understand but that moment shook me back in to perspective. I was still crummy for the rest of the day but at least mindful about trying to fight to get out of it. this too shall pass. or so I thought.

later that evening I was going through my journal and reading some old entries as some sort of therapy I guess and I came across a post that actually put me at peace for a moment. I guess maybe it brought me back to my exact feelings in that exact moment. and I was there again. and I felt GOOD.

peace-and-calm-at-the-lake

Wednesday rolled along and with it brought a lot of good things to be happy about. nothing in particular…
the SUN, for one. frick YES.
international pink day and an excuse to wear the brightest pink shirt I have. + pink popcorn. he he. of course NOT to eat tho.
great workout at the gym – it’s so incredible how powerful exercise is for the mind.
my #pimpinJOY bag finally arrived. which is about spreading good things and thoughts to one another. so very fitting to arrive on a day that is about our fight against bullying.
my residential design class was starting back up and the excitement of almost being graduated ensued.

international-pink-day-

aaaand my happy was back. please don’t leave me again.

but it did. I think maybe only a day or two later and my friend sorrow swooped me back up. (but WHY?)

* * *  * *     **     *  * * * *    *    * * **        * ***      *********

the above note was written over 4 weeks ago. which was also supposed to be ready to post, 4 weeks ago. but the (above) emotional mess I was in + more physical illness (that I’m dealing with now) got in the way of that.

today I am finally able to reflect on what has happened and I’m putting my thoughts in to words. up until now I couldn’t bring myself to write. I kept putting it off cause my mind was so full. of everything. full of to-dos, and planning, and dreams, and ambitions, and cloudy judgements, and failure, and unachieved goals, and physical + mental stress and illness. full of gratitude. full of worry and challenges. anxiety. full of THOUGHTS. my mind is always full of thoughts. usually mostly positive ones! but this time, this round in this game of life, has been a little more challenging.

about 3 weeks ago I had an appointment to see my naturopath – it was supposed to be a quick appointment to go pick up a homeopathic treatment to get myself off the birth control pill, because apparently it’s a really bad thing to be on. and I’ve been on it for 12 years. and I’ve had colitis for almost 12 years…hmm. (I went on the pill for excruciating cramping)
interesting enough is every time I go in to a flare it’s right before my woman cycle starts. (more on that later.. I’m pretty sure there’s a theory there).
so this 15 minute appointment turned in to a 2 hour therapy session. everything that’s been weighing on my mind and heart, the emotional stress that I apparently had bottled up, all unloaded on to my poor doctor.  I guess I was just mentally and physically exhausted from all the illness that seemed to be ongoing – flare numero uno started on Feb 14 and lasted for my entire vacation. then after my flare was done, my body was weak and  I caught a wicked flu/cold that lasted for almost 3 weeks (who knows, maybe I picked up a bad bacteria that took residence in my gut). then after that I got a ridiculous cold sore. after the cold sore was thru my tummy started bloating up really big (which was not normal even for colitis girl) and I was getting a pain in my lower abdomen when I had to go pee.
my body was exhausted. and so my immune system took a hike and left me for the wolves.

so bring on another flare why not!

and it’s bad this time. I can’t remember a time where I’ve ever had two flares back to back. except way back when – those were the days that the flares never actually stopped. those were the days of prednisone. this is my grade 12 grad photo. that I never ordered.

prednisone-face

speaking of prednisone. for those following the blog, remember back in March when I became desperate to have a half-decent vacation and I took prednisone to get out of my flare? well, yesterday I went for an MRI of the brain as part of an IBD research study. When I got there I had to sign some waivers and go through some prep checklists. one of the questions was – have you been on any steroids in the last 4 months? ah, YEAH. good ole pal, prednisone. so she said, sorry, we’re going to have to cancel and reschedule your MRI.
for the life of me I CANNOT UNDERSTAND why these questions were not asked prior to me making a special trip down to the hospital? especially in my condition! I asked her why it mattered if I had been on prednisone. and the answer is because it F* up my brain. in a nutshell : )
seriously though. the prednisone messes with the chemicals and the hormones in the brain.
and now I am quickly reminded how important the mind and body connection is. (and going a little easier on myself for the emotional mess I was in last month)

anyway, every flare is bad, but this one is bad bad. bad like they used to be 10 years ago. it started at the end of April and it came out of nowhere. or so I thought. my first mistake this time around was pretending like it wasn’t happening. I was in mega denial that it was happening again. ESPECIALLY because last year I went an entire year in remission and now this year I’ve had TWO flares already? and only a month apart? wth.
(so yes, I was in denial.)
At the very first sign of a flare I have to reeeeallly tighten up my diet. and that means NO COFFEE. and I love my coffee so that’s a really painful one. and it also means no roughage – no nuts or seeds, raw veggies, anything that is hard/crunchy etc.  it also means, no cheating – when I was in remission last year I was able to have the foods/drinks that I should be staying away from…  dairy, gluten, potatoes, popcorn, alcohol + more. anyway, the flare started and I continued to have my coffee like a moron. 4 days later I accepted what was happening and said my goodbyes to Joe. I started pureeing all my food to give my intestines a break – when I go in to a flare-up they are raw and full of open bleeding sores. so yeah, liquid food, not so fun. a week in to the flare and only eating ‘liquid’, I was getting worse. so the liquid diet thing must not be helping then, right? WHO KNOWS. but I convinced myself that it wasn’t and went back to eating more solid (but soft) foods. by the start of last week I was falling a part in every way. I was going running to the washroom 20 + times a day, my brain started working weirdly, and I was still trying to go to work. which I know wasn’t a good thing – I was overdoing it but we had an event coming up that I thought was more important than my health? or something stupid like that. STEP ONE in curing any illness is REST. so I’ve been off work since last Wednesday (missed the event and all that insignificant stuff.. in the big scheme of things) and I’ve been getting lots of rest which in itself has been very beneficial. when I’m in a flare as bad as this one, a simple glass of water will make me sick. every time I leave the washroom, I only have enough energy to go lay my head back down. when I saw my naturopath last week he said I was on the way to anemia from all the blood I was losing (remember I go in to flares also when my cycle starts. yes, FUN TIMES) so he gave me a B12 shot which gave me my energy back for about 2 hours. I really should have gone for blood work because my iron was probably for sure low. I’ve just been so sick of so many dr. appointments. all I wanted was to lay on the couch and get lost in someone else’s world on tv. my brain was paralyzed. a glass of water was enough to make me run to the washroom. and after running to the washroom 20 + time I’m pretty much just passing blood and rubbing my tummy over and over praying for the pain to stop. sorry for the TMI (too much info) but I have to be careful not to sugarcoat this disease. a really big struggle of mine is dealing with an invisible disease. when people say to me, oh you don’t look sick, that hurts. a lot. and this disease is a tough one to talk about. but after 11 years I’ve finally found the courage. I will try to be the voice for so many who can’t speak about it. you are not alone and I hope pray you find this blog.

The major game changer for me in healing this particular flare has been a very very powerful probiotic I started last Tuesday. I’ve known about it for quite some time now but never tried it before because it is very expensive. and it’s not covered by insurance. It’s called VSL#3 and the pharmacy orders it in. It’s $114 for 30 packets. I would recommend it to anyone suffering with gut problems. If you can afford it, it’s worth the try! there are a lot of testimonials out there  –  it’s even being used for Autism and some have noticed a significant difference  (that also includes being on a specific diet)
I started with 1 pack per day but quickly upped it to 1 + 1/2 packs a day because of how much of a positive difference it was making in my gut. it only took two days of being on this stuff  that I started to noticed an incredible difference. Today I’ve been on it for 1 week and am going to start taking 2 packs per day to try and get me out of this flare quicker.  I was taking one before bed and FINALLY started sleeping through the night. so now I’m also going take one first thing when I wake up.

colitis-flare-remedies
my ulcerative colitis flare-up fixes: cognitive behaviour therapy (don’t STRESS), sweet snuggles, and VSL#3!!!

the two very big changes I had made to my diet a year ago was eliminating gluten and adding bone broth bone broth bone broth. this is what I believe played a big part in keeping me in remission for that entire year. (exercise and stress are two other key components). What took me out of remission (and lead me to the flare in Feb / the flare that just keeps on givin’) was chronic stress [about something specific] and not following my diet. I had two alcohol ‘binges’ 13 days apart. SO ridciulous of me. but heck did we have fun! ;-) (not so worth it now)

I’ve been on asacol for 11 years.(and that scares the shit out of me – LOL no pun intended) this is a drug used for maintenance and for flare-ups. so when I’m in remission I take 3 800 mg pills per day. when I have a flare-up I take 6 of these pills. this medication is specifically designed to only ‘open’ when it reaches the intestine. and yesterday I found 3 unopened/undigested pills in the toilet. so yeah. my digestive system is still broken.

so the mayhem continues. it actually all started around the time I started this blog. which is kind of ironic because one of the reasons I started this blog was because of how well I was doing with my colitis. and wanted to help others. funny, I want to help others and I can’t even help myself.
that’s not true. but sometimes it’s easy to believe.

aside from being a little broken [physically] at the moment, I am happy to report that my sweet friend sorrow has left me. which is a perfect sign that I am slowly healing. (they say the gut is our second brain. and these IBD research studies I’m involved in are studying the brain. I am VERY happy that is being studied ) I am also so so thankful for all the support I have from my family, friends, and colleagues. impromptu visits with Kate and my Mase man <3, my (better be future) sis-in-law did my grocery shopping for me last week. bless her. my boss and colleagues are so caring and understanding – they’ve got my back and have been stepping in for me. what a great team. a very sweet lady I’ve only met once, texted me her work schedule and said to call her for whatever I need (SO kind). my instructor is an angel and has been so accommodating with all the classes I’ve been missing.  my mom, my hero. she is still taking care of me like she did when I was a child. except now she has two kitchens to clean! ha ha. messages from friends and fam checking in on me. it all means SO MUCH to me and I THANK YOU.

as long as we have love in this world, everything will be okay.

-always with a grateful heart,

j

 

Stressed out Mom over here!

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This week’s craziness…

So Mason was sick this past week, it was rough. He started off with just a cold. It was a weak cold that lasted a few days and then it got worse. Ty and I brought him to get checked and yes it was the common viral infection that was going around. Mason doesn’t get sick too often but when he does, he does! Continue reading “Stressed out Mom over here!”

My experience.. so far. #onblogging

Hey Hey ya’ll, long time no post….. I know! Hope everyone reading today is having a fantastic Friday, and is enjoying warming weather!!!!!!! Any who I am going to jump right into it today.

When Jenna explained to me her idea about the blog, and sharing our experiences with the world I was not against it but I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to get deep and into detail about some of my experiences. As much as I would love to share with you my past 2 years being sick some things are just too personal to blurt out to the world. I think most of you would be understanding to that and so I will share with you what I am comfortable with and go from there.

When I was about 20 years old I got really sick with strep for half a year, while dealing with that I got diagnosed with endometriosis which is common in women. Endometriosis is when the tissue that usually lines the inside of the uterus grows on the outside. It can include your ovaries, bowels, or lining tissue of the pelvis. This can cause extreme amounts of pain and cramping, excessive bleeding, infertility, etc. Google if you want more information on it. One of the outcomes I was told of having endometriosis right off the bat was that I had a very minimal chance in getting pregnant and having children. I was so young at the time and knew that I didn’t want children then but knew that I absolutely wanted to have children in my future. I was upset and devastated but knew that other options were out there to have kids so I wasn’t going to let it affect me at the time. Time passed, I met Tyler and pretty soon into dating I told him about my “issues” obviously he was beyond understanding. He was willing to take those chances with me and we both agreed if something happened it would happen. I hadn’t been on contraceptive in years prior to meeting him and I wasn’t currently on anything either as it made me sick. I have to say ladies when I went off the pill I felt so much better on a day to day basis. After finding out about the infertility I didn’t feel I should be on the pill as I find it very harmful. Anyways ya funny, we got pregnant clearly and had Mason!!!!!!!!! It truly is a blessing, and we see him as our little miracle. Love that little human so much. My pregnancy went extremely smooth except for the beginning I was sick which is 100% normal. Actually I was the healthiest when I was pregnant. My body actually felt better then than I can ever remember. I mean mentally I was a little pissed I couldn’t have some wine for 9 months but all in all I’d say it was worth it ;)

After I had Mason everything was a huge adjustment. Kids are a big adjustment! The greatest though. I breastfed for 8 months and decided to call er’ quits, and get back to my life. I lost weight extremely quick after I had him and even though I was eating non stop I kept shedding the weight (I know some of you are probably saying lucky…. as it can be hard to loose weight after baby) but it got to the point where I got fragile and wasn’t feeling well any day. Food would go straight through me and I had other issues occurring also with my endometriosis. I was so tired that it actually hurt to wake up in the morning. I was constantly nauseous and my body was always aching. I was getting test done for colitis, Crohn’s, IBS, as that runs in my family. I had my endometriosis re tested also. I tried food restrictions and lifestyle changes. I started seeing a naturopath as well ( I strongly suggest naturopaths!!!!) My levels were so low, all my vitamins were low my b12 was shockingly low which explains all my tiredness my vitamin D was not even 1/8th of what a normal person should have. I was in the worst shape I’ve ever been in before. You could see every bone basically in my body. I started taking all vitamin supplements and lots of them. I got b12 shots, [love love love those]. I slowly got feeling a bit better when my body was getting back on track with the vitamins but I was still was loosing weight. It was insane what having a baby does to your body. Completely whacks it out of place. I really struggled during this time being a mom and taking care of myself. I felt so un-productive all the time and it really took a toll on my body. I got down to 96 pounds and whoever knows me knows I already have zero muscle. After my mat leave was over I worked for a few months and sadly had to take time off again to rest and get better. I would hear every single day from believe it or not strangers at how skinny I am and how I look like a twig and honestly it got to the point where it really did hurt my feelings. My confidence in myself was at it’s all time low. Taking time off was hard for me to do too, I was really excited to get back to work and be me again, but it was definitely worth taking the time off. I was able to relax and give my body a break and taking things slow did help me improve health wise. I was able to de-stress and hang with my little man. After taking a couple months off it was back to try work again. I am so happy to say that I am on month 9 of being back consistently at work and still been feeling pretty well for the most part. I’m now back up near 115 lbs. which has been a slow progression but its getting normal. I’m still working to getting back to my healthy self but it is taking time and everyday is even better.

I know most are wondering well what is it making me better. I have my endometriosis under control currently. It has it’s moments but for the most part I think we found a solution. I am keeping on track with vitamins and taking care of myself as much as I can. All in all I am feeling good. My health has been so good to me for the past months and I am for sure taking it :).

I hope you all have such an awesome weekend and I welcome anyone who may have dealt or is dealing with any of the same symptoms to feel free to message me and talk cause I still want to know more and learn more about what I can do, or maybe I can help someone else!

Checking out for now –

Kate

home sweet home. and holy, life is full.

mother-nature-confused

well here I am peeps. finally.  [just read kate’s reply post. tee hee. she makes me smile.]

it’s Easter Monday and I am thankful for having the day off work. well, ‘work work’.. the work that pays my bills. I am also on a three-week break from the interior design and decorating program i’m enrolled in. i’ve been working towards this certificate, part-time, since sept 2013. I have one more class to go and i’m GRADUATED this june. which feels very cool.

[in 2011 my first-love aka #illinoisboy and I bought an older home (from my dad..he’s a flipper-upper) – I think it was built in the 1930s – and we tackled a lot of cool reno projects to make it a really perfect place. I say ‘we’ but he did all the work while I told him how to do it  I wanted it ;-) !except! .painting. I did/do all the painting. and it’s never ending. anyway, there’s always still ‘the next project’, so for the last couple years i’ve been able to count on my dad and brother to help me with the latest. i’d really love to share all the before and after pics with you all some day. more about the design part of my life, later.]

okay, so thinking about my post before the last one, takes me back to my new favourite state >> !!hello AriZonA!!<<
the night I wrote the ‘colitis sidelined me’ post was the eve of a really cool day to come. some really awesome peeps from home//Winnipeg// were actually in Arizona at the same time as me, little did I know, so I was surprise+excited when they messaged me the night before to see if I wanted to go for lunch. and that they would pick me up ON.THEIR.MOTORCYLES. (!!!!!!!!!!). this was SUPER cool and I was bleepin’ excited. i’ve always wondered when I would get to go on my first motorcycle ride in this lifetime of mine. (!!!!!) and to top it off, we rode through the mountains. (!!) don’t think I could top that as a first ride.

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later that afternoon/evening it was back to the mountains!!  I got to go 4x4ing with my local bestie. in her Jeep. what a freakin blast we had.  [all the bouncing around did make my #colitistummy upset at times tho.]

the next day was home time. sad face. and thank goodness my mom taught me how to pack. when I first piled up all my crap I wondered if I had maybe done a little too much shopping?!? I honestly didn’t think I was gonna be able to take all of it home. shockingly I made it work. roll your clothes my friends, roll roll roll. I even had an extra 4 pairs of shoes and my larger toiletry bag to add to the mix.

roll-n-pack

my first week back home was busy with work and fun and schoolwork. on vacay I missed 3 classes and I was a little worried. my final project was due only 4 days after I got home. stupid planning on my part. yes. but i’m pretty happy with the project results.

I did have to forfeit one day of #projecttime for a family affair [which is always at the top of my priority list anyway. (spending time with family)] kate’s sis-in-law had her Young Living launch. I hadn’t heard of Young Living before… it’s an essential oil company. kate and I got excited and both bought the premier starter kit which includes 11 different pure essential oils and the diffuser. one thing I did not know about essential oils is that they are not regulated in the US and Canada. so an oil we buy from the health store, or wherever, can be labeled as a pure oil but that may not actually be true or at least we don’t know how concentrated it is. it could be diluted. Young Living has a seed-to-seal promise – their oils are as potent and pure as they can come. I was really impressed and even more so when they finally got delivered last week – I’ve been putting them to the test for all kinds of things. and katelyn, you are going to be super excited about one of them. think: answer to your question. [!!!!]

well, it’s lunch time as I write this is so I think I’ll share what i’m having cause it’s one of my favourite dishes. it’s so good.
organic quinoa on a bed of organic spinach with avocado and cucumbers. after the quinoa is cooked I sprinkle on pink himalayan salt (healthiest kind of salt), extra virgin olive oil, and freshly squeezed lemon.
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it has been one of my favs since kate introduced it to me – they make a similar quinoa salad at her restaurant. if I hadn’t just come out of a flare-up, i’d have a ‘cheat’ and add feta goat cheese… YUM. and it’s in my fridge too so it’s stupid tempting. adding the goat cheese would also kill the alkaline boost I’m getting right now from everything that’s in it. come to think of it, I was eating this salad with the goat cheese and hard boiled eggs (both mega acidity) a lot before I wound up in this last flare [I am still weaning off from stupid prednisone. down to 5mg today. woo hoo.] and dairy is usually a big no-no for peeps with digestive issues and for sure for my loves with an inflammatory bowel disease. mind you. i’d argue that diary is good for no one. but I’m not looking to piss anyone off so i’ll stay away from that one, ha ha.

since we’re on the topic of food [one of my colitis ‘cures’], the first thing I had to do when I got back from Mesa was whip up another batch of bone broth. and i’ve already cooked my second batch.. it finished this morning. actually it’s on my counter waiting to be strained so i’m going to do that right now..it’s been sitting for too long.

../…/…/…/

bone broth has been a new staple in my diet for the last 13 months. I have it every day. I have so much to say about bone broth that it will take a separate post. but for now, in a nutshell, it’s a miracle worker. bone broth heals leaky gut. what is leaky gut? I learned about leaky gut and bone broth from my new naturopath. [up until last year I hadn’t seen a naturopath since I think 2006. the onset of colitis for me, with bad bad symptoms, was in 2004 – the beginning of the suffering part of my life. little did I know that I would not always suffer from ulcerative colitis. and the naturopath was the one who helped me get out of my very first flare.]
so leaky gut. this happens when the lining of our digestive track gets damaged and toxins leak in to our bloodstream. I’ll explain…
we all have tiny tiny holes in the lining of our intestines. like a net. that’s how we get nutrients into our bloodstream. it’s like our body’s filtration system. over time this filtration system (that’s supposed to let the good stuff in, and keep the bad stuff out) can get damaged from all the the crap we eat and the poison we put into our bodies. > . > unnatural lab-created fake and processed foods, full of chemicals and additives. artificial sweeteners. pesticides, preservatives. gluten. prescription drugs. !!antibiotics!!! alcohol + more. so damage happens and now these tiny holes are too big and nows toxins and undigested food particles can escape in to the bloodstream and wreak havoc. our immune system reacts. it starts attacking our good cells. our bodies are engulfed with inflammation.

anyway, here’s the ‘in a nut shell’ >>  bone broth helps to heal leaky gut << AND. leaky gut is not just a colitis thing. it could be the root of other digestive issues and autoimmune diseases. I encourage you to go visit our friend google.

my first week back to work after my holiday was tough. daylight savings kicked my butt. I wasn’t quite out out of the woods with my flare and making sure I was getting adequate REST was (and is) still a priority. rest, when I am not well, is crucial. actually. rest is important all the time to help avoid being ‘not well’ in the first place. and that goes for all humans.

with being on the prednisone, my sleep pattern was a little messed up. so add the hour timezone difference plus the hour we lost from daylight savings (which of course happened the moment I stepped off the plane). it took me a full week to be able to get back to my regular routine without doing any damage.

it has been go-go-go since the first day I got home….. [and I love it but i’m needing a week now of just vegging now.]

after all the project cramming was done, first thing was first: Costco. and the Ninja!! I ruined my sissy NutriBullet 600 (which was a decent blender for my smoothies. but i filled it one too many times passed the MAX line and now it smells like fire). So now I have the Ninja which has double the power of the NutriBullet. and I got the deluxe set which includes the food processor as well.

what else did I get up to..

>>> I went to check in with my naturopath (hadn’t seen him for a year). I did a little bragging about how I made it *almost* a full year in remission [for the first time ever!]. he was proud of me.

>>> went for a massage // and I should also be getting my butt to my chiropractor to get a good tune-up. my spine deserves better.

>>> finally mastered making a loaf of gluten free bread. third time’s a charm. but also bombed a pan of gluten free biscuits -the tallow from the bone broth *in theory* was a good idea as a substitute for shortening. however, the taste was not good. at all. I threw all 12 biscuits out. had I’d been making a meat pie tho.. it probably would have worked well.
[side note I learned about fat: lard is not the word for ‘fat’ from meat in general. lard means the fat from pork. whereas tallow is the fat from beef.]

>>> mom, my aunty (kate’s mom/my other mom/my mom’s twin) and me hit up the parade of homes. it’s our semi-annual thing we do. we go in the spring and in the fall. and we can’t. get. enough. and now i’m in love with the idea of getting a new couch. when we bought our house it came with fairly decent leather couches. I didn’t love them cause they’re not my style but I would have felt guilty getting rid of something that I should be grateful for having… I saved money not needing to buy new couches when we moved in.   anyway. let’s just say I settled. but now it’s been four years. soooooo…

oh and I guess another big reason I kept them is because they had to come in through the front window. so to get them out… yep. thru my front 5′ x 4′ picture window. so if I want them gone, the window has to come out. my dad says it’s a 4 beer job for him and my brother. sounds like a plan to me!

>>> I made some more of my homemade body butter – can’t wait to use my new oils next time.

>>> family dinners, my niece’s first birthday party, Easter festivities

>>> then a small group of us went to my brother’s friend’s wedding social. goodness I hadn’t been to one in quite some time. I LOVE wedding socials so I was excited to go.
for those of our followers from different places / other countries (#supercool btw), you may not know what a wedding social is, so here goes:
we here in Manitoba (it’s not a Canadian thing either)  have a party – usually hosted in a community centre – to raise money to offset some costs of our wedding. the wedding party is hugely involved in the planning of the event and selling of tickets, which are typically $10 each. money is raised by ticket sales, alcohol sales, 50/50 draw and silent auction sales. you can end up raising a shit ton of cash – i’d say under or above 10K – all depends on the venue capacity, how awesome your peeps are at ticket sales, how great your silent auction prizes are and the time of year / date you pick (you don’t have a wedding social during the summer, because no one will come, because everyone’s at the lake).
it’s like a huge private party with family and friends. and new friends. and cheap drinks, sometimes really awesome prizes, good music, lots of fun dancing (obviously), late night ‘social food’ + more. anyway, #colitisgirl still can’t have alcohol so I was the designated driver for the evening. story of my life. *buuut* guess what? fun can still ensue ;-) …  like two-stepping with my brother!!

wedding-social-two-step
moments like this is what life is all about.

the next day spring cleaning happened and I purged (woo hoo) stuff that i’m proud of myself for getting rid of. that i was just holding on to. for no reason. cause I’m a hoarder. ha. not. though #illinoisboy and my mother would say that about me.
the thing is, I LOVE thrift shopping and garage-sale-ing. and I find a lot of good deals. and a lot of vintage and old which I love. and I’m a DIY-er. so sometimes the things I collect for future projects get mistaken for stuff that is useless and will just collect dust. but this is just not so :)

what else…

CAA got to know me well this past week. (booooo cause that means vehicle troubles). thank goodness I decided to sign-up with them – only just in January too.
so I still drive the same truck I’ve had since I was 17 years old. and it’s been really really good to me. but, be careful what you wish for, jenna. or what you say around your vehicle. cause apparently they have ears and feelings…
after our jeeping escapades in the mountains, I was HOOKED and in love and decided I was getting a jeep. and for the first week back home, that’s all I talked about. that I was getting a jeep. thankfully the practical part of my brain talked myself out of it cause I can’t comfortably afford a car payment right now.
and then…

my truck broke down.

ha. which happened probably only within 12 hours of me deciding that I should be very grateful to still have a great vehicle that’s paid for. lol. shit balls. I totally jinxed myself. or my truck heard me talk about getting a jeep and thought I deserved a lesson!
I called CAA and got it towed to my cousin-in-law’s shop and he took good care of us (me and black beauty and my wallet). I had to get a new fuel pump.
when I called CAA I learned that the 4 service calls I can make within the year are for ANY service. here I thought I was limited on how many times I could get a tow. both my vehicle and my moms vehicle are old and tows are expensive so I was so excited to learn that I could get 4 tows if I needed!! right then and there I decided that I would never call CAA for something petty. like a flat. cause that’s what brothers are for. [actually baby bro did teach me how to change a flat. good little brother he is. but i’d still call him anyway]
and then ONLY 4 days later it’s Easter Sunday. we go to church, I’m driving us in moms car. church is awesome. we get back to the car. doors are locked and bleepin fricken bleep bleep keys are still in the ignition!!!!
cause I am a doorknob :)
my first thought out loud was, HECK if I’m wasting a CAA call only for them to come unlock the bloody door!!! and then we just started to laugh.
OMGoodness.
but we really had no choice but to call. Easter Brunch with our family + kate’s fam was at my moms place in 30 mins.
boy did we LAUGH. mainly about the irony. and my stupidity of course. and then we laughed some more when the biggest CAA truck in the city showed up. a flatbed semi. to unlock a door. ha ha.
so awesome. and more laughs.

…….
…..

okay well it’s no longer Easter Monday. I had a feeling my brain would get distracted. in the midst of this post I went to Design Manitoba to look at a sectional that i’m in love with. then all of a sudden today’s Friday.

where did this week go? I spent most of it fighting a wicked bug, probably the flu. and I say fighting because I’m taking it’s ass down. I will share how I did it, next time. [providing I don’t die from it this weekend]. it involves my new concoction I made up in Mesa. and now I call it my mesa concoction. it also involves my new oils that I forgot I had. and maybe some silver. and i don’t get the flu shot either. I’m one of those people, yes. and because I have colitis i’m in the ‘high risk’ category and according to the experts I should be getting the flu shot. but I believe otherwise. I also don’t do antibiotics. since almost forever.

on Tuesday my very own vitamin dispensary showed up. backstory: I wouldn’t shut up about my ‘happy pill’ that I’m obsessed with, so a couple friends [and mom and bro] are like, alright, alright, just order me some already, jenna. he he he. success.
its an advanced B complex and it is magical.
i’ve never ordered from the Canadian Vitamin Shop before but they are cheaper than where I used to get them. and shipping was free (if you spend $70) and super fast. I got this nice note too. I will be shopping there again.
vitamin-b-happy-pill

tomorrow my mom and I are going to the Winnipeg Home and Garden Show. I love learning about new products and getting design ideas and inspiration. not going to lie tho, I am MOST EXCITED to see Jillian Harris from Love It or List It Vancouver. Todd’s pretty cool too I guess. [her counterpart].

kay, psych. it’s not Friday anymore.

*>!*poof*!<*  it’s Monday. and now I can tell you how much more I LOVE Jillian Harris. small #girlcrush going on over here. haha. but she is seriously probably my most favourite tv personality. i’ve always been a big fan of hers ever since Love It or List It.  her and Todd were so funny. and funny just like they are on tv. makes their show feel that much more authentic and not staged. they are the exact same people in person as they are on tv. unedited realness. their bickering is hilarious. she’s pretty quick and witty. and she has no filter which is awesome. they killed it.
she also has the cutest little baby bump. and a great blog. thanks for being awesome, Jillian Harris.<3
home-and-garden-show-jillian-harris

something we learned today: wrinkle-free fabrics are made with formaldehyde
and formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. so yeeaahhhh. how bout that iron?

alright, I think that’s about it for now. three weeks have passed since i’ve return from my mesa vacay and certainly life is full! full of outings and events. full of work. full of learning. full of doing. full of prep and cooking. full of appointments. full of fun. full of family. full of love. full of healing. full of gratitude.

speaking of gratitude. the url for our blog is kinda long and lame. and it will be that way until we decide what we want our domain to be. in the meantime, feel free to use gratefulheart.ca if you talk with someone who you think may be interested in following us.

until next time, loves. xo

tag, you’re it, kate.

-j