My Crohn’s Story- Part 2

First things first: Happy Birthday to my Brother in Law!!! 🙂

This is a continuation of my Crohn’s story. This post picks from where I left off in my previous post. I was just finishing up talking about my experience with Crohn’s disease in high school & moving on to life in college.

College was actually REALLY good! I never had a flair up once..and I was on really light medication.(Pentasa)  Everything involving my stomach was actually ‘pretty normal,’ and I was really lucky! Adjusting to college life is hard enough, let alone throwing in stomach issues.

During my whole college career, I think I only had one not so good experience but it lasted only about a month

Once I graduated college, the flair up happened…that I’m still experiencing. It was about 3 months out of college. I graduated in December 2009 & the flair up hit March 2010; I will never forget that month. It was a mess.I can even pin point the day that it started- I just remember being in SO much pain one night while out at dinner, I actually had to leave the restaurant. At first I thought it was from the food that we ate (sushi), but later I found out that it had nothing to do with the food, it was just a flair up.

My whole goal right now is to try to control this flair up that I’m currently going through, and to do that I have had to adjust what I eat. Yes, sometimes it sucks…but I would rather change a few things rather than constantly be in pain. If you have Crohn’s or know someone that has it, you could try these suggestions! They might help you control the disease.

Dairy.

This is the hardest one. Sometimes Crohn’s disease can cause lactose intolerance. One of the suggestions that I have is to use those lactose pills. I have found that they tend to help a bit.

Sugar Substitutes.

These things are now the devil to me. I had NO idea how much they affected my stomach until I stopped using them. I always swore by Splenda- I used it in coffee, baked goods, anything that needed sweetening. Now I stay FAR FARaway from it. It just caused a lot of gas/ bloating and I honestly think it’s a good idea to stay away from sugar substitutes in general, even if you don’t have Crohn’s disease.

Instead of Splenda, I have now turned to Truvia or Stevia to do my sweetening!

It is an all natural calorie free sweetener!

Coffee.

I LOVE coffee. Like really LOVE it. I’m sure you can tell after my post yesterday.  As much as I love it, I PAY for drinking it everyday. Coffee is a diurectic, it makes you GO! (& by go, I don’t mean pee!) You see, even though I should probably give it up completely, there are some things that I just refuse to give up to this disease. Yes, I do know I might feel better if I stop drinking it, but I just really love it. If you aren’t such a big coffee drinker like me, I suggest trying tea. I guarantee you will feel better than drinking coffee.

Alcohol.

This one is the easiest for me! Honestly, the past couple of months I have really stayed away from alcohol in general. I just don’t like drinking it that much anymore. Now if you offer me a glass of wine, that’s a TOTALLY different story! I LOVE wine..but no so big on the alcohol anymore. It just really makes me sick to my stomach..and I REALLY feel it the next day..even after just ONEdrink. Eek!

Other things that I have also tried to avoid eating as much include salads- too much ‘roughage’ , popcorn (hard to digest), oatmeal (high fiber), and spicy foods. (I swear the spice goes STRAIGHTto the stomach!)

These are just some of the things that I have found that work for me. I know everything is different for everyone, but I think staying away from these things (Or having less of them) has really helped me.

If you have any questions about Crohn’s, or need someone to talk to, please feel free to email me: everydayholly@gmail.com. Oh, and happy Friday eve!!

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My Crohn’s Story- Part 1

I know that some readers from my old blog actually found my blog when they were looking up information on Crohn’s disease. I wanted to share my Crohn’s story on my new blog as well, since some of you might be interested. It’s a pretty long story, so I am going to break it into a few parts. If you did read my old blog, you might not be interested in this post since it is really similar to one that I wrote before. So feel free to skip out on this post!

Short story:

What is Crohn’s? It is an autoimmune disease that attacks your intestines. It can effect any part of your upper or lower intestines as well as your colon…or it can affect all three.

How does it effect you? Well, honestly, it makes you go to the bathroom. A LOT. And there is a lot of cramping, bloating, and other stomach issues. You can also lose a lot of blood because typically there is blood in your stool. (Sorry if that was tmi!)

Is there a cure? No, but there are medications you can take. The only thing is that the medications that you can take for the disease also have some pretty harsh side effects, the main one being a lowered immune system. (so you pick up pretty much every cold you encounter)

How do you deal with it? Well, right now I am on a few medications (Asacol & Entocort) to help with the symptoms. Some days are worse than others, but you just HAVE to keep your head up, otherwise it can really drag you down. (physically and mentally)

If you would like more information- check out this website: Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation
crohnsribbon

Long story:

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at 16 years old, a sophomore in high school & VERY active in cross-country & track and field. I was diagnosed by a blood test, & the only reason they ever did a test was because my Dad has Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s is heredity, and from everything I had been describing to my Dad, he had a feeling it might be Crohn’s.

Every summer 2-3 years before I was diagnosed, I would get REALLY bad stomach pain- sometimes it hurt so bad that it was hard for me to even get out of bed. I had no idea what was going on. Accompanied with the stomach pain was diarrhea & all sorts of other nasty stomach stuff that you probably do not want to hear about.  Let’s just say I spent a LOT of time in the bathroom.

No one had any idea what was going on with me, and the weirdest thing was that I would only get this pain in the summer time, not while I was in school. My doctor initially thought it might be some kind of stomach virus, but it just kept coming back.

Finally one summer was REALLY bad..and we needed answers. I wanted to know what in the heck was going on with my body. My doctor agreed to the blood test & the results showed that I had Crohn’s. Even though you are born with the disease, usually it does not show up until later in life, typically in your teen years. It is known as a ‘young person’s disease’ for that very reason. It is typically very active when you are younger & most people go into ‘remission’ as they get older.

I wasn’t sure what to think at first. I didn’t know much about the disease. My Dad never talked much about it, because he was in ‘remission’ since he was 18 years old.

N037<—me & my Dad on my wedding day

I never really felt the ‘effects’ of the disease (except for the time during the summers) until I was a senior in high school.

During my senior year I REALLY felt what it was like to live with Crohn’s disease. It was pretty hard for a kid in high school, because it was embarrassing!! I’m sure you remember how it was in high school- you NEVER went #2 (sorry to be gross.) in the school bathrooms. That was like a HUGErule.  So I’m sure you can imagine how difficult it was to hide the fact that I had Crohn’s. Thankfully I had a few close friends that I told about the disease, and they always had my back.

I think one of the biggest things that was affected after being diagnosed with Crohn’s was my running career. Saying that ‘running was my life’ would be a HUGE understatement. It was not just my life it was my EVERYTHING. It’s what I thought about all day, dreamt about & couldn’t wait to do every single day.
<– that’s me in the yearbook

<– a few of my medals & ribbons from my high school days

Since Crohn’s disease was pretty unheard of at the time, most people just didn’t get it. Even my coach was like, ‘Holly just hold it.’ I only WISHit was that easy. Overtime he started to realize that I wasn’t just making this disease up, and it was really making an impact on my running & not a good impact.

Thankfully a few months into my senior year of high school my doctor (at the time) was able to get it under control. When I graduated high school everything seemed to be ‘back to normal.’ The only thing that was on my mind at the time was what could possibly happen when I went to college…what if I got a flair up in the middle of the semester?? And since I was going to have roommates I thought about what they might think of me if I was constantly in the bathroom & if they would be understanding of the situation.

I figure that is enough for today, I will have more posts soon about this topic! If you ever have any questions about the disease, feel free to email me: everydayholly@gmail.com.

Have a great Thursday!

20 Questions

Good Morning!

I saw this post on Christina’s(aka ‘Xtina’s) blog the other week & thought I would ‘borrow’ it from her. (thanks Christina 🙂 )I always love these surveys, and for new readers I figured you might like to get to know me a bit better!

1) What is one of your favorite ways to spend a Saturday?
Waking up with a cup of coffee (Starbucks in particular- extra bold), watching some shows that I have on DVR, going for a long run (or long workout at the gym), ordering take out food & enjoying a glass of wine with a movie. Sounds like a perfect day to me! 🙂
IMG_2004

2) List your top three favorite TV shows.
1. Big Brother. I hate having to wait until the summer each year. They need a summer & winter Big Brother!
2.  Dexter…obsessed.. & I can’t wait for the new season.
3. Shameless- Craig & I just watched the whole first season & now I’m hooked. It’s such a good show & William H. Macy plays the perfect role.

3) Would you rather be in pictures or take them?
Take the pictures. You can ask my family & friends, I’m like the paparazzi. Whenever we have a get together I always have my camera!
camera

4) Why do you blog?
Well I stopped for a while, and then I realized that I DO enjoy it- I like keeping in touch with family & friends. I also enjoy the ‘blogging community’ & I have met some genuine friends, which I would of never met if I didn’t blog.

5) Share five websites that you visit
Facebook
Twitter
Aol (my email)
Google Reader (have to catch up on my favorite blogs)
E! Online (Love the latest celebrity gossip)

6) If you could have lunch with one person from your Twitter list, who would it be? Lardarius Webb. Because he’s my favorite Ravens player. Love him ❤ …and I have met him before, but it was brief. I would love to be able to talk to him over lunch.
webb1

webb

7) List a few of your favorite snacks.
Chobani Greek Yogurt (I eat it everyday, usually for lunch), Rice cakes (seriously…with peanut butter on them), peanuts (only salted), & blueberries.

8 ) Do you have a pet? If so, what kind?
Fish count ,right?! I have two betta fish- one at home, his name is 27…and one at work, his name is Webb. (wonder why that’s his name?! ;))
068<—27

9) Which three material possessions would you struggle to live without?
Camera, chapstick (the green blistex…it’s the best), & toilet paper. (<—totally legit, right?!)

10) What’s your favorite drink?
Iced coffee from starbucks followed closely by ice water
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11) Do you enjoy cooking?
LOVE it!

12) Do you have children?
Not yet, but definitely in the future!

13) What are your favorite hobbies?
Working out / Running, Reading, scrapbooking when I have time
bis<—Now isn’t that intimidating?! Yikes! 

14) Would you consider yourself to be shy or outgoing?
Outgoing, definitely. I’m little Miss Chatty Cathy, I could talk to a wall.

15) If you could change one thing about yourself, what would you change?
I would take away my Crohn’s disease. Blah!
crohn's stinks

16) Who is your favorite actor/actress?
Mark Wahlberg / Reese Witherspoon.
mark<—Oh, HELLO!

17) What’s the coolest thing you’ve done this week?
Ha! It’s only Tuesday. Yesterday was Monday…. So I would say it was pretty cool to get myself to work ontime. Go me. It’s the little things. 😉

18) Do you live near your family or far from them?
Most of my family is in Florida, most of Craig’s family is in Maryland.
N136<—My family
N140<—Craig’s family (well, my family now too!)

19) List three of your talents.
– Cooking/ baking- anything in the kitchen
-I have an eye for interior decorating- you might not be able to tell it quite yet, but our house is coming together room by room. We still have a lot planned to do & I can’t wait!
-I think I take pretty good pictures. It’s a work in progress, but hopefully soon I can truly call it a ‘talent.’

20) What is your greatest attribute?
I have a lot of motivation. I don’t give up easy. I am constantly pushing myself in life- at my job (always trying to move up in the company), in the gym (daily 5am workouts) , and in my relationships. I want to be the best that I can possibly be.

Now it’s your turn, tell me something about yourself that most people might not know.