The Beast Is Back…

Good Morning to you!

This post is going to be a bit of a ‘Debbie downer’ type of post, and for that I apologize, but I just want to be as real as I can be with you regarding my Crohn’s disease.

I had planned on writing this a few weeks ago, right when Gabriella turned 6 months old, but I kept putting it off and it’s kind of ironic that I did because boy did it change in a matter of a couple of weeks.

I was living the life before this past week. It was almost like I didn’t have the disease. I had a few rough days here & there, mainly with the urgency to go to the bathroom immediately, but nothing too crazy.

Before I got pregnant with Gabriella I couldn’t remember the last time that I was able to run outside. I always ran on the treadmill so that I was near a bathroom at all times.

Then I got pregnant & life changed. My Crohn’s pretty much went into ‘remission.’ I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t know what it was like to live life Crohn’s free.

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I was able to run outside, eat ‘normal’ foods when I wanted & not have to know where every bathroom was within a two foot radius…well, other than the normal pregnant woman’s need to pee every five seconds. Haha!

During my pregnancy I always wondered how my Crohn’s would do once I gave birth. Would it flare up, like some women experience? Would it stay the way it has been during my pregnancy, which was pretty much remission? Or would I experience a ‘milder’ form of the disease?

November 5th, 2012 I got my answer. My little bundle of love arrived.

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The best day of my life.

I honestly was on pins & needles regarding my Crohn’s after giving birth. I really felt like at ANY second it would flare back up. But as time went on, and I didn’t have any symptoms (other than a few here & there), I figured I may be in the clear.

Well, you know what assuming does…

Last week it took a turn for the worse. The VERY worst. One night it just hit me. I could NOT stay out of the bathroom. I was either up feeding Gabriella, or in the bathroom…ALL NIGHT LONG. It was awful. Completely draining.

I was hoping it might have been something that I ate, and that the issues would go away. Not the case. For the past week I have been in the bathroom more than I ever want to talk about.

I have been completely exhausted. My body is not absorbing ANY food. The second I eat anything, even something as plain as a piece of toast, I end up in the bathroom about five minutes after I finish. Gross.

The other thing that is worrisome is my weight. It keeps going down…it’s getting BAD. I know, you are probably thinking, ‘Cry me a freaking river Holly. You poor thing.’ But it IS a HUGE issue now. I lost three pounds in two days. I look like I need to eat. It’s NOT the look I’m going for.

This is me (& Lea 🙂 ) right before I got pregnant:

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I actually liked my weight at the point in life….which for me had NEVER happened before. I always had issues with body image (I thought stick thin was the way to go), so to actually be content with my weight was a shock.

Now I am smaller than the picture above, which was ok, but now I am quite a bit smaller. Seeing bones is never attractive. This is not by choice, but just because my body isn’t absorbing any nutrients…or any food at all.

The other thing is the exhaustion. Never have I ever really ‘needed’ help with Gabriella since she has been born. Of course I appreciate any help, but right now I am almost to where I NEED the help. Another reason I wish we had family close by. Taking care of a 6.5 month old while being in the bathroom half of the day is not ideal.

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I feel bad for G. I don’t want her to feel like I’m not paying her enough attention.

Another thing is the running. I LOVE running. It is my sanity, and MY time. Yes I go with Gabriella daily, but she plays with toys in the BOB while I run & typically takes her morning nap in the stroller. It gives us a chance to get out of the house, and I am able to get my exercise in. I usually run anywhere between 6 & 10 miles each day. But yesterday I ran three miles & thought I was going to die. I couldn’t believe how DONE I felt when I finished. I felt like I just ran a marathon. Then it hit me ‘DUH!!! You have no fuel in your body to get you through your run. HELLO!’

It’s amazing how much better you feel with some food in your body! And it was scary after that run, to see how much my body was suffering from the symptoms from my Crohn’s.

Once I got home, I called the doctor to see if they had any appointments available. Thankfully they were able to squeeze me in for an ‘emergency appointment’ yesterday afternoon, specifically for patients dealing with a sudden flare up. Like any other doctor appointment, the first thing they do is weigh you & take your blood pressure. Well, the FIRST thing the doctor says when he walks in is ‘You can’t lose anymore weight.’ Which I knew. So we made a plan.

Since I am breastfeeding, my options on the medications that I can take are limited. But he did change my medication from Delzicol to Apriso, which is another form of Mesalamine and it is safe for breastfeeding.

Next up the plan for not losing anymore weight: add protein shakes, or nutrition shakes to my diet. He said 2-3 a day. Eek! But it’s manageable and NEEDS to happen. I immediately went out and bought some shakes as soon as I left the office.

And finally they sent me to a lab to pick up some things so that they can run a bunch of tests to find out if there is some sort of another infection going on, or if it is just my Crohn’s flaring.

He also reminded me that if I am feeling exhausted, it’s probably not the best idea to go out for a long run. (I know, DUH!) He said sometimes a little rest does the body good. And obviously my body is telling me to rest with the feelings of constantly being tired.

I go for a follow up appointment in two weeks. At that appointment we can make our next plan. But we are hoping that the medication starts to work wonders.

If you don’t mind, please say a little prayer that we can find something that works to get this disease back in ‘remission.’ Also anyone want to come & help me take care of a 6.5 month old for a few days?!

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She’s REALLY cute & I promise to pay you in baked goods.

If you made it through this entire post, THANK YOU! I hope it didn’t bore you too much.

Anyone else out there experiencing issues with Crohn’s? What medication or supplements, if any, are you on? Do you have certain things that trigger your disease?

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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
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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!