When life gives you lemons…

well in my case I use them to go a little blonder! 😉 All jokes aside you guys, life is not always sunshine and butterflies.  Sometimes we struggle.  When I set out to start this blog I wanted to accomplish two things:  1. I wanted to be a positive voice and maybe offer some advice for people who are, like me, trying to figure out the best ways to get and stay healthy and 2. I wanted to be real.  That is, while I wanted my story to be one of motivation and positivity, I never wanted to sugar coat my struggles or be inauthentic about the ups and downs that I experience.  This past week for me has been challenging, as will the next several most likely, and initially I was not going to write about why because I try very hard to make this a positive space and well not be a whiny little biatch.  But after I got to thinking about it, I came to the conclusion I would be doing you all a disservice if I never talked about the setbacks I face when it comes to my health because well it’s just not real life to never struggle.

Now that being said, I am very grateful for everything I have in my life, my health in particular, and the situations, such as the one I am about to talk about, that aren’t the greatest still teach me valuable lessons and I am grateful in a way for them as well.  Which brings me to the topic of this post…part of my story that I haven’t talked about here yet is that I have Ulcerative Colitis.  Now I am extremely fortunate in that my case of U.C. is pretty mild compared to how severely others out there suffer from this disease.  In case anyone reading this is unfamiliar with U.C. it is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and ulcers to form in your lower intestines.  It’s in the same family as Crohns Disease but while Crohns can affect both your large and small intestine, U.C. only targets the lower portion.

U.C. manifests itself differently in everyone and can range from being a mild annoyance to a really serious health condition sometimes requiring surgery to remove large portions of the affected area along with lengthy hospital stays.  Luckily for me, I fall on the much less severe end of the spectrum in that while it is always unpleasant when
I have a flare up, I have never landed in the hospital because of it and hopefully will never be a candidate for surgery either.  Always a silver lining you guys…

I will save you the explanation of my symptoms because they are again unpleasant at best, (if you are curious to learn more this is a great website that explains Crohns and Colitiis: https://www.crohnsandcolitis.com/) but the worst of it is stomach pain and the inability to keep food in my system for very long (again I will let you use your imagination as to why that is).  For whatever reason, my disease comes out of remission every two years like clockwork….really I can almost write a calendar by when my next flare up will be.  Now I was hoping that with the lifestyle and diet changes I have made over the past year I was maybe going to be able to avoid a flare up this year, but alas I wasn’t so lucky.  A couple weeks ago, I started getting some symptoms and then sure enough last week it full on announced that it was back and wasn’t going to be ignored.

To back up just a little, I was diagnosed with this about ten years ago after suffering some really perplexing and again unpleasant symptoms that came on suddenly right before I turned 30.  After about a month of progressively getting worse to the point I was barely getting out of bed each day and forcing myself to drink Ensure just to get some nutrition, I finally found a wonderful gastro who subjected me to two colonoscopies and one endoscopy before finally figuring out that was going on.  Now getting the diagnosis and figuring out what was going to work to tame this beast were two different things.  Like a lot of other diseases out there, there are several different treatment options available to someone who suffers from U.C. It took me a few more months to figure out the right course of treatment that worked for my body and while the symptoms are treatable the disease itself unfortunately isn’t curable. It is a lifelong condition for which the goal of treatment is to send it into remission and keep there as long as possible.

I wanted to write about this, not to whine, or complain but because it got me thinking this morning about how many people out there suffer from any number of diseases or ailments and you would never know for lack of any outside manifestation of symptoms.  For me, I tend to lose some weight, again because well food goes into my body and comes right back out, I am tired ALL the time and the medicine itself causes me to have non-stop headaches and just generally feel like I have the flu for weeks on end. Fun right?  I usually, however, can make it through the day with just enough energy to spare but then I go home and spend my evenings and weekends on the couch until the medicine kicks in about 4-6 weeks into treatment.  But if you only knew me casually or passed me on the street you really would have no idea anything was wrong…other than I have some gnarly bags under my eyes at this point!

So here is a BIG shoutout to people who suffer in silence.  Whether it be from an autoimmune disease, a mental health condition, chronic pain or anything that may be going on inside your body that you are battling but can’t be seen by the outside world.  Being on this journey the past year has reinforced to me how precious good health really is and how it shouldn’t be taken for granted. I am very fortunate that my condition is pretty mild compared to what it could be, and the small amount of pain and discomfort I do experience is nothing in comparison to what some people face.  Sometimes people smile through their pain you all.  A kind word, helping hand or even just a smile from you just might make a huge difference in their day.  You really never know what’s going on under the surface so treat everyone with as much kindness, patience and understanding as you possibly can and never take waking up and feeling good for granted!

xoxoxo,

Beth

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56 comments

  1. Dear Beth, thank you for sharing this ‘not so fun’ part of your life, you are amazing in the way that you handle it and it does not seem whiny at all. We all have our crosses to bear, some bigger than others, but such is life and there is always the choice of what to focus on. If you always focus on the positive, it doesn’t mean the negative does not exist, it simply means that you will not let it determine your life. I learned so much after facing cancer and how not to take anything for granted, that now my life is even more meaningful and I feel so very grateful. Once again, thank you ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Oh no!? You mean you’re not perfect? Another illusion shattered. 🙂
    I think it’s good to discuss the setbacks we face; thanks for doing it. I’ve been struggling lately with boredom and not wanting to run, coupled with the desire to be more fit (and I know it doesn’t “just happen”).
    For what it’s worth, I didn’t read “whiny” in your post; and I took from it this: If you have the overall positive attitude you do and look as amazing as you do and struggle with the issues you have… my excuses don’t really look so hot. So… I appreciate the motivation.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. you poor thing…I too, have an autoimmune disease and it has progressively gotten better since I was first diagnosed seven years ago…but those first 5 years were internally unbearable…Fighting a body that didn’t want to work right was exhausting…You are right…it’s invisible…and that’s the hard and easy part all wrapped into one. I hope you can find some peace and comfort…and a day without pain…many blessings to you and your strength.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I am proud of you for sharing your struggles and journey. I too have autoimmune diseases (3) but on the outside I look perfectly fine. A lot of people don’t get it so that is why it is so important you share your personal story. It takes bravery but helps so many!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. It is a pain, (oops sorry about the pun) when one has a chronic condition. Some times one feels, one has a handle on it then it raises it’s ugly head, laughs and lets one know that it is back but more severe. I hope you shortly get a new handle on your condition.
    You certainly did not write a “whiny” post. However, if you do feel you need a whiny post go for it. Schedule it for a few days hence which gives one the time to decide to post or delete. Sometimes just being able to put words to how a condition affects one, allows one to vent without actually publishing it.
    Continue to take care.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This was a very cool read. I have a lot of stomach issues as well (IBS), and nowhere as serious as yours, and I struggle to deal a lot of the time. This isn’t whiny — in fact, I think it’s important to acknowledge the struggles as well as the triumphs. Life ain’t all rainbows and unicorns, and that is ok. Good luck and keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great! Do you have access to a Trader Joe’s? I’m asking because they have a great frozen brown rice. Also, I posted an article a few weeks ago re: haiga mai, a semi-milled rice that Cooks like white rice, but has the nutritional value of brown rice. You can get it online. Nishiki medium-grain haiga is easiest to cook.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Hey beautiful! This sounds like what I have been going through health wise. I am going to have to look into this disease and talk to my doctor about it. I need answers as to why I feel so bad periodically.

    Thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for sharing this vulnerable post. I’m new here but major kudos. I’ve some friends who have suffered with crohns & in my opinion we cannot have enough awareness about it. I suffer from IBS – which isn’t a patch on the spectrum of cholitis but it can be incredibly embarrassing and very distressing at times. It flares for me too. Sending you huge positive vibes & gratitude for sharing 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so you much for stopping by and reading and for the kind words! I always tell myself it could always be worse which keeps me thankful for how healthy I really am…aside from this one issue! Thank you again for reading! 🙂

      Like

  10. Thanks for the like on my Green Powerhouse Drink post. I had an ex-boyfriend with UC. He struggled with it for years but then overhauled his diet with dramatic results. I hope you find the same, and kudos for sharing your vulnerability with others.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much for reading! This past year has really opened my eyes to how much our diet can affect our health. I have changed my diet quite a bit and have also experienced dramatic results….all positive! Thanks again for stopping by! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • First thank you so much for stopping by and reading! Wow so this is one of those everybody is different in how they respond to different treatments kinda things but the biggest thing that helped me was finding the right medication to treat my flair ups. I think I went through about 3 different ones over the course of a year before I found one that very quickly (about two weeks) is able to send my symptoms into remission. As soon as I feel the first symptoms coming on I call my doctor and get on the medication ASAP.
      Also, a change in my diet and being as active as I can really makes a difference. I try to limit caffeine and alcohol to a minimum when I am not in a flare and cut it out completely when I am in one. Basically limiting foods that are acidic if generally a good idea as well. I hope this helped a little! If you have any other questions or want more details let me know…I would be happy to talk further!
      xoxoxo-Beth

      Like

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