Showing posts from 2017

Loving your body when it doesn't love you back

*This post was published by The Mighty, you can read that version here!

An overwhelming theme being emphasized this year is self-love. This is such a great concept and is so important.
In the age of social media, the intensification of the importance of outward appearance is at an all-time high; this is why the self-love movement started in the first place. Loving oneself may seem like a simple thing to do for those who have never dealt with body image or self-esteem issues. But for those who fall into the deadly trap of comparison and perfectionism, truly loving oneself can prove to be much easier said than done.
Negative body image and self-esteem are significant enough on their own to impede anyone’s ability to love themselves. But there is another factor to throw into the mix for those who deal with an autoimmune disease or any type of destructive chronic illness: how can we love our bodies if our bodies do not love us?
An autoimmune disease is “an illness that occurs when the body ti…

Would I Change or Give Back my Crohn's Disease?

*This post was recently published on The Mighty, read that version HERE!

Here are some words that may help you recognize the good that can come from whatever it is you are currently struggling with.
As I’ve said before, having a chronic, incurable disease can really change a person. For worse or for better, that is the very true reality of what I have experienced through living with my Crohn’s disease.
It is easy to write about the horror stories that accompany this disease, and even easier to let those memories dominate my opinion on what the illness has done to my life.
Something I have been thinking about a lot lately is if I would take the opportunity to give back or undo what my disease has done to shape my life and my personality.
The short answer is no.
For all the opportunities lost, pain felt, and tears shed, I have evolved from my experiences in life-changing ways. With every flare-up, hospital stay, and health setback, I become more resilient, mature, and self-reflective. …

Alternative Medicine: My Experience with Acupuncture

As much as I hate to admit it, I owe a great deal of my health to western medicine. Prednisone, for all the evil that it is, has pulled me out of flares within days. The fatigue and suppressed immune system from Azathioprine (Imuran) has kept abscesses and fistulas away. Painful Humira injections do their best to keep my inflammation markers down. 

For as long as I could, I resisted treatment of my Crohn's disease with these medications. The research I've done and knowledge I've acquired on the long-term side effects and risks of these drugs are major deterrents (feel free to do a quick Google search of your own, you'll get the gist). I still can't wrap my head around the concept of voluntarily ingesting/injecting/infusing chemicals made in a lab into my bloodstream. Unfortunately, in my situation, my disease has progressed too significantly to control without some sort of extensive treatment regimen. 

Don't get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for the medicine …

Prednisone: blessing or curse?

Prednisone messes with you. It really messes with you. For those of you who aren't familiar with this corticosteroid, its works by mimicking hormones naturally produced in your body (it is similar to cortisol). When the dosage prescribed exceeds the levels naturally present in your body, inflammation is reduced, thus achieving the goal of treatment. In doing this, your immune system becomes suppressed, leaving your body open to infection and a vast array of other problems. If a person takes prednisone for more than seven days, he or she cannot simply stop taking the drug. This is because your adrenal glands have been signaled to stop producing the hormones provided by prednisone on their own; it takes time for them to return to their normal functioning. If you suddenly stop giving your body the steroids, and your adrenals are not yet producing adequate amounts of hormones, a withdrawal reaction is likely. This may include fatigue, muscle weakness, headaches, fever, hypotension, nau…

Does diet play a role in Crohn's disease?

I have always struggled with the concept of diet in relation to Crohn's disease. For so long, I wanted diet to play a role in my disease; that would enable me some form of control. Unfortunately, over the past seven years, I have learned that is not quite the case. Don't get me wrong, certain foods definitely have the ability to aggravate my stomach. There is a difference, however, between discomfort after eating, and a flare leading to a hospitalization or a course of prednisone. I think food can best be conceptualized as an exacerbator of what is already going on inside my GI system rather than the perpetrator of disease activity. To minimize the less serious symptoms of my Crohn's disease, such as bloating and stomach pain, I stay away from fried food, oils, popcorn, green apples, and a few other random things. I also struggle with eating at restaurants if the food is oily/greasy. I will treat myself to a pizza or burger every once in a while, but most of the time I pref…

Flaring for my 23rd birthday and at the start of my new career

If you missed my last post recapping what I have been up to over the past few months, feel free to check that out here.
I started my new job on July 11th, one day before my 23rd birthday. I flew to St. Charles, Illinois, for a ten-day new hire training. I work in tax for a multinational, Big 4 accounting firm, and knew that the expectations would be more intense than a regular 9-5. I figured that since I had maintained a semi-state of remission with my Crohn's disease that I would be well enough to handle the demands of public accounting... I was wrong. 
The ten, sometimes twelve, hour days of training got to me. I require at least 9 hours of sleep to function at a baseline level. If I don't get my sleep, my body fights against me. I also have a proven track record of running into issues with traveling in general, probably due to a combination of stress, new environments, and unfamiliar food options. Despite my best efforts to get adequate sleep and nutrition during training, I …