Tag Archives: crohns disease

I just can’t hold my stomach in anymore – or 10 weeks pregnant and Happy Valentine’s Day

Artist Jessica Doyle 2013

I have never felt more hungry in all my life than during the last 10 weeks. I can’t seem to get enough food into me before my stomach is growling and howling again for more.

We eat a relatively well balanced, organic diet that does contain grass fed beef, free range chicken and organically raised pork. We eat many vegetarian meals too. We avoid soy products except for Bragg Soy Seasoning which is GMO free and certified organic. I love food so much that I’ve already put on 5lbs and can not fit into any of my clothes that don’t have stretch in them.

I do not take prenatal vitamins. I do take 500mg folic acid and 650mg calcium with vitamin D daily. My blood and urine tests show I’m healthy except for the deviant hypothyroid in the neck. The doctor raised the dose of Synthroid two days ago that I’m on to 125mcg from 88mcg. I already notice a positive difference in how my brain is functioning. But, unfortunately, the norm persisted and around 2:00 in the afternoon I started feeling dizzy, extremely bloated, bump into things and need to lay down for a couple of hours until it passes. And while this can be pregnancy related I’m realizing that it could be the dang thyroid wreaking havoc too.

homemade indian food, black rice, tomato, pita bread, chick peas, garam masala

I don’t know what is potentially crohn’s, thyroid or pregnancy related anymore. These last couple of weeks feel like the chron’s I had 15 years ago has been reactivated but then again it could be my uterus stretching. I spent so much time in the bathroom two days ago that could be because of the Synhtroid increase, it could also be because of the spicy food I ate or it could be a bug. I go to see a high risk pregnancy gynecologist/obstetrician on the 26th due to being over 35, pregnant and hypothyroid. I’ll be 12 weeks pregnant by then. The adjustment in Synthroid played havoc with my metabolism yesterday.

And today on this lovely Valentine’s Day I’m feeling a bit better albeit still dizzy I don’t feel the need to incessantly lay my head and body down like yesterday or the day before.

They say you should enjoy all of your pregnancy. And while I am I can not be happy about the pain of not being able to breath at night due to not being able to take my preferred antihistamine or smile about the candida that wreaked havoc on my body earlier this trimester.

These side effects could very well be first trimester agony’s that will pass by the end of this month. I really hope they are. I know something has recently passed because I’m able to write and form sentences again.

IMG_0335

And the dreams of water… they are wonderfully incessant. I dream of water nearly every night. Calm dark waters that I float in and urgently awake and run to the bathroom to pee usually like clockwork at 4:00AM. Another dream was a mystical garden filled with large carved stone hands on long arms with each finger sprouting a single fountain of water streaming from it onto a green wonderfully overgrown garden bed. And last night I dreamt of sitting in a circle with people with my belly round and hanging out and drinking water.

So yeah, I’m pregnant. After wanting a baby my whole life, well, since about age 24, and it not happening with my exes, it’s actually happened and it was planned between Chris and I. And we couldn’t be happier.

first-response-pregnancytest

Getting a positive pregnancy test on New Years Eve was incredible.

To drink or not to drink and how this relates to crohn’s disease

heart broken drawing by artist jessica doyle inside a fabriano quadrato artist journal

After a couple of weeks of reading too many self help sites and reminicing over what doctors, councillors, and other medical professionals and what family and friends have said or not said or suggested I find myself thinking back to when I was healing after a second surgery for Chron’s Desease which saw 11 inches of ileum removed, the right fallopian tube and ovary scraped of inflammation and one ureter put back into place. I weighed 95lbs at the time of surgery.

The doctors told me I would be sick for the rest of my life. That I would relpase within five years and most likely have another major surgery within eight years. That I’d be medicated on 5-ASA, Pentasa, antibiotics and/or steroids indefinitely that (in 1998) were costing me $300 to $400 per month. I really considered going on welfare so the meds were covered by the government.

With the support of a few close family members and friends I bucked the treatment after six or seven months and began seeking an alternative to the naysaying specialists who, yes, did save my life by removing the rotting intestine and gangrenous apendix but who, by no means offered any words of encouragement or even considered that there was an alternative to taking medications that were causing more side effects than doing good.

I’m happy to say I’ve been in remission of crohn’s since September 1997. That is 15 years. I learned that drinking a bottle of Bio-K and taking pro-biotics on a daily basis for one month straight was enough to ween myself off of the drugs after having followed a strict diet set out by a nutritionist. She first instilled positive knowledge by saying “try it out” and “introduce one food at a time and pay close attention to your body in how it reacts and adjust what you eat or don’t eat as needed”.

I learned that fast and processed food were what may have triggered the crohn’s disease to begin with. I learned that I can eat popcorn, raw vegetables, potatoes, drink milk, eat whole grain products and savour crunchy nuts and fresh fruit with seeds. And to this day eating excess white flour, white sugar, soy and processed or fast foods set me off and cause me to either vomit or have diarrhea which are hallmark symptoms of crohn’s! How odd. I still ingest Bio-K during a potential flare-up and take Natural Factors Acidophlis and Bifidus capsules everyday.

But, the biggest change of all happened on the inside after the surgery. I mentally shifted the hopelessness into repetitive reafirming positive thoughts followed by action.

It meant leaving a husband and his family behind, dissolving a legal business partnership and losing all the graphic design and illustration clientele after my hard drive was mysteriously wiped and moving back to my hometown in 2001. I never looked back.

I’m a fighter and will by no means let the disease of addiction ruin me. It may cause spiritual, emotional or physical pain for short periods of time during my lifetime, just as crohn’s does, but it also makes me sensitive, empathetic and courageous when faced with both adversity and this feeling of emptiness that comes along when you have nothing else to lose but yourself.

brain void drawing by artist jessica doyle inside a fabriano quadrato artist journal

In Saint John they don’t look at the fact that I was a social user of alcohol for five years after cleaning up from addiction in 2006 followed by one year of problem drinking that lead to detox this January. Whether I return to drinking or not is something I will decide on my own with the help of those who are closest to me. I guess if I can control and moderate eating only one peice of cake or one piece of white bread every now and then why can’t I moderate what I drink? The clean up process of addiction feels eerily similar to cleaning up from Crhon’s. You simply learn what works and what doesn’t and adjust accordingly or experience a relapse and need hospitalization.

I am a firm believer that this abstinence from alcohol is allowing me to think more clearly on whether I even want to test the waters or not, just as abstaining from certain foods gave my body, mind and soul time to recover from crohn’s to make healthy decisions on how to proceed.

Rest assured that if I began eating fast and processed foods on a daily basis that I’d likely need another bowel resection and that if I return to what I drank before I would need to detox again.

Tomorrow, on May 25th I’ll be four months sober.

The two drawings in this post were drawn shortly after being released from the hospital. they were drawn with coloured pencil and india ink.

The Medicine of Duck Duck Goose

So thank you everyone for the kind words and for sharing your hypothyroidism stories here on the blog, on Google Buzz and in email with me. The hardest part in all of this is accepting it and thus moving forward with changes I must make to my daily routines and eating habits.

I have many questions and concerns that seem to be unanswered at the moment or are answered in a way that brings up more questions or the answers just haven’t sunk in, yet.

Can I take a pro-biotic with Synthroid in the morning as it’s to be taken on an empty stomach and first thing in the morning too? I take two 10,000,000 billion active cells capsules that contain both acidopholus and bifidus. This has kept Chron’s disease in remission for 14 years and I do not want to stop taking it as it works.

And what about Calcium? I was taking 500mg of calcium carbonate/citrate w/ vitamin D daily and used to take it first thing in the morning too at the recommendation of my family doctor in Vancouver, due to a family history of early onset osteoporosis. When do I take this supplement if I can’t take it with Synthroid? Is it safe to take it at all while on Synthroid? Do I take it before I go to bed instead? Is that safe? Continue reading