Carolyn, Invercargill, January 2016
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 1989. That’s almost 27 years ago.
I am an Enrolled Nurse, and had endured six months of diarrhoea, and abdominal pain after eating. I had gone to the doctor who said I had irritable bowel and gave me some pills which made no difference. I am a trained nurse, so I controlled it by taking Panadeine. Then one day the Panadeine stopped relieving the pain so another trip to the doctor was needed; he said I either had Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis.
It took six months of tests, examinations, colonoscopies, hospitalizations and a small bowel barium swallow to find the diseased section of small bowel.
For the next 12 years I had numerous drug therapies including steroids and Pentasa on and off; had episodes of good health/bad health, coping with pain, leaky gut, bowel candida, welts, abdominal discomfort and constant diarrhoea.
In 2001 I had an unusual pain in my abdomen, something different, not the usual. And I had an abdominal lump the size of a golf ball. I was treated with steroids for two months and it was an abscess which burst very painfully, and required a very dramatic, urgent helicopter ride from Lumsden to Dunedin. I had a terminal ileum (the end part of the small bowel) resection (18cm removed) with a very quick recovery. I was home in 5days!!!
I had more “well” episodes interspersed with bowel obstructions which included vomiting and severe abdominal pain requiring hospitalizations and more drug therapy, including morphine.
In 2004 a CAT scan showed ileal thickening which wasn’t a good sign for long term bowel viability and health.
In 2005 I took steroids again and started azathioprine, an immuno-suppressant drug. I stayed fairly well and did manage my “diet” most of the time. Dairy food was a major irritant as was sugar (with leaky gut, candida and diarrhoea) and grains (bloating, wind and constipation). I discovered a lot of the above with “food rotation”, I read heaps about gut and related issues.
I spent many years trying to cope with all the above ill-heath issues, usually in a mental haze and with health well below par, pushing constantly towards better energy levels.
My marriage, farm life and raising children is a whole other story!!! and I had minimal support during this time. I looked well on the outside and tried to appear well. I had four children and life was busy!!
In 2012 and 55 years old, I was thinking of the next chapter in my life and wanting to make changes. I became a grandmother, such JOY! That was the catalyst to prepare for a healthy beginning of my next life stage.
Thank you to my sister for informing me about Sherry and the GAPS programme! I googled it and read the book, then rang Sherry, and with her knowledge, support and guidance I followed the GAPS healing programme. Over the course of a year I weaned myself off azathioprine, and still take no medication now. I take probiotics, fish oils, multi-vitamins and need B12 injections because of the previous bowel surgery.
By the beginning of 2015 I had great energy levels AND mental clarity which came quite quickly after I starting the GAPS programme. I am still AWED by how a diet so basic and simple can make such a difference. I have regular blood tests and my CRP (inflammatory marker) is below 5mg/l! (The normal range is 0 to 7, and mine hadn’t been hadn’t been down that low for a very long time.)
I now live on my own, have a far calmer and happier life, am healthy, fit and actively involved in caring for my grandchildren.
I no longer have any Crohn’s symptoms after 27 years of pain, medication, and living half a life.
I will always follow GAPS principles with its AWESOME REAL FOOD.