Friday, September 7, 2012

New Doc!

First, I need to share with you a conversation I had with my 16 month old a few days ago. 
Yes, it was a conversation.

Me: Conor, please get off my lap- I need to poop. Gotta run to the bathroom.
Conor: Poop?
Me: Yes.
Conor: Bye!

And so begins the childs' understanding of living with a parent who has Crohn's. :)

Today was an excellent day. I feel incredibly optimistic. This morning I met with my new GI doc! (Sniff sniff...I will miss you Dr. R, but hope you are doing well across the country!) My husband came with me- he is an excellent sidekick to have in these situations- if we were superheroes we could be called... LooGirl and #2...HAHAHAHA. Anyways...

My new doctor is in Providence, RI- affiliated with a teaching hospital, professor at Brown, truly a standup guy and we bonded because he too has fraternal twin boys! I have been having some serious low moments when it comes to my disease. When you have tried over  a dozen different medications, have never been in remission (except when pregnant), and the last time you tried a new med you ended up with lupus, well, you start to get sad and think you will never not be going to the bathroom a gazillion times a day!

The appointment was positive, I learned a lot, I appreciated his style of patient care, and I feel like I have some options to work with. In addition, he was incredibly positive about my alternative forms of treatment, including acupuncture and my ever changing diet experiments.

Speaking of diet- have I shared this with you before?!
I owe this find to Pinterest:

Have tried about 5 recipes from this site so far...with 4/5 being delicious and  truthfully, one being so gross my husband spit out the dessert in his hand and gave it back to me. What? That's what happened!

I have said this before, living with Crohn's, is like living with an eating disorder. I want to eat. I want to eat everything. When I eat perfectly (for me), which is dairy free and lactose free, food stays in me longer, but then it starts to make me feel uncomfortable. I get so used to having an empty feeling in my gut that I start to panic when I feel full!

Here's to hoping I can get past that feeling and move forward with new attempts at disease control. Please note, when I say disease control, of course I mean my disease, but then in one hot second my brain jumps to bio-control, invasive insects and plant disease. Really brain? From one odd thought to another.

Have a lovely weekend! Eat Well.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Team Semi Colon!

The fundraising has begun......

WOOHOO! Join Team Semi Colon as we raise money and awareness to find a cure for Crohn's and Colitis! It has been three years since we participated, having the twins took over our lives, haha, but on October 13th, the walk will be in my hometown of Springfield, MA!

 In 2009 this was our stellar team:

It certainly has grown since 2009- would you like to join our team?! We'd love to have you!
Perhaps you would like to make a donation?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Little Men

The cuties are starting to look like little men! Yes, those are shorts. The boys have very tiny legs, like their mamma. We are starting to really enjoy summer now, and the boys are loving their outings- hopefully a trip to the beach (all of 10 minutes away) is in their near future! Bring on the Immodium!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

You don't look sick

"You don't look sick."

Those words make me so angry. They shouldn't...when people say them, I'm sure they mean well. Instead of making me feel joyful that "Yay, I don't look sick!" I want to strangle them and make them live with my Crohn's for one day. Even when I had surgery, years ago, I remember someone saying that and I answered "Well, L'Oreal sunless tanner truly helps." I had no tact, haha.

It is very difficult to express what it is like to live with this disease. My mom sent me "The Spoon Theory" written by Christine Miserandino, and it is a beautiful example. Christine lives with Lupus and she has figured out a way to describe her life, very eloquently and effectively. Please read it!

I want to give one example...and it's not even a thorough example cause it only embraces a few hours of my life.

Last Saturday night, after visiting with my family in Massachusetts, I packed up the two babies and two dogs to drive back home- a 2 hour trip. In my Toyota Corolla at 8pm, baby bedtime, all small creatures had starry eyes and I was hopeful. About 35 minutes in the trip I felt that I needed to go to the bathroom. No surprise, but there was slight panic in my belly. It's ok, maybe it will pass, I thought. The next 20 minutes were up and down but then, instead of the feeling passing, the white-knuckled, I need to get to a bathroom NOW feeling was getting more intense.

I had made good food choices all day- I knew I would be driving this distance. I only drank water, I didnt have anything with lactose, no processed foods, no gluten...why is this happening to me? A sarcastic voice in my head tells me that my angels are gambling tonight- they are taking bets on whether or not I will make it to a bathroom in time. They must be bored.

It is dark out, I am driving along the highway, somewhere in CT, babies and dogs are sleeping. There is no one to wait in the car while I take a random exit and run into a gas station or a Dunkin Donuts. I do not have family or friends along this trip whose houses I can pop over to. I look around the car...I see a fleece blanket- I could sit on that. I have burp cloths in the diaper bag, I could sit on those. I could pull over, but it's dark out, I would be too scared, there are no lights on this highway. What if another car stops? What would I do? I am unarmed...and my dogs are pushovers.

I have been driving like this for 40 minutes now (amazingly I did not have an accident) and I am crying silently. One baby is sleeping, one is wailing, I cannot sing to him, I cannot soothe him, I cannot even tell him it will be ok, because I do not know that it will- I am willing myself not to let go. My jaw is clenched so hard no sound can come out. Maybe I could find a police officer and explain my problem and he could stay with the babies for a moment? What if I run into that Dunkin Donuts and ask for a fellow Mom to help me...that is dangerous, you never know who anyone is...He stops wailing and has fallen back asleep. But his tears are my tears.

I know I am approaching a mall and shopping plazas. It is 9:27pm now. I quickly roll through all the businesses in my head- Babies R Us, Michaels, Best Buy, the mall food court, Target...could I even get the stroller out and load the babies and make it into their bathroom? I will need to wake the babies up. Damn, I hate waking the babies up! They will be so mad. I think of how well set up Babies R Us is for moms and babies, conveniently they are on my phone, so I call, but they close at 9:30pm. Target? I know where the bathrooms are in this Target! What time do they close, without thinking I pull into their lot, drive by the doors- 10:00pm! They do not close until 10:00 pm!!!

Of course, the first available space is 50 yds away- why is it so busy here on a Sat night?! Practicing my deep yoga and meditation breathing, I take the double stroller from my trunk, I wake and load two screaming babies. Everyone is crying, we must look ridiculous. I briskly walk into the store and...I made it.

Upon exiting, babies still screaming, I am thinking about whether or not I need to go again. No, I just want to get home. I am rocking babies in my arms in the parking lot, trying to load them into their car seats without the dogs escaping. A man walks by me, he looks to be about my age, and says "It will get easier." I still cannot speak, and I simply nod. Apparently, my angels felt terrible and had to send me a hopeful message.

This is not the first time something like this has happened. It is not the last. In fact, a version of this scenario happens almost every day. I am not embarrassed to talk about it, this is my reality.

So yes, thank you, I don't look sick, in fact, I look very good! If you didn't know that my internal organs were waging war with each other you would think I had not a care in the world... outside my husband, my twins, my dogs, my career, my house, my car, my...shhhhhhh, if I start worrying about all of that I will need to go to the bathroom.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I LOVE watching them EAT

A cha cha cha. The twins are in bed...I can hear Conor hooting, but I believe Liam is asleep...this week the boys turn ONE! I can't believe it. One year ago today I was uncomfortably sitting in that leather laz-y-boy, on bed rest, just trying to keep those boys in as long as possible...and on Monday they will hit 12 months. Incredible. They are so chatty these days, very mobile, eating so many different kinds of foods!



I love watching them eat. That must sound strange. But if you have an eating disorder, which is sometimes how I feel with Crohn's, or an autoimmune disorder, you will most likely understand that statement. 

I love that they have an appetite, get excited to eat and that they are being introduced to all kinds of foods...lentils, quinoa, tofu, pork, avocados, tilapia, my mom's homemade red sauce, just a few examples of their favorites! I so badly want them to have tough tummies. I want them to be raised on fresh foods, avoiding the processed foods as much as possible. With my lifestyle they will see this in action, that makes me happy. And then I laugh out loud when I change a diaper and find lentils under their onesie:) 

Crohn's Disease is genetic in my family. Not only is it genetic, but thus far traditional methods of care have not proven very helpful or even possible for us. In these moments, I encourage the boys to try all sorts of food. Oh food. I wish I didn't need food. It just stresses me out to eat. During the day, I am usually very good. I stick to my gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free diet and it truly helps. It's when I am desperate, usually at night, for something to eat and possess no energy to cook something that all hell breaks loose. I need to be one of those people that cooks mass quantity at one time, and has leftovers for the week. The person that makes their own energy bars, slices veggies and keeps them on standby in the fridge. I will get there. I was that person not long ago.'s different. 

Since my system is a bit inflamed, and I have limited options in the medicinal world (if you are new to the blog, please note- I have tried every drug out there), I have been trying a naturopathic approach to handle my disease. The naturopath I have been working with is a lovely woman. What does our approach look like? It takes into consideration my diet, and then we have added a few things...B12, of course a probiotic, digestive enzymes each time I eat, and...this week I started glutamine. It is believed that glutamine (an amino acid) may have cleansing properties or even anti-inflammatory effects on the gut. Ok, let's try it!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

We are in the Top 11 Crohn's Blogs on the Web!

Woohoo!!! Healthline editors chose us as one of their favorite Crohn's and IBD blogs on the web!!! 

To see the full list and read some fantastic blogs, check out:

best health blogs contest

Congrats to the other bloggers, it's so nice to get to know you!

Swing Shut Toilet Lock

The twins are getting mobile. While they are only crawling and rolling, Liam stomps around with Frankenstein-like strides when he attempts to walk. What does this mean? Baby proofing!

I had already baby proofed all the window treatments, the outlets, gated those babies into the living room like jailbirds. Since I cannot keep them in the living room for the next two years, the bathroom seemed an obvious place to continue with my efforts. Outlet covers, check! Doorknob covers, check! Then came an unexpected turn of events...the toilet seat latch...look at this photo. This is the one I bought. PLEASE IDENTIFY WHAT PROBLEMS COULD ARISE-->

Close your eyes. Take yourself back to the last time you needed to book it to the bathroom.  While running, relief is in sight...and then you get to the toilet and need to use both hands to expertly open this latch system. Anyone else scared for me?! 

Maybe it is not as bad as it seems. I will let you know. I am terrified that white knuckled I will not be able to successfully get the cover up in time. EEEEE.

Yes, this was a moment of parenthood I was not prepared for.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Crohn's Care Package?

I have spent a lot of time in the lavatory lately. Did I just say lavatory? I am trying out new words for bathroom (which just gets old.) I find I cannot refer to the bathroom as the powder room, comfort station, or john without breaking into hysterics. When I try to call it a privy or loo, I feel I must put on a little cap and do a jig. I don't know why. Not a fan of lavatory....what do you call it? Inspire me!

Actually, in our home, you may see me run by you while screaming "I gotta 20 in a 22!" I am married to a police his department that means you are driving back to the station to use the lavatory:) Humor goes a long way in my house and my husband thinks this is fantastic.

Back to spending my time in the "special" place...I have been considering this.

Upon diagnosis with Crohn's I believe you should be handed a care package. In this care package you would find the following items...

  • an eReader 
  • a box of anti-diarrhea tablets 
  • the softest toilet paper money can well as wet wipes 
  • massive amounts of beverages loaded with electrolytes 
  • and a tiny fairy that sits on your shoulder that says "Dear, there is always someone worse off than you. Suck it up and try not to eat food that makes you s*%& your brains out."
If you have this disease or are a very empathetic person, you know why the above are in this care package:) If you know someone who has recently been diagnosed or is in the middle of a flare up, I guarantee those items would make them happy. 

If you find that fairy, please send her my way too!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Specific Carbohydrate my world

Hello autoimmune shall we battle you this year?

Since the prednisone after the boys were born...I have not gone on any medication...let's be honest, Humira and Remicade gave me drug-induced LUPUS...and the only biologic left is Cimzia. I do not want to try this unless absolutely necessary. Do you know what's worse than going to the bathroom 12 times a day, losing crazy weight, and suffering from abdominal pain? Doing all those things, but barely being able to move because every single joint is on fire...not to mention your skin actually hurts. Potential Alternatives?

After lots of reading, I decided to try again with a change in my diet. I discovered the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Have you heard of it? It is a diet, a lifestyle, for those suffering from Crohn's, UC, Celiac's, CF and other bowel issues. By removing the foods that have crept into our modern diet (grains, pastas, breads, complex sugars, etc.) you start to reduce the harmful bacteria in your gut...bottom line- it is lactose-free, sugar-free, gluten-free and grain-free. Now, you are what the heck do you eat?!

Here is a list of foods of the SCD legal/illegal foods

Strictly adhering to the guidelines, I followed the SCD for 2 months...and I was very hungry!! Two infants, no time to cook, no sleep...just was not working. So I made it work for me. I introduced brown rice and gluten-free oats back into the equation. Lots of fruits and veggies, cheese (with .05% lactose content), homemade yogurt, and occasional meat choices...and I am doing VERY GOOD!  I'm not perfect, I do cheat occasionally, and suffer for it. I cant help it, life is short and I am a foodie!

This diet is worth trying or a reasonable variation of it:) Make it work for you- Revise the diet to see if some alterations help your gut! I found the following books and recipes very helpful:

**An aside- make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D! Deficiency is very common for those with Crohn's- and with indoor winter activities, even more so! 

Here's looking forward to a lovely spring and some awesome D!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's been ONE YEAR

Good gracious, it has been one year since I posted last...I must get on the ball! Granted, it has been a BIG year. The twins were born in May so it's been a little difficult to find the time to post BUT I have a new idea. Drum roll needed. Baby laughter can be heard in the background.

The direction of this blog, in addition to what/how I am trying to manage my disease, will have a new twist. Let's look at being a mom (or parent in general) with Crohn's and how that changes things. You may know what it is like to be white-knuckled and need a bathroom ASAP. Now imagine, you have two screaming babies, what they want you have no idea, and all you can do is put them in a safe space while you high tail it to the Loo! Phew, made it.

Liam and Conor are 9 months old now, and each day brings its hysterical moments. It is also the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I am extremely lucky to have an awesome husband as my partner in this adventure. The other day I captured this video. Conor, for some quirky reason, thinks bodily function noises are THE BEST. Burping, dry heaving sounds, spitting sounds...please note, I am not actually spitting on him:) It is kind of ironic that he thinks these sounds are funny, don't you think?

Looking forward to sharing 2012 with you!