Today is day 44 in my new life. There’s nothing significant about today other than this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down and write since pressing pause on my career in the City and moving from Surrey to return to the motherland in Worcestershire.
There were many reasons behind mine and my hubby’s decision to up sticks and move to the countryside, but Crohns was the catalyst. Even though I can’t escape or outrun the disease, by moving locations and changing the way me and my family live or lives (slowing things down), can only have a positive impact on my health.
So far I’ve had 43 days living a relatively normal existence.
I’ve swapped a daily three-hour train commute for a five-minute school run, I’m surrounded by beautiful countryside and have traded the smell of aviation fuel wafting from Gatwick Airport and city-generated pollution, for the odd whiff of silage and the more pungent chicken farm odour – both smells that remind me of my childhood and say ‘home’ to me. In a weird way I like them.
Ditching a monthly pay cheque considerably healthier than my body, is the furthest thing from my mind now. I’ve learnt you can have all the material things your heart desires but if your daily grind includes feeling unwell and your every move is of the bowel type, money means shit quite frankly.
Since moving I’m now under a new consultant who during our first meeting speculated that my health issues could be attributed to something in addition to Crohns so he has started treating me for bile malabsorption which I’d never heard of.
Apparently bile malabsorption is common in Crohns sufferers but is not that well known and most of the time overlooked. Also a lot of people with Bile Absorption Diarrhea (BAD), are misdiagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) so I urge anyone out there suffering with similar symptoms to go and speak to your doctor.
I now take half a sachet of Colestyramine powder per day and have to confess the results have been amazing, so much so I haven’t wanted to say too much in case I jinx it. Since taking my first sachet I haven’t experienced one flare-up. No cramps or diarrhea, nothing in fact. The powder does have pretty grim side effects though so am now battling stomach pain (a new kind), nausea and broken/restless sleep, although these symptoms comes and go.
Another drug my consultant has also prescribed but I’ve yet to take is Amitriptyline. It’s classically an antidepressant but is great for treating BAD. I have reservations about taking this one as the last time I attempted to take an antidepressant (for Postnatal Depression), I tumbled down the black rabbit hole with frightening speed and it made my depression worse. I don’t want to repeat that experience. Ever. However, it may work really well for others.
One thing this has proven to me is what I secretly suspected, Remicade/Imfliximab doesn’t work for me. Even after four infusions I have not felt any benefit which is really frustrating me. Since the first infusion I wondered how could I be taking a really potent drug which everyone else waxed lyrical about and it have no positive effect on me at all? I suspect my fourth infusion was my last.
In addition to the new drugs I’m continuing my wheat and dairy free diet and now being really careful about the fat I ingest too as saturated fat and greasy food is not a friend of someone with BAD, nor is brandy or champagne I’ve realised in the last 44 days. The morning after indulging in both of these wasn’t pretty.
Now that I feel a bit better in myself (it’s taken nearly 18 months to feel this good) I’ve headed back to the gym and taken up yoga in a bid to help manage my stress levels as I’ve accepted that stress was a root cause to a lot of my stomach problems.
Hopefully this upward trend will continue and my escape to the country coupled with the new medication will turn me from a BAD girl into a good girl.