Today marks my 14th day on the AIP diet. This diet has not been the easiest diet in the world. Some days are harder than others. What really makes it hard for me is the fact that I have to take my fructose malabsorption into account. And to take that into account that means I have to double check everything on ingredients lists for the AIP diet and compare them to the FODMAP list of foods I can and cannot eat.
I also really like potatoes, and dairy and gluten type foods. It’s been hard to cut them out. So far I’ve cut the gluten out and the night shades. I have not succeeded with the dairy quite yet. It’s probably going to be the hardest thing for me to cut out.
Over the last two weeks I’ve noticed that my joints are doing better. I don’t wake up with them as achy as I used too. My bowels on the other hand I’m not so sure on. I’ve had some weird stuff going on the last couple of weeks on and off. So we will just have to wait and see what happens with that.
One thing I learned this week is that I need to check my recipes in the morning to see what needs marinated for the evening meal. This would help with not eating so late in the day. Some nights this week I was eating dinner around 9pm. Which we all know isn’t the best thing for you.
I did not do as much Yoga this week as I had hoped to do. Kinda forgot about it until Tuesday night. And by the time I remembered it that day was a bit late to be doing Yoga. If I’m too active in the evenings(like working out) I’ve noticed that I have a hard time falling asleep. Which is another thing I need to work on anyway.
Another thing I had a hard lesson on this week was to make sure I eat lunch! Before going on the AIP diet I would quite often work through lunch and not eat anything until I got home. I did that on Friday and it was a huge mistake. I was so hungry when I got home and I was ready to throw the whole diet thing out the window and eat whatever I wanted too.
Hopefully next week goes better. But it’s currently Friday night and I have yet to do any meal planning for next week. Oops.
I actually had this said to me the past week. A common misconception with people who have a chronic illness is that if we’re out doing something fun we must be feeling better. Which isn’t always the case. And certainly isn’t the case with me.
I had to explain to the person who said that that I’m still sick. And that it could be a few months before I start feeling better. My doctors are still working on some stuff and it all takes time, unfortunately. Especially when you’re waiting for specific lab tests to be done.
What people don’t see is how much these fun activities cost us in terms of energy, recovery, and pain. And what I let people see while I’m out in public is normally completely different from what I show at home. When I’m at home there are days that I’m curled up with my heating pad all day. Or my joints are killing me and I’m in tears from the pain and trying everything I can to find some relief.
So yes, I’m still sick. And yes, I decided to go ride my dirt bike for about an hour with my fiance last weekend. There are days that you just need to get out of the house and go do something. It’s important for people with chronic illness to get out and do stuff and still have fun. Even if it costs us. I don’t want to be sitting at home feeling sorry for myself.
Now, I’m not always successful in that regard. There are days that I feel too ill to go out and do much of anything. And at times I do end up feeling sorry for myself. Which is all part of having a chronic illness. Things aren’t always rainbows and sunshine and that’s ok. You just need to eventually pick yourself back up and keep going.
Which is what I’ve been trying to do. I’ve been flaring since mid-July. Could you imagine not doing anything for two months? Or more? I’m thankful that my flare isn’t so bad that I literally can’t leave the house. Because I’ve been there before. This time around I’m mostly having a lot of abdominal pain. Which can still make activities difficult. But I fight through it. I’m only functioning as well as I am right now because of the prednisone. I can only imagine what things would be like if I wasn’t on it.
So the next time you see or hear about your friend or colleague doing something fun who has a chronic illness. Try to not judge us too harshly. Many of us have gotten pretty good at faking being well in public. You won’t see the recovery that takes place behind the scenes at home. Maybe someday you’ll get to see the pain behind the mask. But instead of assuming that we’re doing better, how about asking how we’re doing instead.
Have you had someone say something like this to you before? What did you do?
I had my first Rheumatologist appointment on August 18th. I decided that I probably needed to go see one in July. My joint pain had gotten to the point where it’s been unbearable some days. So last month I went to the day clinic at my doctor’s office and had a bunch of labs ran along with some hand X-rays to see what was going on. Everything came back good(except for my white blood cell count, but my IBD had been flaring so…). I got a referral to see a Rheumatologist but I was not able to see him until the 18th because I was out of town for work. I was not particularly happy that I had to put my health on hold but I did get to see my family while I was gone which was a plus!
I really like my Rheumatologist(Dr. C) a lot. He asked me a lot of questions and listened to everything that I had to say. There’s a difference between listening and listening. And he really listened. That can make a world of difference with a doctor. At least to me.
He seemed really concerned with everything that has been going on with me. Since last December either my joints, IND Colitis or Psoriasis has been acting up(sometimes all at the same time) and he said that it’s pretty obvious to him that I need to switch biologics. And I agree with him. I don’t feel that Humira is really working anymore. My immune system is always attacking something it seems like. Every time I have a flare-up of my IND Colitis I tell Dr. M this and so far nothing has been done about it.
Dr. C is going to be sending my GI(Dr. M) my patient summary report from my visit and tell him that I have arthritis due to poorly managed IBD. So it’ll be interesting to see what happens. Because Dr. M had wanted to do a colonoscopy when I had to start my third round(yes, THIRD!) of prednisone from my flare that started up mid-July. I told them no, that I didn’t think that the Humira is working and that I wanted an antibody test. So he came back and said that we could wait for the colonoscopy and that he wanted to see me. The soonest that they can get me in is November 22nd! Which is a ridiculously LONG time!
When I explained all of this to Dr. C and he didn’t seem very happy. I don’t know when I’m coming off of the prednisone(still on 40mg) and I don’t know what the exact plan is. Dr. C asked me why I didn’t want to do the colonoscopy and I told him that I felt like it was a waste of my time and money when it seems pretty obvious that the Humira is no longer working. I may eventually still have to get one but we will see what happens. I have to call my GI nurse on the 22nd and see what the plan is.
Dr. C doesn’t think I have Lyme’s Disease or drug induced Lupus. He’s running some more blood work and I got some hip X-rays done. I’m hoping to have these results this week sometime. Right now my diagnosis is arthritis due to Ulcerative Colitis. Can’t say Indeterminate Colitis because there isn’t a diagnostic code for that! Dr. C doesn’t feel that the antibody test for the Humira is worth it right now. It could come back positive for antibodies and I’d need to switch medications. Or it could come back negative and I’d still need to switch medications because it’s pretty obvious from a clinical standpoint that the Humira is no longer working all that well. And it’s apparently between $200-$800 to run the test and I already have enough(and more coming) in medical bills.
Dr. C inspected pretty much all of my joints and checked my flexibility. I haven’t lost any range of motion which is good. And there weren’t any joints that were obviously red and swollen at the time. He also said he’s going to let Dr. M decide my next course of treatment since he’s the one handling my biologics for IBD. I really hope that Dr. M getting my notes from Dr. C will help him get into gear about changing my medication. I’m tired of being in pain just about every day.
I have a follow up in six weeks with Dr. C. I’m not sure what all we will be going over that visit but hopefully I’ll have been able to make some progress on getting my medication changed. I’m not sure if Dr. C will become one of my regular doctors or not. I think it’ll all depend on what the blood work says.
At the end of my visit, Dr. C asked me if I was ok and I ended up having a bit of a meltdown. At this point, I’m pretty frustrated with Dr. M and how my IBD is being managed. Before now, things have been fine with him. I’m not sure what changed this flare but I’m ready for things to get better. Right now I’m not planning on switching doctors. I already drive 2.5 hrs to see mine and I don’t want to go back to the GI office in town. We will see how the rest of the year goes before I decide what I’m doing.
Dr. C also said that he wishes he could cure all of us so that we didn’t have to live with chronic illnesses. That made me like him more. It’s not often that I hear a doctor say that.