Happy Colon

Gut Feelings

In My World

During this healing process, there is so much that I’ve learned about UC, health, the human body, alternative medicine, and allopathic medicine that I sometimes forget that what I now know is not common knowledge. Just using the term “allopathic” is an example. My vocabulary has increased, and I better understand this world of chronic illness. And it really is another world. I was never interested in the health field before this flare forced me into it. I ate healthy and occasionally exercised, but I couldn’t understand a printout of blood-work or explain how the drugs I was taking worked.

Now, I can talk on an even plane with my doctors when we discuss bloodwork or my symptoms, and I feel comfortable questioning their recommendations. I’ve said no to antibiotics, asked to taper slower on prednisone, disagreed when the nutritionist said it doesn’t matter what I eat as long as I get more calories in, and of course, refused surgery. It’s crucial to be an empowered and active patient. I do my own research online, I talk to my friend with Crohn’s who has been in a similar situation, I get more than one opinion, and I feel comfortable questioning the doctors and asking or requesting them to consider what I would prefer.

Like I said, my vocabulary has expanded. Some terms that I’ve learned:

  • Allopathic medicine – conventional medicine (doctors, not acupuncturists)
  • Muscle-testing – something chiropractors do to test your organ functions or whether a certain supplement will agree with your body or not
  • Symptomatic – self-explanatory, but I never used this word in my life. Now, it is such a useful one to know.
  • Distended – when your stomach swells
  • Fecal transplantation – I have not done this, but I looked into it extensively. It’s when stool from a healthy person is put in the colon of a person with c. diff or UC. This creates the right bacterial balance. It’s really gross, and really interesting. More about this in another post. It is the future.
  • Platelets, CRP, ESR, albumin, hematocrit, and other terms listed on bloodwork – I know the healthy ranges of each of these and what they mean
  • Electrolytes – I knew they were important and that you can find them in Gatorade, but what are they? Most importantly, potassium, sodium, and magnesium
  • PN – parenteral nutrition – the nutrition I get through an IV
  • I also can tell you that prednisone needs to be tapered rather than just stopped because it is similar to cortisol, which your body makes naturally. When you take prednisone, your body might forget how to make cortisol, so it must relearn slowly.
  • I know how the colon works. (Although it’s still a bit confusing actually. Questions always come up.)

The list of things that make me happy has been added to, too. I smile and get excited when:

  • My PICC line has blood return
  • A stool is clumpy
  • My weight increases
  • I find out which foods can help decrease diarrhea

I could go on awhile about other things I’ve learned or how my perspective has changed, but I’m sure it will all come up in future posts, in context rather than in a boring list. So keep reading!

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This entry was posted on January 14, 2012 by in My Interpretation and tagged .

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