Happy Colon

Gut Feelings

December 2 Update: Are double strength herbs the key?

I’ve been getting a little pressure from my gastroenterologist to go on 6MP, the immunosuppressive drug that helped me three years ago, the same drug that caused a case of mono to be so bad that I was in the hospital for two weeks a year after. I’ve been weary of 6MP ever since, but considering how long I’ve had these ups and downs, and considering the fact that I’ve tried everything, I’ve been considering taking my doctor’s advice and going back on it.

My herbalist has made countless adjustments to my herb mix this year in response to my changing/worsening symptoms, and while I know that I would be much worse off if I wasn’t on the herbs at all, I haven’t seen the significant improvement that I saw at the beginning of the year. The questions that everyone asks, whether they voice it or not, is how long do I put up with this half-health? Surgery is still out of the question for me, but 6MP could be a helpful temporary fix. So I decided to bring it up to my herbalist at my appointment a few days ago to find out his view on it and to let him know that I’m strongly considering it.

He would certainly support me if I decide to go on it, but like me, he’s weary of the side effects. So we’re making a deal: I am trying one new thing, and we’re putting a time limit on it: he gave me my herbs in their raw form (instead of powdered), which I can make a tea out of. This way, the potency will be about doubled (and woof, it tastes that way!). If I don’t see an improvement in six days from when I start the tea, he’ll make a modification, and then we’ll give that another six days if necessary. If neither mix leads to improvement within the allotted time, I’ll start 6MP. (Déjà vu anyone? Last December I made a similar deal – if the herbs didn’t help me within 10 days, I would agree to surgery…they helped, as you know or can assume.) I was happy to leave the appointment not leaving things open-ended.

I made the tea the next day. I have several brown paper bags, each with a mix of herbs, which look like a mix of pieces of bark, pine needles, nuts, and sticks. I simmer the herbs from one bag in water twice, mixing the water from each simmering together for the final tea. Each bag lasts two days, with two servings a day. So it’s only every other morning I need to go through this process, and I can just reheat the tea for the other servings.

The taste is a bit bitter. It tastes like an earthy coffee…well, it tastes like earth and it tastes like coffee. Not bad though, except that I tried concentrating it last night so there would be less to drink, and that made it craaazy bitter. I won’t be doing that again.

I just started the tea yesterday morning, and that evening, I actually noticed a positive difference in my BMs. So far, it doesn’t seem to be a fluke; this morning things went equally well, and I actually got up somewhat early – 8:00 I think. And during the day today, I have felt really good, which I haven’t been able to say in awhile. Hopefully, things will continue this way. I will keep you updated!

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4 comments on “December 2 Update: Are double strength herbs the key?

  1. sweetsandrelief
    December 2, 2012

    It’s always a good feeling to at least have a plan. I have found myself trying a million things at once because I am so desperate to get better and then not sure what helps or hurts. What are the herbs in your tea? BTW I think we have the same GI, too! Dr. K at Brigham and Womens!

    • Rox
      December 2, 2012

      Yes, that’s him! He’s really fantastic and has been very open to all of the alternative paths I’ve tried. I actually don’t know the herbs that are in my tea – they’re all Chinese, as far as I know, and I’m not sure they would have an English equivalent name if I did ask. I guess this is kind of contradictory to my resolution to be aware of everything I put in my body, but I have such immense trust in my herbalist that I let this one thing go.

  2. sweetsandrelief
    December 4, 2012

    No, I think that’s fantastic, I was just curious as I’ve tried a lot of supplements myself. I’m sure any herb (known or not) is better than some of the heavy-duty Western drugs or surgery. Hope it works! And yes, Dr. K is AMAZING. I had another really terrible GI at MGH before literally begging his secretary to get me into him, I think he is one of the few Dr.’s out there that are open to alternatives like exploring the role of diet and other supplements. Good luck, hopefully you are on the path to better health : )

    • Rox
      December 4, 2012

      Thank you! I hope so too. And that’s great you were able to switch GI doctors – no one should have to see a doctor they don’t like!

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This entry was posted on December 2, 2012 by in Health/Life Update and tagged , , .

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