Awareness & Sharing Our Story

Awareness to me is sharing accurate information so that people can get answers to lead them in the right directions. With this, just like everything else I’ve noticed, has conflicting information which becomes confusing at a time you are already in a state of upset, anxiety, hopeless, helpless emotions. I want to change that. I want to share my story because it’s a different path I took to healing. In sharing my story I hope to spread the word to individuals who need it the most. Learning about and being aware of natural healing and natural remedies could be a lifestyle that saves you from more suffering, masking symptoms which ultimately allows your body to continue to be malnourished and unnecessary surgery.

I’m hoping to reach as many people as possible so that others can find a path of least resistance to avoid masking symptoms and avoid surgery.  In this journey I changed my lifestyle. Obviously, the way in which I was living my life was not working.

Then ~ 2 part post…

THEN ~ The long journey to find healing & advocate for myself

I don’t have a post that is clear and concise detailed oriented to show my then and now. I want to show how a change in diet healed crohns and colitis. So, this post is about THEN! I read about prescription drug and surgery nightmares others have experienced and feel helpless for them. I want more people who suffer from CD and UC to read my blog before they take a path of destruction rather than a path of healing like I was lucky to find.

The mind, body and soul are all connected, if one is out of balance everything is out of balance. By learning how to keep your body balanced you can avoid illness and disease or if you are like me suffering from autoimmune diseases you can heal and maintain balance through living a holistic lifestyle. In the next blog posts you will find ways to heal Crohn’s and Colitis by finding balance with holistic medicine, Ayurveda, paleo diet, biofeedback and homeopathy.

I avoided western medicine and surgery by learning how my body works, how I deal with life, how to read my body and listen to what it is telling me through biofeedback and a homeopathic practitioner. Not one time did I resort to prescription drugs for Crohn’s or Colitis, doctors were not able to help me when I was so severely anemic that I finally found help with homeopathy.

I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia having all 18 trigger points at age 17 in 1989, I was diagnosed with Graves Disease (HYPERthyroid) at age 29 in 2001, I was diagnosed with severe iron deficiency anemia at age 40 in 2012 and finally diagnosed with the underlying issues Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis (autoimmune diseases) at the age 43 in 2015. Although I had been living with CD for decades unknowingly, I look back and understand why I struggled so much.

In 2001 after many years of being extremely sick I decided to do an overhaul of my pantry by eating gluten free to try to eliminate gut issues. Having iron deficiency anemia for 3 years without help from western doctors I was worried, panic feelings came over me many times during the day and I was desperate to figure out what was really going on with my body. I finally found help with a homeopathic practitioner who uses biofeedback. I sensed that I was to the point of slowly loosing my battle and should be in the hospital. My gut was so infected from the use of antibiotics which killed all the good bacteria that my gut didn’t have what it needed to fight against actual foreign objects that infection set in and took over.

I started my healing process in January 2015 with my first visit to a Homeopathic Practitioner as I was desperate at this point because Western Medical Doctors were not helping me in the least.  I walked out of the holistic office with a feeling of hope and understanding of what had happened and was happening to my body. It was such a relief to know that in time I would have my body functioning normally. I am still in the process of regaining my health which is a slow process but with each month I see and feel a positive difference.

Finally, being diagnosis with IBD I was able to change my diet to aid in the healing process. I’ve known for years that food affected me but struggled trying to figure out what I couldn’t eat so that I could feel better but I didn’t have resources or guidance.  If you think about the diseases I have it only makes sense that the foods I eat affect the gut so listening to my body when it comes to what it can and can’t tolerate; to me is the key to wellness. With a combination of biofeedback, holistic medicine and autoimmune paleo diet I am starting to see changes in my health that I never thought were possible.

At the end of 2014 I knew I needed to find a different means of health care outside the typical western medicine before it was too late because I just kept getting more ill as time went on. A coworker had successful results with her son who was very ill when she finally found homeopathy, biofeedback and alternative medicine. I was worried that the biofeedback would change my hyperthyroid to hypothyroid so I put the idea on the back burner for a couple of months. Unfortunately, that was a poor decision only because I was ignorant to the actual purpose of biofeedback and how it works.

Anemia

I had been suffering with iron deficiency anemia for over two and a half years and the havoc it was wreaking on my body was scary to say the least.  At the age of 41 my muscles were wasting, my skin had started shutting down along with my lungs due to insufficient oxygen being transported in my blood. I knew when that third doctor shrugged his shoulders at me at the end of the visit that I needed to take my health into my own hands and that western medicine wasn’t going to be my path back to wellness. I knew I needed to start my healing process immediately because I had no more chances left.

I had been struggling with my health for decades and I was desperate to find help when my weight would fluctuate from 120 pounds to 110 pounds in a couple of weeks and I couldn’t gain it back. I had been extremely exhausted, loosing weight, pale, shortness of breath, cold hands and feet and dizziness. I should have been in the hospital on oxygen and having a blood transfusion but instead they either dismissed me or shrugged their shoulders, handed me yet another requisition the last time was for a 10 vile blood test and said “Keep taking the iron pills.”  Which were obviously not working and my blood levels at that last visit were lower than the first visit with that particular doctor eight months before! At that first visit he informed me that it was “dangerous to be living this kind of lifestyle”, in hindsight I wish I had asked him how he planned on fixing that?

An informative site about vitamins and minerals and how to tell if you have deficiencies

Things have to change in the western medical world so, I am advocating for holistic healing, natural remedies and healthier choices.

Adopting a Holistic Lifestyle

I stated going to a homeopathic practitioner on the 16th of January 2015 for my initial visit when she said “Okay, no more grains not even rice!”, she put me on aerobic oxygen, vitamins with iron fer, silverlining and ph balance. A week later I was back for the results from that first visit. The results of the full body analysis showed I was horribly out of balance, my gut was severely infected along with having Leaky Gut Syndrome so my body was not absorbing anything which was caused by antibiotics that stripped away the good flora in my stomach leaving it vulnerable for infection.  I had no vitamins or minerals in my body, I learned that day that if you don’t have calcium your heart will stop, your heart needs calcium to pump.

In the last three years I’ve learned that to lead a healthy, productive and satisfying life you have to be in balance; mind, body and soul. If any one part of your life is unbalanced others parts will suffer as well. There are teachings on balance in yoga, Ayurveda, aboriginal circle of life (the four directions; north, south, east and west), Pilates, meditation and mindfulness. They all refer to living a life where you listen to your mind, body and soul to have balance for healthful living. My goal is to live a balanced life on my terms, for my life! Now that I have researched and read an exorbitant amount, collecting data to suits my body best I can go forward with confidence that I can manage my diagnoses and have a balanced life.

I believe there is always a better answer, a different option, an informed choice, a possible avoidance and a way around everything. In order to be successful in advocating for yourself when sick and in the healing process you have to know what is going on in your body and understand it! Self-management is the new age medical practice in North America which comes from patients wanting to be a part of the process dealing with their bodies. They are educated, questioning patients who want to take ownership and make the decisions in the healing process.

Homeopathy teaches the patient to listen to what is going on with their bodies and to read the signs and act on them immediately to reduce symptoms and in time heal. Everything takes time, think about how long it took for your body to get to this point, this sick…it will of course take time to heal too.  Nothing is magic, nobody has super powers to heal you immediately and within nature everything evolves in time just like homeopathic medicine takes time! The foods you consume, functional medicine doctor, homeopathic medicine, natural-path medicine and biofeedback to name a few alternative medicine rather than the harsh western medicine ways is the way of the future.

Trying to keep going & propelling forward

I have been suffering with iron deficiency anemia since 2011 my worst bout of it so far but also on and off for the past 18 years. Each time since I was 9 every time I have a flare I am automatically anemic and malnourished. Feeling very desperate at this point due to struggling to walk any short distance without being out of breath, extremely exhausted and the feeling that something was very wrong.

I cannot come to terms with treating or managing the “symptoms” of IBD with prescription drugs, as this only causes more issues, ultimately masking the symptoms but not healing them which is hindering the body even more. In Western medicine, doctors are taught to remove the issue causing the symptoms to fix the body yet that is not always the best decision. In alternative medicine the underlying issue(s) is determined, treated and healed. It’s too bad society is taught that western doctors are the only right answer, the key to health when clearly there are other options. Don’t get me wrong western medical doctors are needed and save lives but there are other options in healing IBD other than removal of bowels, intestines and colons.

It seems to me all the information I have read online about individuals having surgery and relying on ostomy as their working gut is extreme and in most cases unnecessary.  Of course I don’t know the circumstances behind these decisions but none the less I find it such a scary, permanent and preventable procedure. Unfortunate, for some, yet an advantage for others that there are many advancements and information out there in the medical world now for individuals to make a more informed decision, that it makes me feel bad for the ones who didn’t have access to it in the past. No one should suffer or struggle the way we do with autoimmune diseases and I view masking symptoms and surgery to add to the suffering which to me is so unfair and unnecessary.

Homeopathy

In my experience I found healing the natural way with homeopathy and biofeedback, I am so grateful for the information and the path I’m taking so that I can live a healthy life without surgery.  For me knowledge is freedom from surgery, over the counter medication that manages only the symptoms and these diseases constantly wreaking havoc on my body.  I want to share my successes and triumphs with whomever will listen in hopes it will reach others and they can find healing in the same none evasive ways I have for healing IBD. Things have to change in the western medical world so, I am advocating for holistic healing, natural remedies and healthier choices.  Educate yourself and find the best solution for you.

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Feature picture – I lost more than half my hair, some eyebrows and eye lashes. 2015/2016

Love & Peace ~Andrea

It is possible to have both Crohns Disease & Ulcerative Colitis

I have both Crohns Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. I was not misdiagnosed and it is possible. It is rare but, it is possible! I have had Crohns since I was 9 years old and Colitis since my early twenties. There are more documentation other than what I am presenting below of these diseases in one patient and concurrently however, I could not find more than seven on the www!

Is it possible to have both Crohn’s Disease & Ulcerative Colitis? And concurrently?

Yes, You Can Have Both Crohn’s And Ulcerative Colitis ~ Crohnology.com

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis in the same patient ~ NCBI

Simultaneous ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease ~ NCBI

Two for one: coexisting ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease ~ NCBI

If you are one of the unlucky ones who also have both, you are not alone! I welcome you to share your experiences and stories here without judgement or negative naysayer comments. (as I have control over the comments to be posted and I will not approve any that fall in those categories.)  Connecting is a key factor to working through illness and this platform is a great place to start!

Light. Love. & Peace.

~Andrea

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CLEVELAND CLINIC

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Logo of dai

Link to Publisher's site
Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2009 Feb; 106(8): 123–133.
Published online 2009 Feb 20. doi:  10.3238/arztebl.2009.0123
PMCID: PMC2695363
Review Article

The Diagnosis and Treatment of Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

Daniel C. Baumgart, PD Dr. med.*,1

Abstract

Introduction

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are chronic inflammatory diseases resulting from an inappropriate immune response, in genetically susceptible individuals, to microbial antigens of commensal microorganisms. This inappropriate response is promoted by certain environmental factors. Both diseases manifest themselves primarily in the gastrointestinal tract yet can, in principle, affect all of the organ systems of the body.

The purpose of this review article is to heighten awareness of these diseases among physicians whose primary clinical activities lie outside gastroenterology.

Methods

This is not a systematic review nor a meta-analysis. It is mainly based on the guidelines of national (DGVS and DACED) and international (AGA, ACG, BSG, CCFA, ECCO) specialist societies and expert groups, as well as on important reviews and a limited number of pivotal randomized, double-blind, controlled, multicenter studies.

Results

More than 300 000 people in Germany suffer from chronic inflammatory bowel diseases. The incidence and prevalence of IBD have risen in the past 10 years, particularly for Crohn’s disease. Every fifth IBD patient is a child or adolescent. A better understanding of key events in the inflammatory cascade, e.g., the activation and polarization of T cells by TNF-alpha, IFN-gamma and IL-12/18 through dendritic cells, has led in recent years to the development of many new immune-modulating and biological treatments. Advanced endoscopic techniques and contrast-enhanced tomographic imaging techniques have expanded diagnostic capabilities.

Conclusion

A cure is still not possible, yet the opportunities for diagnosis and treatment have improved significantly. Early diagnosis is important so that patients can be referred onward for further diagnostic evaluation and appropriate treatment without delay.

Keywords: Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diagnosis, treatment, chronic disease

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the two main forms of chronic inflammatory bowel disease. The clinical features, diagnostic assessment, and treatment of these diseases are the topic of this review article (1, 2). Their complex epidemiology, pathogenesis, and pathophysiology are extensively discussed elsewhere (2, 3).

Very important factors in the epidemiology of these diseases include the following:

  • Ethnic origin
  • The presence of susceptibility regions on at least 12 chromosomes
  • Geographical factors
  • Lifestyle.

These factors can contribute singly or in combination to the occurrence of the disease. In summary, chronic inflammatory bowel diseases result from an inappropriate innate and acquired immune response to commensal microorganisms in genetically susceptible individuals.

Crohn’s disease is a transmural inflammatory disease of the mucosa with episodic progression. It can affect every part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract from the mouth to the anus. Typical manifestations include discontinuous involvement of different segments of the GI tract (L1–L4) and the development of complications such as strictures, abscesses, and fistulae (B1–B3p) (46). The Montreal classification also takes the age at initial diagnosis into account (A1–A3) (box).

Box

Montreal classification of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (5)

Crohn’s disease
A1 < 16 years old at diagnosis
A2 17 to 40 years old at diagnosis
A3 > 40 years old at diagnosis
L1 terminal ileum
L2 colon
L3 ileocolon
L4 upper GI tract
L4+ lower GI tract and distal disease
B1 without stricture formation, nonpenetrating
B2 with stricture formation
B3 internally penetrating
B3p perianally penetrating
Ulcerative colitis
E1 proctitis
E2 left colitis
E3 pancolitis

Ulcerative colitis is a nontransmural inflammatory disease with episodic progression that is restricted to the colon. Depending on the part of the colon that is involved, it can be designated according to the Montreal classification as proctitis (E1), left colitis (sigmoid and descending colon) (E2), or extensive colitis (pancolitis) (E3). In a few patients, inflammation of the terminal ileum (“backwash ileitis”) can also develop, making it difficult to distinguish this form of ulcerative colitis from Crohn’s ileocolitis (5, 7, 8) (box).

Methods

This article is neither a systematic review nor a meta-analysis. Excellent meta-analyses are already available, e.g., in the library of the Cochrane Collaboration (www.cochrane.org/reviews/eu/topics/73.html). Rather, it is intended as a general, practice-oriented overview of the diagnosis and treatment of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The guidelines of national (DGVS, DACED) and international (AGA, ACG, BSG, CCFA, ECCO) specialist societies and expert groups are emphasized, and important review articles are cited, along with only a few pivotal randomized, double-blind, multicenter studies. Recent international guidelines are given priority over national consensus statements in order to give the reader the most up-to-date information possible.

Therapeutic recommendations are based mainly on the ECCO Consensus (ECCO = European Crohn’s and Colitis Association) and the guidelines of the German Society for Digestive and Metabolic Diseases (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Verdauungs- und Stoffwechselkrankheiten, DGVS), which are discussed in the context of the author’s own clinical experience and practice. The evidence levels (EL) and recommendation grades (RG) given here are based on the categories of the Oxford Centers for Evidence-Based Medicine (www.cebm.net/levels_of_evidence.asp#refs); thus, 1 is the highest level of evidence and A is the strongest recommendation grade. In the DGVS guidelines, the recommendation grade is given as A, B, C, or D.

Clinical features

The clinical features of the disease depend on its localization (box) and often include diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, clinical signs of subileus or ileus, and/or the passage of blood and mucus per rectum. Patients with Crohn’s disease often do not have bloody diarrhea, but rather abdominal pain or nonspecific abdominal symptoms. Patients with left colitis or ulcerative proctitis generally have a milder disease course (box, table 1).

Table 1

Differential diagnosis of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease (1)

Extra-intestinal manifestations

Patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can develop extra-intestinal manifestations (table 2). The most common types affect the musculoskeletal system (figure 1), the skin (figure 2), the eyes, and the hepatobiliary system (9, 10). These extra-intestinal manifestations are to be distinguished from the so-called associated autoimmune diseases (table 2).

Table 2

Common extra-intestinal manifestations and associated autoimmune diseases (9, 10)

Figure 1


Articles from Deutsches Ärzteblatt International are provided here courtesy of Deutscher Arzte-Verlag GmbH
*Note: Although this article continues I do not agree with their way of treatments so, I have chosen not to include it here. Link is above for further reading if you so choose.

01/16/15 – 01/16/17

January 16th….Today is a big day for me! It marks two years since I started this amazing Homeopathy and Biofeedback healing, recovery and finding my authentic self journey. I am so grateful I found Phyllis my homeopath who saved my life.

You can not imagine the relief I felt two years ago when I walked out of Natural Remedies the Homeopathic Office in the town I lived in, knowing that I had hope, a future, someone who knew how to help me regain my health and finally a diagnosis. I finally knew what was wrong with me, what I had been dealing with since I was 9 years old.  It had a name, I had words that would lead me to research and find ways I could make my life easier and manage these diseases.

It had crossed my mind to go to a homeopath but I probably wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for a coworker at my last job who’s son had gone through an incredibly scary time just before I started working there and was also saved by Phyllis, homeopathy and biofeedback. Listening to her tell his story and how she struggled to find her son help, along with how biofeedback and holistic remedies helped him, convinced me that this was what I needed since western medicine nor doctors were unable to help me either.

I am grateful for Kathy and Phyllis who came into my life at just the right time!

On January 12th and 13th last week I felt a huge difference in my thinking ability, processing, and clarity.  Crohns symptoms, energy and overall general health had improved a significant amount over night.  It’s so great….I feel like I’m getting back into functioning normally, I’m so darn close!

I am so grateful for every step I’ve experienced over the past years from fighting for my life to getting my life back.

Now that I know my diagnosis I’ve been able to learn how to manage and handle these diseases so that I don’t repeat my mistakes from the past.  I can’t guarantee that I will never have another flare but I can say with certainty I will never be this sick for this long again.  A usual flare lasts a couple of weeks or months not years when treated with change in diet, holistic remedies, homeopathy and biofeedback.

With proper treatment, allowing the GI track to heal on it’s own and taking holistic remedies a Crohns and Colitis flare can be managed easily. The severity of the flare is the only measure in that it will take as long as the body needs to heal from the damage of the flare.

Check out the rest of my blog posts to see my journey from being incredibly imbalanced and sick from anemia, being malnourished, crohns and colits flares to remission and recovery.

[EDIT] I want to add that I am not in any way against western medicine or doctors. I could make a long list of the people and ways western medicine and doctors have saved lives just in my family not including people I know or have heard about. The theme throughout my blog is that they weren’t for me, this time, for these diseases. 

This is an incredible post to read about Crohns disease

Peace ~Andrea