It’s been a little over a month since my new gastro-intestinal doctor diagnosed me with ulcerative colitis. I naively believed that relief would swiftly follow treatment and, for a while, that seemed to be the case. Sadly, I now think my symptoms improved only because the prep for my Christmas Eve colonoscopy effectively cleaned out my system. About a week later, the symptoms started again. Under my doctor’s direction, I have experimented with various dosages of the same medications (Lialda, lomotil, and prednisone), but the treatment hasn’t worked to bring about remission.
What exactly are the symptoms? For me, it’s frequent (10+ a night), urgent bowel movements, accompanied by gas and cramping. About once a week, I soil my clothes when I’m unable to get to a bathroom in time. Over the past several months, this has happened on the way to work, on the way to church, at work, and on the way home. I’ve started driving while sitting on a plastic trash bag.
The prednisone is supposed to quickly deal with the inflammation in my colon to allow the Lialda to do it’s long-term anti-inflammatory work. I’ve had to cut back on the prednisone because it was making me crazy and irritable. Poor Frank has put up with a lot.
I haven’t slept straight through the night in a couple of weeks. That is, until two nights ago. These last couple of nights I’ve only been up twice. Sleep can make all the difference!
I visited my doctor yesterday and asked him several questions, including what’s next if this treatment doesn’t work, how long I should expect to continue to give what I’m doing a try, and if he has ever heard of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, a diet put forth in the book Breaking the Vicious Cycle. He had not heard of it, and didn’t want to be educated. He believes that diet does not do anything to cure this disease (though he agrees that a liquid diet can ease the symptoms temporarily).
I bought the book and I’ve read it. Following the diet involves an all-or-nothing two-year commitment. It’s hard for me to commit when my doctor isn’t behind my doing so.
I will give it more time. I will pray that these two good nights will stretch to three, and then four, and that this is the beginning of healing based on my current treatment plan.