As you may recall, I had a colonoscopy and upper endoscopy performed a couple of weeks back. This week, I had follow-up appointments with both my ND and my MD.
The results of the test itself were quite good. The only inflammation present in my gut is a very slight bit at my anastomosis, which is the site at which the two ends of my gut were put back together after my ascending colon and ilium were removed. During the endoscopy, a small (8 mm, to be precise) ulcer was found in my stomach lining.
I was, of course, encouraged by these results and anxious to ‘show off’ for my care providers, though I did have a couple of concerns I wanted to discuss with them. In particular, I’ve been feeling some pain for the last week or so in my ab muscles, at one particular spot of the incision. I can feel a lump there, and it’s tender to pressure or stretching. It’s obvious from the location that this involves scar tissue resulting from the surgery. Another concern right now is that my fingernails are separating from the nail bed. This is an indicator that my psoriasis is rearing its head and considering making a patchy, red, flaky, and itchy appearance.
I saw my ND first, on Tuesday this week. [insert flashback here…] When last we saw our ND, he had determined that, in addition to the obvious problems with Crohn’s disease, I was coming up short in the pancreatic enzyme department. He prescribed a supplement, Zypan, that provided both pancreatic enzymes and betaine hydrochloride, or stomach acid. It was also his recommendation that got me to adopt SCD. When my test results came back a while ago, he had me discontinue the Zypan, for fear that it was aggravating my ulcer. [screen wavers as we return to the present]. He asked me some questions, poked and prodded at my belly, and did a few other tests that led him to a couple of conclusions: While I didn’t apparently need the betaine in Zypan, he did feel that I was still deficient in pancreatic enzymes, so he prescribed one that is only plant-based pancreatic enzymes (Thorne Plantizyme, if you care). Just as well, since Zypan is not SCD-Legal. I hope they work as well as Zypan, because that stuff was amazing! And as for the pain I’m feeling in my ab muscles, he attributed that to the scar tissue adhering improperly to normal tissue. Because of the location along a specific energy meridian (hey, he’s a Naturopath!), he had reason to believe that this was also related to the enzyme imbalance issue. We are going to give the enzymes a couple of weeks to do their work, and follow up in a couple of weeks. If things haven’t improved, we’ll talk about the possibility of using a vitamin B12 injection at the site of the pain, to help increase plasticity of the scar tissue. Obviously, he also encouraged me to stick with SCD, pointing out that my clear colon is proof enough that it’s helping to maintain remission. I did not get a chance to talk to him about psoriasis and the management thereof. I’ll bring it up when I follow up with him in a couple of weeks.
I visited with my MD today. My relationship with him is…. cautiously friendly. He’s a very friendly and bright man who’s very knowledgeable regarding western, allopathic GI medicine, but if something is ‘not supported by the clinical evidence’, then he just glazes over and moves on to the next topic. Low-dose naltrexone? No thanks, he’s not interested. Specific Carbohydrate Diet? Don’t worry… there’s no evidence linking gut health with diet. Psoriasis? Why are you asking me about that? I’m a Gastroenterologist! I was encouraged, however, by our mutual agreement that, at this time, no drug therapies are warranted. W00t! He wished me well, shook my hand, and sent me on my way with a check-in appointment in a year. I’m holding space for the possibility that I won’t see him again until then.
Overall, I’d say things look pretty good for me right now. My Crohn’s appears to be in remission and I have my MD’s blessing to be drug free. While there’s no way to discern correlation from causation, I’m of the mind that SCD is a big part of why I’m healthy right now, and I plan to follow it indefinitely. If you suffer from IBD and have been considering making the switch to SCD, I’m here to tell you to DO IT!!! You have nothing to lose. If it doesn’t help, oh well. But you have SO MUCH to gain! Read the book and give it a try!!