One of the great challenges of running a blog is consistently coming up with fresh content. I’ve not been working very hard on that lately. I’m still following SCD, taking LDN, and altogether livin’ the alt-Crohn’s treatment life, but there hasn’t been a lot of news recently. More than that though, I’ve just been focusing on other things in my life, things that have nothing to do with Crohn’s, SCD, LDN, or anything else related to gut health and autoimmune disorders. But the last thing I want to happen is for this blog to lay fallow, so in the interest of resuscitation and rejuvenation, allow me to fill you in on all that’s been happening in my Crohn’s life lately.
Ever since my Crohn’s diagnosis, I’ve had a concern that’s lingered without resolution. I’ve come to think of my disease as a sniper, because it wasn’t until my symptoms were bad enough to require surgery that I knew something was amiss. Oh sure, I knew that my gut wasn’t normal, and I had days that were sometimes uncomfortable, but I never had any of the symptoms that are generally associated with Crohn’s… extreme pain, excessive diarrhea, bloody stool. None of that stuff. So while the surgery effectively eliminated all my active disease, I’ve been left with this lingering thought in the back of my head…. how will I know if it returns? Will I again have to wait until I’m in dire crisis before knowing that I’m flaring? I console myself with reassurances that I’m a lot better informed now, that I’m more in touch with my gut now, that I don’t need to worry since I’ll never allow myself to flare again. But the fear lingers.
This has been especially top-of-mind for me during this last week. I’ve been recognizing some gut behavior patterns that I’ve not seen for a long time…. deep cramping associated with motility, *loud* gurgling, suddenly urgent and explosive BMs. It’s certainly possible that I just ate too many leafy veggies last week. Leafy veggies have always been difficult for me, and part of the lunch food that Diana and I prepared for the week was Saag (Indian creamed spinach). I didn’t think it would be a concern, since it had gone through the blender and was… well…. creamed. I ate it 3 days in a row before things started to get wonky, but by then it was too late. So I stopped eating it and went to eating almost exclusively proteins for a few days. This all started going down last Wednesday and it’s only today that I’ve begun to stop feeling ‘off’. So… was/is that a flare? I don’t know, and I probably never will. Short of being able to just drop everything and go get blood work and a colonoscopy every time things go haywire, I’m left with little to do but to fall back on what I know will work well for me. When in doubt, eat only proteins. (please note: this is advice to myself, not to you. I promise you, your IBD is different from mine… everybody’s is different!).
As I mentioned above, I’m continuing to use Low Dose Naltrexone as one of the tools in my arsenal. I’ve mentioned in the past some of the effects it’s had on my sleep patterns. Much to my pleasure, I’m finding that the process of falling asleep is beginning to stabilize a bit, and return to a more gradual one, rather than the more event-based model it’s been following. It’s still not like it was before LDN and I don’t know that it ever will be, but it certainly brings about a lot less panic now, as I’m no longer laying there wondering if I’ll be able to fall asleep. What’s not changed are my dreams. They continue to be epic. Not epic in the colloquial sense, mind you… I mean epic in the Homeric sense! Expansive, huge, complex, and sweepingly epic. Not uncommonly, they are quite violent, which isn’t something I recall experiencing much of before LDN. Interestingly though, I never seem to feel fear during these dreams that would normally qualify as nightmares by any definition of the term. That’s just fine with me! I do sometimes wake up feeling a little worn out by them however.
Overall, I’ve been feeling terrific, and I know beyond any doubt that SCD has been integral to that. Is the LDN helping? It’s difficult to say with absolute certainty. I do have one interesting indicator though. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this blog, Crohn’s isn’t my only autoimmune issue. I also have psoriasis, and while it’s been a good long time since I’ve had a flare, I do have several spots of chronic irritation. One of these spots is a large swath on the back of my head, about 2 inches wide and 6 inches long. It’s been in that location and that size for a couple of years. Since starting to take LDN, this spot has begun to shrink. It’s now down to 3/4 inch wide and about 3.5 inches long. So that’s pretty interesting. I’m thinking that I might throw a party when it becomes undetectable! Who’s with me?!?