Tuesday, November 10, 2015
An Autumn Tale: Battling Back from Inflammatory Disease (Part 2)
If you haven't read part 1 of this journey, you can do so HERE.
My journey continued as we awaited results from my liver biopsy. At the end of a long week I received a phone call from the gastroenterologist office. The nurse told me that they were calling in prescriptions for steroids and an immunosuppressant. "Take the meds as indicated on the label; do not forget or skip them. Come to your regularly scheduled appointment, which I see is next week. We are sending you a blood work order; once you start the medications have blood work at 2 weeks, 4 weeks and 8 week intervals as the lab of your choice..." Wait! what did the biopsy say, why the medicines, what's going on? "Inflammation...your liver is badly inflamed. The doctor will talk to you about the details at your appointment."
Oh my. Many words I dreaded to hear, one of which was: steroids, specifically Prednisone. Was I going to puff up like a balloon? I was trying to not be vain. I didn't want a lot of starring eyes looking my way, drawing attention.
I immediately messaged a couple friends who I knew had to take Prednisone for long amounts of time. They were so gracious and supportive on how to's and don'ts of taking it without many side effects. "Watch your sodium - low or no -- watch your sugar, in fact avoid it if possible." "Don't eat dessert and drink coffee at the same time ...it equals immediate fat stores." I was reading stories all over the internet about how people swelled and looked disfigured by day 3 of steroid therapy. Oh but how I wanted to get better......
I got the medications and read the labels. Imuran, the immunosuppressant seemed to be without too many ill side-effects, other than eventually it could lower my resistance to catching things. Flu and cold season were setting in. Predninsone was 30 mg and in 10 mg tabs, eventually to be tapered off of - take 3 a day. Okay, I guess I was thinking it would be 50 mg like the Imuran. I'm going to do this -- I have to do this. I took my medicines the first day.
I took my medicines the second day. I kept looking in the mirror - was I looking rounder? By day 3, I was actually starting to feel kind of good, better...more relaxed - my abdomen didn't feel as tight and funny as it had for so long. By day 7, a whole week, I felt much better; still wasn't sleeping very well, but wasn't swelling either, in fact, I was losing weight ....water weight? I don't know, but the Prednisone, was agreeing with me. I did, one morning, drink a cup of coffee and felt like I ate a bag of sugar rather than caffeine. I felt giddy and happy. Drunk on coffee?
I still hadn't gained an appetite back, in fact, I had lost my appetite for even coffee, which is a hard thing to believe with me. Since September, the onset of the more severe symptoms, I had only had 2 cups of coffee and this was the end of October going into November. One of my friends sent a link to some diet suggestions - and autoimmune protocol diet; it spoke about autoimmune diseases such as the liver difficulty I was having which on my diagnostics was starting to show up as: Autoimmune Hepatitis. Well, well, I had an autoimmune thyroiditis condition diagnosed 15 years earlier.....hmmmm
So, I began to check out the diets my friend had sent. This led me to realize that EVERY THING on the NO EAT list for autoimmune protocol was something I completely indulged in full force several months before on a natural diet craze I was doing. (the Fast Metabolism Diet)
Wow. Could I have brought this on myself? Well, I am set up for autoimmune apparently, and I'm sure my past eating habits were not helping. In hindsight, this metabolism diet may have really helped trigger it. I was going to look over the lists of foods to avoid and foods to eat at the Paleo Mom site my friend had sent, and see what maybe I could do to help heal myself as well. My friend had Crohn's disease and it was under control for so long by diet, when she had her last colonoscopy, there was no signs of it -- as if she had never had it. That gave me so much hope!
You can begin to read more about autoimmunity and paleo HERE.