Part IV: Enough
I believe it was the evening of June 29th that I went up to take my evening antibiotic. I picked up the pill bottle, opened it, and set it back down. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I stopped taking the antibiotics cold turkey. I let my GI Doc know, and he was on board with it because he had to be. I was either going to keep on that path, or else I was going to die. Easy choice.
It took a couple of days but my energy levels started to increase. By July 4th, I was able to go out to a baseball game with my mom and family. I was in the office more for work in July. My family went on a sunny Friday afternoon to the restaurant where my oldest child worked and we sat out on the patio, listening to a duo play guitars and sing. I could feel my life returning. There wasn’t any abscess pain, and I felt like things were on track.
In mid-July I went to see a healer recommended to me by my therapist. She handed down a diagnosis of Lyme disease which seemed odd as I didn’t have any active symptoms, but I had a test that returned positive for Borrelia as well as Babesia and Bartonella microbial DNA. So I started treatment for long-term Lyme as well. Just another road in my long journey toward health.
Unfortunately, in early August, I started to have the abscess pain again. I talked to my doc, he referred me to the colorectal surgeon again who said that everything looked ok on the outside and suggested another 10-day round of Cipro. I wasn’t thrilled about that, but decided to give it a go and see how much it helped. Long story short, it didn’t. The pain never quite went away.
I was still on Humira, so it appeared that didn’t seem to be helping with the abscess either. I was losing weight and in pain. Nothing seemed to work, and my GI doc & the surgeon didn’t seem to think that surgery to drain the abscess would help. I was working from home again, getting all of my hours in with the agency, but working through and around the pain. Regrettably, in September they let me go in a company reorganization, so now I was out of work in addition to the health issues.
If I wasn’t a Buddhist, all of this would have really bothered me. 🙂 It did bother me, but I didn’t suffer too much around it. I just started looking for writing work and revived my freelance company (Need freelance copywriting/editing/proofreading? Contact me: www.tenzomedia.com).
The big worry coming up was the family vacation that we had planned for the New Year’s holiday. It would involve a lot of walking and I wasn’t in any shape to walk all day, not to mention that I was still having my Crohn’s symptoms (diarrhea, bleeding, urgency, etc.). My wife and I talked to my GI doc to see what could be done and he said he could write a letter explaining my situation to help mitigate any issues we’d have with traveling and such. That was great and helped relieve some of our stress.
But what to do about my continuing symptoms? We did a blood test and scheduled a sigmoidoscopy for late November to see how things were going inside. The blood work came back mostly ok but with the normal inflammation markers. The sigmoid scope went as well as those go, I suppose, and we went to meet with my GI doc a week later to discuss the results.
My wife and I were both in the room when he told us that he didn’t see much change in the ulcerations and inflammation from the previous year. While not ideal, it did let me know definitively that the Humira wasn’t working in the way we hoped it would, making two biologic agents that I tried that were a bust. I knew it wasn’t working before he told me and was planning on telling him that I needed to stop taking the Humira, regardless of the outcome of the sigmoidoscopy.
So where does that leave me now?
Well, as I mentioned, I read a lot about different healing tactics and diets during the summer & fall. From Nourishing Broth to the GAPS diet to Listen to Your Gut. I’m still on a Lyme treatment protocol using supplements. I’m not on any drugs like antibiotics or biologics. My GI doc has suggested a couple of avenues, all of which amount to more drugs, which I just don’t want to do. The memory of the Humira shots and my antibiotic shrivel are both still too fresh.
The treatment angles I read about in Listen to Your Gut felt like the best way forward for me. The book covers the healing journey, treating the physical symptoms as well as the underlying lingering mental contributors. There are some diets to help treat bleeding, diarrhea, gas & bloating, and then there’s the bowel rest diet which consists of an elemental diet. The author, Jini Patel Thompson, also created a mix of protein, vitamins & minerals, and amino acids into a liquid shake product called Absorb Plus. (She left fats out for those who have fat absorption problems, leaving it to each person to add oil according to their ability to digest it.)
I decided to go the bowel rest path and didn’t have any solid food, only the shakes, for six weeks starting in early January of 2018. It wasn’t that difficult to stick with it as I was hoping for some relief from the usual Crohn’s symptoms I mentioned before. The path was up & down but settled out pretty well. I’ve had relief from the symptoms and also the abscess pain. (I did figure out that I have a chocolate sensitivity, though. Those shakes did *not* travel well for me.)
Oh, about that abscess. I had an epiphany one day in mid-February. The abscess was only on the left side. I realized that, when wiping, I would pull my left cheek so as to fully “part the seas” for access. I don’t know when I started doing that, or for how long, but once I realized it, I stopped doing it. The abscess has subsided quite a bit as to be almost nonexistent. I think my “technique” was at least part of the problem.
Next: Crohn’s or No?