A Gluten-Free Beer Worth Drinking!

This tastes like a coffee stout – like a REAL beer, in other words!

It’s the holidays, and what is a celebration without a little alcohol? That being said, I realize a lot of us can’t consume alcohol for various reasons – maybe it interferes with our meds, maybe it aggravates our IBD, maybe we’re allergic, etc. Fortunately I’ve been able to consume some wine over the past few days without any adverse side effects, as my condition is seemingly continuing to improve. (And sorry, but for a wineaux, not drinking wine for four + months is literally crippling. No way was I going to sacrifice Christmas and New Year’s too!) Then today my husband discovered the above “Glutenberg Red Ale” and thought it was time we gave this whole gluten-free beer thing a try. Continue reading

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Don’t Let Your Fears Decide Your Fate

Jay Moriarity at Mavericks, about to survive the worst wipe-out in the history of surfing...only to get right back up on the board to do it again.

Jay Moriarity at Mavericks, about to survive the worst wipe-out in the history of surfing…only to get right back up on the board to do it again.

Motivation and inspiration come in many (unexpected) forms. I certainly wasn’t looking for either, I was too busy feeling lousy and being stuck in my head, worried and depressed. Then, about a week ago, I watched the movie “Chasing Mavericks” for the first time. I’d been dragging my feet about it; the DVD arrived from Netflix and sat by the TV for almost a month before my husband convinced me to “just watch it already” so it could be returned. Admittedly I didn’t realize it was based on a true story, I’d just heard mixed things about it and had a vague sense of what the story was about – crusty surfer takes troubled kid under his wing, they surf monster waves together. I knew Gerard Butler damn near died while filming it, and that was about it. (Boy, was I wrong!)

Now, let me clarify that “Chasing Mavericks” is not about Ulcerative Colitis. It’s not even about overcoming illness. Yet it resonated with me, and where (thanks to this stupid disease) I find myself in life right now. Continue reading

There Is Good Hidden In Everything

Not saying it will be obvious, you might have to search (or wait for it).

Not saying it will be obvious, you might have to search (or wait for it).

So in the beginning, at my first colonoscopy (for this), not only did they find the ulcerative proctitis that would eventually become full-blown UC, but they found a pre-cancerous polyp. And not a good (aka mild) kind. One of those if-we-hadn’t-found-this-now-you’d-have-full-blown-cancer-in-10-years kinds. Read: way before the required screening age of 50. The doc was so alarmed, she asked if I had any siblings. I said yes, a younger sister. She said for her to get in for a colonoscopy as well, because these tend to run in families. Well, long story short, her results came back and she has the same type. The both of us now need yearly screenings for life. So where is the good in this, you ask? Just ask my sister. In her words: “As much as it’s not fun to admit, your UC might be a life saver, for both of us.”

I’ve been so caught up in managing this flare, I’d forgotten all about the polyp. Her email to me was a splash of cold water. And you know what? As rough a road as it’s been, I’ll gladly take this bullet if it means she and I both dodged a worse one. So, thanks UC. You just saved two lives. Continue reading

Study: People Who Don’t Drink Are More Likely To Die Young

drink and save your life

Cheers! Drinkers have stronger social networks (aka support systems)!

My sister can always be relied on for interesting articles. She forwarded one today from Business Insider titled “A New Study Suggests That People Who Don’t Drink Alcohol Are More Likely To Die Young.” Spoiler alert: stop reading now if your intent is, in fact, to die young. Continue reading

Season A Factor in Relapse?

relapse dog

Just when things were starting look up…they weren’t. That’s right, yesterday all my so-called Remicade/Imuran improvement seemingly evaporated. Red toilet bowl, extreme falling-asleep-standing-up fatigue for no discernible reason…you get the picture. The cause? Well, my doctor thinks I might be “re-flaring.” (I guess that’s when your flare acts up before you’re fully in remission?) The docs are threatening to return me to the ‘roids, which I will fight tooth and nail. They think I was weaned too early. I did a little research, and I’m hoping it’s something else – namely, that because I’m just 72 hours away from my next Remi dose (and this is my first 4-week stretch between hits) the cocktail is losing its efficacy. I envision a swift return to the road to recovery after Monday. A girl can dream anyway.

That aside, as I was researching possible causes for this unwelcome “re-flare,” I came across an article from the National Center for Biotechnology Information titled (appropriately enough), “Why Do Patients With Ulcerative Colitis Relapse?” Their conclusion: seasonal factors play a significant part in onset and relapse.  Continue reading

Remission, Diet & Stress – My Personal Take

zen stonesThe article “Taming the Inflammation of Ulcerative Colitis” provides a good overall definition of clinical remission: it “is defined as formed bowel movements, no urgency and no blood in the stool.” I’m not quite there myself, but I believe I’m finally starting to enter it. I don’t know if it’s thanks to the Remicade, the Imuran, or both, but I can honestly say it’s not due to diet. (At least, not fully). Continue reading