Hi! I’m Megan Wells, a food photographer, foodie, and blogger living in Vacaville, California.
Meg is Well is my blog, where I’m striving to be well physically and mentally despite whatever challenges I face. Food, photography, and writing is how I deal with life’s struggles, mainly ulcerative colitis and living with a j-pouch.
I work to keep my love of food alive no matter what and I don’t think health, work, or a busy life should get in my way of enjoying all things delicious. And I don’t think it should get in your way either!
About Meg is Well
Here on Meg is Well, I focus on mostly healthy(-ish) comforting recipes that feature bold flavors. However, my sweet tooth is pretty big and it seems other people are the same because my desserts are often the most popular. But hey, life is about balance right?
I post a mix of slow and elaborate recipes and fast and easy. I really enjoy challenging myself (and by default, you) with more gourmet and made-from-scratch recipes. But we’re all busy and sometimes the last thing we want to do is be in the kitchen, so I try to mix in fast and easy meals as well.
I’m also a big fan of leftovers.
Living with Ulcerative Colitis and a J-Pouch
The other half of Meg is Well features blog posts that go into more detail about the struggles I’ve had over the years with my health.
Ulcerative colitis can be an extremely isolating disease. This blog started as a way for me to navigate my experience and to feel less isolated from the world around me. I also felt the need to add context to my story and shape people’s understanding.
Do You and Your Recipes Adhere to a Specific Diet?
No. I think one of the major misconceptions about this blog is that it follows a diet (SCD, Paleo, etc.).
I did start this blog while I was on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, so my older recipes do adhere to that. During the first couple years of my diagnoses, I experimented with diet, but ultimately, my body always found ways to reject food and go into very bad flares.
Spending so much time on extensive and intense diets that weren’t giving me results was not making me happy and was increasing the amount of isolation I felt.
Foodie With a J-Pouch
In May of 2016, I finally made the decision to have my entire colon removed. For three months I lived with a stoma. In August 2016, I had my ileostomy takedown surgery. After some very serious complications, I’m now fully recovered and living life with a j-pouch. I’ve been hospital free since October 2016!
You can follow the links below for more details about my experience or you can browse any of my Health Updates, Ulcerative Colitis Confessions, or Health Stories.
My Whole UC Story
You can read my ulcerative colitis story in order or you can browse all my ulcerative colitis and health-related posts here:
- My UC Story: where and when my ulcerative colitis symptoms first started
- Part I – The Beginning of My UC Story: what my symptoms were and the struggles I had getting health care
- Part II – UC Diagnosis and Adjustment: how I was diagnosed and how I struggled to adjust to living with ulcerative colitis (including diet experiments, and getting frustrated with doctors not listening to me)
- Part III – UC and Severe Back Pain: my ongoing struggle with severe back pain + getting a new GI doctor that listened to me and who sent me to a rheumatologist
- Part IV – Sacroiliitis Diagnosis and UC Remission: getting diagnosed with sacroiliitis, getting on Remicade, and finally going into remission (with both my UC and joint disease)
- Part V – The Second UC Flare: my slowly deteriorating health, worsening symptoms, colonoscopy, and my first ER visit
- Part VI – First Hospitalization: my first hospitalization from my second ulcerative colitis flare and my experience with bowel rest and edema (swelling from fluid).
- Part VII – Being on Prednisone for My Second UC Flare Recovery: being on Prednisone for the first time and the various effects it had on my mind and body + adding mercaptopurine (6MP) and allopurinol to my daily routine
- Part VIII – Third UC Flare and Second ER Visit: my third UC Flare experience, symptoms, ER visit, and tests and procedures (CT scan, proctoscopy, etc.)
- Part IX – Recovering From Two Consecutive Flares: being released from the ER and the struggles of recovering from two consecutive UC flares (three months apart)
- UC Planning Realities: Trying to Write and Defend a Thesis: the difficulties in making long-term plans with UC and trying to meet thesis deadlines while in a flare
- Post UC Flare Routine: my post UC flare routine that helped me manage my physical and emotional symptoms
- Body Image and Mental Health with UC: Stop telling me I look great: the connection between body image and mental health and how my experience with ulcerative colitis has complicated my relationship with the two
- Making Travel Plans with UC: the difficulties in making travel plans with UC
- The Nightmare of Ulcerative Colitis: I compare a reoccurring childhood nightmare I had to the nightmare of ulcerative colitis
- Part X – Fourth UC Flare: My fourth UC flare experience, symptoms, hospitalization, tests, procedures, next treatment steps, and recovery
- Hanging Out in Limbo: waiting for experts to weigh in on my situation is like hanging out in limbo – I have no new treatment plan and I don’t know what the future holds
- Part XI – How Losing My Colon is a Transformation and Not a Loss: I’m losing my colon soon. But read about how this is a transformation and not a loss and how I made the decision to remove my colon
- You’ve Just Crossed Over into the Prednisone: Being on prednisone is a lot like being in the Twilight Zone. Things aren’t always what they seem, it can be hard to navigate and understand your surroundings, and often times you feel like you might never come back. Or the even scarier thought: that you might not ever want to come back.
- Recovery Reads: a list of some of my favorite books to read while recovering from UC flares, hospitalizations, and surgeries
- Pre-Surgery Jitters: my pre-surgery jitters in the days leading up to my j-pouch surgery on May 20, 2016, and how I distracted and pampered myself
- Part XII – J-Pouch Surgery: what my j-pouch surgery (proctocolectomy with ileal pouch-anal anastomosis) was like, including prep, surgery, and recovery
- J-Pouch Surgery Recovery: j-pouch surgery recovery is a full-time job with lots of road bumps along the way including bladder problems, dehydration, exhaustion, healing stitches and scars, pain and emotions, and adjusting to life with a stoma and ostomy bag
- Stoma Life: what my stoma life, the three months I lived with an ostomy bag, was like, including the physical and mental adjustments I went through, procedures, and what travel was like
- Part XIII – Pancreatitis: my struggle with pancreatitis including symptoms, tests, my ER and hospital stay, pain management, post-discharge recovery, and pre-op prep
- Part XIV – Ileostomy Takedown Surgery: how my ileostomy takedown surgery went, including prep, the surgery, hospital recovery, and complications
- Part XV – Post Operative Ileus Complications: my painful and scary experience with post operative ileus complications left me very weak, under 100 pounds, malnourished, and very close to death’s door
- Surgery Recovery and Diet Problems: Physical and diet difficulties from post-surgery recovery and complications from pancreatitis, post-operative ileus, and pouchitis
- Everything is Shiny and New
- Hitting the Wall and The Privilege of Scars and Wrinkles
- Experiencing Loss and The Power and Comfort of Creativity
- Hauntings, Superstitions, and Giving Back: Reflecting on Being Hospital Free for 2 Years
Healthline Cost of Care Interview
In November of 2018, I participated in a Cost of Care interview with Healthline that was extremely illuminating for myself. I usually see the cost of my care in parts but participating in the project helped me see the whole big (expensive) picture. You can check out that interview here.
Some Other Facts About Me…
- I’m a military brat! My dad was in the Air Force so we moved around a lot. This most definitely contributed to my interest in trying new foods and flavor combinations.
- I grew up wanting a dog so bad. But my dad always said no because we moved around too much. He surprised my sisters and
Iwith our first dog, Shay, at his retirement ceremony. You can find me tripping over her in the kitchen on a daily basis.
- My favorite drink is an Old Fashioned.
- Hot yoga is my favorite physical activity (but not Bikram – I like to flow).
- Hiking is great, but strangely I like it best when I’m alone.
- I love to read but I have no self-control and will drop everything to finish a book. I’ve lost count of the times I stayed up reading until 3 in the morning.
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or want to contact me, see my contact page!