When I was able, I left the comfort of my parent’s home and went back to living on my own. Kaiser Permanente really put me on a fast track. I got more tests done that were left out previously because of cost, but they also scheduled me to see a GI specialist right away. Within two weeks I got a colonoscopy and upper GI tract endoscopy done and was given a verdict: ulcerative colitis. I was put on LIALDA and sent home with the instructions that six months later I would get another colonoscopy to see how much I had progressed.
Living on my own was hard. Luckily, my responsibilities to school and work were small. I had finished all my graduate classes and had entered my thesis units, meaning I just had to write. No classes. My part-time job had been a temporary one, so I did not leave the museum in a lurch. I still tried to work but I was sent home a lot because I would often “crash” while doing any kind of activity. While working, running errands, doing chores, or cooking I would be fine for a while and then I would begin to get achy. My joints would begin to hurt and my thighs and back would get ice cold to the point where I could only warm up by taking a scalding hot shower. I would loose all the color in my face and I would begin fumbling a lot. When I spoke, people would have a hard time understanding me, I would get short tempered and frustrated, drop things, and be really confused.
About two weeks after I was diagnosed I started the SCD diet because my best attempts at adding food to my limited selection (apples, peanut butter, white bread and rice, eggs, avocados, honey, and broth) failed miserably. The beginning of the diet was really hard. Smells induced crazy intense cravings and I had some pretty cruel dreams. My dream self would eat food seductively in front of me, like those damn Carl’s Junior commercials. I hated her and wanted to kill her but I was not sure of the consequences of offing my dream self so I let her be.
After two weeks the cravings disappeared and I was able to add food successfully by following the different stages of the diet. By the end of March, the frequency of my crashes began to shrink but I still experienced them and I was also still having some painful digestive issues. I was keeping a food journal that tracked my progress and I brought my problems to the attention of my GI doctor and she shut me down. She said I was experiencing irritable bowel syndrome and that my colitis was in remission.
I felt pretty frustrated by this. I know my body and I know my symptoms and I felt like the doctor did not listen to me at all. Blood tests were ordered that eventually showed I still had significant inflammation (and therefore was still experiencing an ulcerative colitis flare), but by the time the results came in I had already moved back to Vacaville and was making an appointment with a new GI doctor. I had many reasons for moving. I was no longer taking classes at SSU and I was still struggling with getting myself well. My parents thought it would help me to have some support by living with them. The owner of the place I was renting had also decided she wanted to sell the house and gave me until May 15 to get out. Rather than stressing out and trying to find housing within a very short period, I immediately began preparing to move back to my hometown. My story continues in Part III – Good News – Bad News…