Update (10.23.18): I ended up taking a round of antibiotics because the infection went to my deeper sinuses causing no common sinus infection symptoms, just some pain in my cheek.
After being diagnosed with UC and reaching remission, I’ve been terrified of the moment I may need to take oral antibiotics. Not only do I not want to mess up all of the hard work I’ve done to achieve a happy gut, I’m also not interested in inviting C. Diff into my life.
That said, I’ve always had issues with mosquito bites and sinus infections – I have two deviated septums. It’s shocking that I don’t snore, but my doctor also suggested I likely don’t get sufficient oxygen either – much like someone with sleep apnoea.
This post is about the creature that bit me recently and the bite marks that wouldn’t go away. I’m thinking this was not a mosquito. Maybe some kind of fly?
I’ve always been a fan of not taking medication unless absolutely necessary and that goes for things as basic as tylenol. I don’t like to mask symptoms and I am aware of what antibiotics do to the body.
On the advice of some fellow SCDers, I went ahead and tried a combination of: tea tree oil mixed with manuka honey, oil of oregano, and sovereign silver. It worked. I couldn’t believe it, but it worked. Below are the pictures detailing the many faces of my bites and the ultimate healing. Also, I successfully beat a sinus infection using oil of oregano in my sinus rinse and taking it orally. It took a while, but I skirted taking the oral bactrim despite my doctor saying I needed it.
These are the products I used and will continue to use in the future:
Here are the bite pictures:
*Please forgive any grammar or spelling errors. I am writing this on my cell on my way to the SCD Conference in MA.
I’ve recently become obsessed with Living proofB hair products. I have always had long and healthy hair – despite countless color applications and processing. Back in May of 2017, I had to cut my hair short because, I believe, the round of prednisone I was on for two months destroyed it. It could also be related to the IBD, but I lean towards the prednisone because my hair is finally getting better. FYI: it started getting better before I began using this hair care brand, but this has made all the difference for me. And, I am not a hair product person. The most I use is some leave in conditioner.
So far I love the Restore and No Frizz lines. I am going to try out the PhDB line and some of the styling products. Here is a briefB summary of pros and cons thus far followed by a teeny review of the items I have tried thus far.
Pricey. I guess you get what you pay for, right?
I actually see and feel a difference in my hair and no longer hate it.
Free shipping and returns online.
Available at Ulta and Sephora.
Has decent promotions.
Can be found on Groupon and other discount sites.
Restore: Shampoo, Conditioner, and Mask Treatment
My hair felt like satin using these products. I used in combination with the humidity shield for a week, but I couldn’t bring myself to spend the $$$ on the large bottles of the Shampoo and Conditioner just yet. It’s expensive stuff.
Restore: Repair Leave-In
This works really well to detangle and smooth my hair while leaving it soft and manageable.
Restore: Perfecting Spray
I actually wanted to reorder this in a larger size, but I accidentally ordered the Repair Leave-In. I love this stuff. It leaves my hair silky without any indication of having used a product (i.e. oily). When I run out of the Leave-In, I’ll stock up on a big one of these.
No Frizz: Humidity Shield
I use this as often as I can tolerate because the smell actually bothers me. Or, maybe it’s the smell in combination with how it lingers in the air? Whatever it is, this makes me cough. However, in humid-as-hell Philly, this product does work on my fine hair.
PhD: Dry Shampoo
I just started using this and I have to say that it’s the best of the dry shampoos I have tried and I am a big dry shampoo fan. I usually use batisteB brand as a go to.
Maybe my hair was already on the mend on its own, but this brand of hair care products is making that journey significantly more enjoyable.
***I moved recently, so I apologize for my absence!***
On 8/20/17 I started my LEAP/MRT program. I am about to wrap up phase 2 and enter phase 3. I feel pretty awesome despite how tough it can be to hold off on beloved foods. I am keeping a few notes about questionable foods (raspberries, mustard, and beets) that I am unsure if the response was from external allergens or the food itself. I will retest those again later. I don’t care too much for any of them that I need them right now, anyway.
So, as I enter phase 3, I wanted to say that I would do this program again without a second thought. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it requires discipline and endurance. But, there is a real improvement and that’s all that matters to me.
Here’s what I can have beginning on 9/16/17:
Coconut 1.6 (9/16)
Turmeric 1.6 (9/17)
Garlic 1.4 (9/18)
Lemon 1.5 (9/19)
Salmon 1.7 (9/20)
Cashew 1.4 (9/21)
Walnut 1.6 (9/22)
Orange 1.6 (9/23)
Eggplant 1.5 (9/24)
Basil 1.4 (9/25)
Honeydew 1.4 (9/26)
Celery 1.4 (9/27)
Cabbage 1.6 (9/28)
Beef 1.7 (9/29)
I actually ordered these beginning with my favorites because last phase I did it based on level. It was terrible waiting to get to peanuts (I will eat an entire container of PB in a day if no one stops me).
Below are some of the foods/meals I had while on phase 2. You can check them all out on my instagram account.
Well, how about that nicotine experiment? Today marks 63 days (or, 2 months) using nicotine replacement therapy. On 10/5 I will have a procedure (flex sig) to determine how I am doing in terms of clinical healing. I am so nervous. I’ve also not told my GI just yet, so let’s keep this between us – haha!
Regarding how I feel in general? There are times I have forgotten to take my meds and had to circle back, terrified. Forgetting the canasa isn’t so much of a big deal, lately. However, forgetting the lialda and the GERD meds scares me. I’ve actually forgotten those both on 2 occasions now and simply took 2 lialda later in the day (too close to my next dose to take a full dose). Maybe it means I will be ready to be on the maintenance dose of lialda (2) instead of the 4 pills?!
Anyway, all that above just means that I feel great. I have forgotten that I have this terrible disease because on most days I feel wonderful. Of course, I still suffer from some secondary symptoms which I can’t totally fault UC for. I am wondering if some are related to the meds. For instance, I have severe dry eye in my right eye mostly. I have to use drops in the morning just to open them without feeling like I am ripping off my eyelid from my eyeball. They get a little red, also. My hair and skin are dryer than normal and I have an itch (that I attribute to the dryness). I do still suffer from occasional fatigue and body aches, but I am able to be active and actually get a real workout in (I’m a lifter). This is great considering I was in the hospital nearly 2.5 months ago wondering if I was dying (dramatic fall).
I’m still vaping, but I have arrived at a solid love for the 6mg dose. In my research, it’s estimated that my old preferred brand of smokes deliver about 2mg per smoke, with about a 90% absorption rate. If I use the vape like I would a cigarette, then at 6mg, I would estimate my absorption at about 1.8 to 2.5mg per 10 minute session. Unfortunately, you have to vape longer and harder than when smoking a real cigarette, but I am simply trying to mimic what I would have smoked in my previous life before the emergence of UC. I want to mention that I’ve been using 100% VG Organic Juice from ECBlendFlavors.com. Totally reasonable prices and I’ve had no issue with their juice. Check them out if you vape.
After struggling through phase 1 with only 2 proteins and 2 veggies (I ate a lot of bananas and pecans), I must say that it was well worth it. I have literally no bloating when I’m done a meal and I’ve lost about 3 to 4 lbs and can finally fit into a bridesmaid dress I need to wear in a month.
The first 3 to 6 days are brutal on phase 1. I actually felt worse for 4 days. On the 5th day everything changed. I felt absolutely wonderful for the first time. I’m not proud of this, but I forgot to take my meds because I felt so much like my old self!
I’m now 3 days into phase 2 and I’ve introduced clams and mushrooms. I’m preparing scallops and broiled cod tonight with fresh ginger and mushroom spinach. Tomorrow I will have some pickled beets!
I seriously feel wonderful. I hope this continues. Here’s the remaining list of phase 2 items I’ll be introducing over the next 15 days:
So many favorites coming back into my diet. Hoping they will get to stay!
Until next time, here’s some food I’ve been eating on the LEAP program:
It’s now been 33 days of nicotine replacement therapy use and 27 days off prednisone. I posted recently about the results of my 8/4 GI follow up, but to recap: they think I am close to remission and want to confirm via a sig scope in the next few months.
Since choosing to vape has been such a huge decision for me (as a former smoker), I have spent a good bit of time trying to ensure that I have made the best choice for myself. I figured I would share some key information that I found to ease my troubled conscience.
The first is a study found here:B Electronic cigarettes: review of use, content, safety, effects on smokers and potential for harm and benefit that concludes “Allowing EC to compete with cigarettes in the market-place might decrease smoking-related morbidity and mortality. Regulating EC as strictly as cigarettes, or even more strictly as some regulators propose, is not warranted on current evidence. Health professionals may consider advising smokers unable or unwilling to quit through other routes to switch to EC as a safer alternative to smoking and a possible pathway to complete cessation of nicotine use.” While I realize this study is based on assisting current smokers to quit, the findings are still positive for my purposes.
Vaping is substantially lower in toxins than smoking
Vaping can help people quit smoking
Vaping is not a gateway to smoking
Vaping is NOT as bad as smoking
While I feel some guilt about using nicotine to save my life treat my UC, I remind myself often that: had I been prescribed nicotine, I would not feel so poorly about it. And, when I remind myself about prescription medication that was suggested to me, I remember that I made the best choice out of those currently available. I hope to not have to make any tougher decisions down the road, but at least I know my options.
While I am here, let me shout out ECBlendFlavors.com real quick. I’ve been using their 100% VG organic vape juice. Totally affordable with a great selection and fast shipping. I just ordered 4 more flavors in a nice 5ml trial size. They have a custom flavor wizard as well. Give them some business!
I am patiently awaiting my full LEAP/MRT food sensitivity results booklet at the moment. Luckily, I am able to start avoiding the following foods that I’ve tested as highly reactive to:
So, how do I feel about this list? Well, I am overjoyed that bananas, eggs, honey, other nuts, seafood and shellfish, olives, coconut and many veggies are not on it. I feel like perhaps I can eventually get back to being pescetarian (or at least 90%).
What’s odd is that while I know I am likely testing highly reactive to some items that I have daily, there are others that I rarely or never knowingly ingest (pork, kamut, tilapia, sweet potato, leek, cane sugar, & mint). Those items that I have been eating daily are more likely truly “caution” foods that I may be able to rotate into the diet weekly later on, but they’ve built up from my bombarding my gut with them. Those are the carrots, zucchini, asparagus, apples, berries, and almonds. Cauliflower and I have never gotten along, so that wasn’t a shock to see. And, I hate corn.
I took the LEAP blood test on Wednesday of last week (07/26/17). Earlier that morning I had my IBD panels done through my GI doctor. My c-reactive protein (non-cardiac) came back in the normal range (3.1) and my vitamin D is up from 26 to 57 in just 2 months. All of my other test results were in the normal ranges. Such excellent news all around.
Oh, and I’m still doing well with my nicotine experiment and staying true to the specific carbohydrate diet. Life is good today.
The best way to predict the future is to create it. – Peter Drucker
I’m going to keep this one short as I am heading out tonight to the shore. I’ve been feeling pretty damn good in terms of symptoms. I am exactly one week off prednisone and was originally terrified as to what would happen to me once I came off.
In terms of the vaping itself, I have one minor complaint. Either from the alcohol or the high nicotine level, I have had some irritation in my mouth that caused canker sores and some swelling under my tongue. And, it’s painful. I’ve been rinsing my mouth and brushing more often and this seems to help. I did hear that this is actually common.
I thought that perhaps I’ve had a reaction to the alcohol in The Lazy Iguana and the In The Raw juices, so I tried the alcohol free e-gel. I suppose we shall see. I think my sweet spot is going to be 12mg. Unfortunately Kind Juice doesn’t currently make the e-gel in 12mg. Insert super sad face.
Know any organic, VG only, alcohol free suppliers? Comment below.
I’m continuing on my SCD journey and having fun with creating dishes that are both pretty and tasty. I feel pretty good overall – my focus at work is back, I feel more confident heading out and about, and I’ve yet to have any significant detours in my symptoms from the UC.
I think I’ll update at the 30 day mark unless something worthy of mentioning occurs. Until then…
Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible. – Frank Zappa
Here I am on day 5 of my nicotine experiment and I couldn’t wait to update my status. I feel great. And, most importantly, confident.
On days 1 through 3 I used the 7mg patch. As of yesterday, day 4, I moved on to the 14mg patch. I had a tiny bit of nausea today that went away within a half hour. This occurred around noon. The ravenous hunger from prednisone Satan’s tic-tacs? Immediately gone. The mood swings from prednisone Satan’s tic-tacs? Gone. The weird breakout under my left arm? Still here (thanks, pred).
In the meantime, I decided that I will switch to vaping as of Saturday the 22nd. It took a lot for me to make this decision as I had originally intended to use the patch only, but my decision is based on having more control of my dosage and cost effectiveness.
My plan, or hope, for all of this is:
Come completely off of prednisone successfully (22nd)
Get my LEAP/MRT food sensitivity testing (26th)
Stay on mesalamine (4.8gm oral + rectal)
Stay on the Specific Carbohydrate diet on a fanatic level
Combine my LEAP/MRT results with SCD
Gradually reduce my oral mesalamine dosage in approximately 6 months*
Reducing 1 pill every month*
Gradually reduce frequency of rectal mesalamine*
Every other day, every two days, etc*
Gradually reduce nicotine dosage*
18mg at the highest level, dropping by 3mg each month or so*
See if I can maintain remission solely on the Specific Carbohydrate diet and LEAP/MRT results*
Redo the LEAP/MRT blood work as needed
Our bodies change every so many years
*Pending inflammation test results and symptom status.
I will also be weaning myself off of PPI’s (Prilosec) as I have done in the past. This one is pretty tough to do, but I have a plan (of course). I am hoping that the food sensitivity panel will help my GERD as well as my dermographia, asthma (allergic), and generally horrible seasonal allergies. I’m trying to take out all of these MTHFRs!
Speaking of MTHFRs, I also sent in my 23andMe sample yesterday. This will show me if I have any of 3 specific genetic mutations related to GI issues and allow me to better guide my eating habits. I can’t wait to see!
I did a lot of research to find a vape juice I can use on SCD. Here is what I ended up with and I am excited to try it. They have a flavorless nicotine juice and use only VG: https://www.kindjuice.com/.B My boyfriend gave me an old mod he had, but I also purchased a smaller vape pen called the Rocket 3 from https://www.vaporfi.com/.