LEAP Diet Phase 3 & Nicotine (NRT 2 mos)

***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.

On my 5-day nicotine update post, I made a little plan. I want to revisit that now that I am 2 months into my experiment.

  1. Come completely off of prednisone successfully (22nd) b
  2. Get my LEAP/MRT food sensitivity testing (26th) b
  3. Stay on mesalamine (4.8gm oral + rectal) b
  4. Stay on the Specific Carbohydrate diet on a fanatic level b
  5. Combine my LEAP/MRT results with SCD b
  6. Gradually reduce my oral mesalamine dosage in approximately 6 months*
    • Reducing 1 pill every month* UPDATE: Maintenance level is 2 pills
  7. Gradually reduce frequency of rectal mesalamine*
    • Every other day, every two days, etc*
  8. Gradually reduce nicotine dosage* UPDATE: This is after about 5 years
      • 18mg at the highest level, dropping by 3mg each month or so* UPDATE:
        I’m digging the 6mg

     

  9. See if I can maintain remission solely on the Specific Carbohydrate diet and LEAP/MRT results*
  10. Redo the LEAP/MRT blood work as needed
    • Our bodies change every so many years

That’s all for now, folks. Thanks for reading. I’ll be in touch more now that I have gotten myself situated at the new place!


Nicotine Self-Study (Day 33)

I’m a real rebel with a cause. – Nina Simone

 

 

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.

Additionally, I found this lovely article:B 9 research studies to silence the vape haters.B Here are the 9 points of interest which the article lists studies to support:

  1. Secondhand vapor is not dangerous
  2. Vaping can improve lung function for smokers
  3. Nicotine alone is not powerfully addictive
  4. E-cigarettes are not full of formaldehyde
  5. Sweet vape flavors are not aimed at children
  6. Vaping is substantially lower in toxins than smoking
  7. Vaping can help people quit smoking
  8. Vaping is not a gateway to smoking
  9. Vaping is NOT as bad as smoking

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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!

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Nicotine Self-Study (Day 5)

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:

  1. Come completely off of prednisone successfully (22nd)
  2. Get my LEAP/MRT food sensitivity testing (26th)
  3. Stay on mesalamine (4.8gm oral + rectal)
  4. Stay on the Specific Carbohydrate diet on a fanatic level
  5. Combine my LEAP/MRT results with SCD
  6. Gradually reduce my oral mesalamine dosage in approximately 6 months*
    • Reducing 1 pill every month*
  7. Gradually reduce frequency of rectal mesalamine*
    • Every other day, every two days, etc*
  8. Gradually reduce nicotine dosage*
    • 18mg at the highest level, dropping by 3mg each month or so*
  9. See if I can maintain remission solely on the Specific Carbohydrate diet and LEAP/MRT results*
  10. 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!

nicday5.png

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/.

Wish me luck. I need it!

nicday5x.png


Nicotine Replacement Therapy for UC

After much thought, I decided to try Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to supplement my current diet, medication, and holistic treatment plan. Here is how I arrived at this decision:

  • I was diagnosed at the end of January 2017. In April, my symptoms worsened and my disease worsened. This was confirmed when oral mesalamine worked immediately. Sadly it only lasted 3 weeks. In May, I spiraled into another flare much like the April experience. Both times during the week of my ovulation (I am taking oral contraceptives). I ended up in the hospital for 4 days and left on 40mg prednisone tapering by 5mg each week until July 22nd.
  • I’m a little worried about what will happen when the taper ends and I am trying to hold off on the biologics (Remicade) that my doctor believes I need to be on until if and when it truly is my last resort. I’m doing strict SCD and will combine it with the LEAP/MRT food sensitivity results to target and avoid foods that may be causing inflammatory reactions in my body. B For now, I am avoiding nightshades and high histamine foods until I have a better idea of what is going on.
  • My diet before diagnosis was one of the healthiest options in existence. I was pescetarian and following an otherwise Mediterranean style diet under the guidance of a dietitian. I barely ate any complex carbs or grains and my sugar consumption was nearly nonexistent. This tells me that something else is going on behind the scenes and I won’t be shocked if the blood work shows that I have sensitivities to many foods considered “healthy.”
  • I was a smoker from the age of 14 to the age of 30. In my early 20’s I started to think I had IBS. I always said I had a weak stomach and would avoid spicy foods and other items I noticed bothered me. I took a probiotic by Jarrow Formulas called L. Plantarum and it pretty much fixed whatever issues I thought I had. So, I carried on.
  • In August of 2016, I started having minor symptoms that we blamed on my heavy lifting regimen at the gym. I was told to lay off heavy, weight-bearing workouts. In December, more (scary) symptoms emerged and I could no longer accept that this was from exercising. I requested a colonoscopy. (At this appointment I told the doctor that, given my medical history and current symptoms, I believed I had IBD – specifically ulcerative colitis. He said he thought I had IBS. I disagreed, but said I hoped he’d be correct. Guess we know how that turned out).
  • Research shows a positive correlation between nicotine (or cigarette use) and ulcerative colitis symptom control and even remission.
    • Preliminary, uncontrolled observations employing nicotine gum, a pharmaceutical form generally poorly tolerated, yielded encouraging but inconclusive results. The introduction of trans-dermal nicotine in the market made it possible to assess the potential therapeutic role of nicotine in a more extensive way. Access the study here.
    • Nicotine is not yet considered to be a carcinogen and may, in fact, have therapeutic potential as a neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory agent. Access the study here.
    • Because most current smokers with UC have inactive disease, smoking may contribute to the clinical remission in these patients.B Access the study here.
    • Low-dose smoking resumption in refractory UC patients who are ex-smokers may ameliorate signs and symptoms of inflammation and have a safety profile that is at least comparable with long term corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, and biologics. This approach represents an unconventional therapeutic intervention that seems suitable only for a specific subgroup of patients.B Access the study here.
  • I also stumbled upon a few personal testimonials of individuals who have attempted this somewhat successfully and others who weren’t successful. I won’t be listing those here as they are relatively easily found online.

So, what do I really have to lose by slapping on a little nicotine patch as a personal self-study for a bit? Nothing, honestly.

In fact, if it works, I get to avoid all kinds of fun and exciting side effects from taking Remicade. See list below.B Click here for the full list and source.

The following serious (sometimes fatal) side effects have been reported:

  • Infections (like TB, blood infections, pneumonia)b fever, tiredness, cough, flu, or warm, red or painful skin or any open sores
  • Lymphoma, or any other cancers
  • Skin cancer
  • Heart failure
  • Reactivation of HBV
  • Liver injury
  • Blood disorders
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Allergic reactions during or after the infusion
  • Lupus-like syndrome
  • Psoriasis
  • The more common side effects are respiratory infections (that may include sinus infections and sore throat), headache, rash, coughing and stomach pain

In comparison, here are the possible side effects from theB nicotine patches (I am usingB Habitrol brand):

  • AB skin rashB at the location of the patch
  • SleepB problems when using a 24-hour patch, such as havingB trouble sleepingB or having especially vividB dreams
  • All forms of nicotine replacement have side effects, but the types of side effects differ across NRTs
  • Very few people (less than 5%) have to stop using a nicotine replacement product because of side effects
  • It is possible for a person to become dependent on a nicotine replacement product, although this is rare

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Eh, I’m going to take my chances for bit. I’ll be updating as I go along. Wish me luck! (Seriously, do you see those biologics side effects?!)