The road less traveled . . . 

I am symptom-free from severe Crohn’s disease since my surgery to remove a section of small and large bowel in 2006. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic and Dartmouth did not recommend my decision to go against their advice to take a cocktail of drug therapies for the rest of my life since the majority of patients relapse after surgery. They are nonetheless very pleased (and supportive!) with my naturopathic/holistic treatments that balance Western medicine tests and surgery with age-old herbal and natural remedies that have worked remarkably well. 

Instead of taking the recommended monthly infusion of Remicade (which would costs thousands of dollars per year), I have remained in remission by following a strict diet (Paleo), having monthly acupuncture treatments, going to my naturopath, taking herbal and mineral supplements, doing yoga and meditation and exercising daily, etc. 

This coming spring, I will celebrate my tenth anniversary on May 22, of healing from Crohn’s disease! Many of my readers know how much I struggled and how sick I was, back in 2006 when I was admitted to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center with a life-threatening bowel obstruction. 

Everyone is different, and each one of us has a unique microbiome that needs to be balanced not only on the gut level, but also in terms of diet and lifestyle, by taking supplements like probiotics and high-potency curcumin/turmeric, etc. (like I do) and working with a naturopathic doctor (ND) which is what our book recommends. Not everyone will be able to do this—some patients will have incredible results from taking the various class of drugs out there on the market today; other patients will want to embark on a journey to health that involves ancient practices of medicine (like acupuncture and Zen Shiatsu massage, Aureuvedic treatments, etc.) that requires a great deal of patience, and time to devote to changing ones life to accommodate the holistic approach I advocate.  

With the seasons changing from winter to spring here in Vermont, I am filled with hope that other Crohn’s/colitis//IBS/IBD/Celiac patients who follow this blog will not be deterred from their own path toward health and wellness. It is important to have hope when dealing with an autoimmune disease. 

This is the vicious cycle. When we feel pain from our physical debility, that pain amplifies our sense of hopelessness; the less hopeful we feel, the fewer endorphins and enkephalins and the more CCK we release. The more pain we experience due to these neurochemicals, the less able we are to feel hope.” 

― Jerome Groopman, The Anatomy of Hope: How People Prevail in the Face of Illness