Getting threatened by doctors and told you’re sick forever is no way to start your 20’s. Lindsey bravely shares her colonoscopy pictures, story and insights behind her battle with Ulcerative Colitis.
Sharing your story with the world is extremely scary, but at the same time very empowering. Being willing to live your life in front of others and to share your “secrets,” victories and failures is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. I’m slowly learning that the more raw and open we can be about our own lives, the more people will be helped.
I’m so proud of Lindsey for doing her own thing and figuring out Ulcerative Colitis. And at the same time, I’m also in awe of her willingness to step up and share her story and the pictures that many so desperately want to see.
We live in a time where medications are a quick fix to everything. This is all I have ever known when it comes to curing illnesses. Our health has been merely blinded by a prescription bottle, and we seem to forget Hippocrates’ old saying, “Let thy food be thy medicine.” What we put in our mouth has been the last thing we think of when a new health diagnoses arises in our life. Could we really dig deeper to find the underlying triggers that are wreaking havoc on our bodies, or are the higher rates of illnesses just something we are predisposed for? I’m on my own journey to find out.
Although I’m only 22, I have been in and out of the doctor’s offices my whole life with one problem after the next. Just like anyone else I was quick to take what the doctor prescribed and go about my day. Most of my illnesses have been linked to digestive issues; those closest to me became immune to hearing me complain of stomach pain. At 19, I underwent surgery to have my gallbladder removed. After the surgery I resumed all my normal eating patterns and unfortunately stomach pains were still a day-to-day thing for me. Had I been more open-minded on how foods affected me I could have possibly prevented this surgery, though.
I Was a Bread Junkie; I’ll Be the First One to Admit it
Bread was all I craved. My other go to foods were anything boxed, frozen and processed. My weight was at an all time high and my health was no good. Even when I went on fad diets, I ate lots of whole-wheat foods and yogurt thinking this was just what my body needed. Stomachaches became so frequent that I thought nothing of them anymore. I thought it was normal to feel bloated after eating a meal. So I continued on with my low fat diet with loads of grains, dairy and the infamous “lean cuisine” boxed frozen meals.
Just After Turning 22, I Began to Notice Blood in My Stool
I was very worried at first, but tried to shrug it off in hopes it was just a minor tear of some sort. The bleeding continued for weeks and I was running to the bathroom 30 plus times a day. Of course, this left me feeling very sick and extremely dehydrated. It took every ounce of my remaining energy to get to the ER to be examined. Following a couple days in the hospital and ruling out a bacterial infection, the doctor diagnosed me with Ulcerative Colitis. “Oh joy,” I thought to myself. “Just another illness to add to my book of life.”
“I was put on prednisone to help with the immediate inflammation.”
It wasn’t until the doctor came in and told me how the rest of my life would be that reality sank in. I was to take 3 pills a day to prevent flare-ups FOREVER! In my mind, this whole idea seemed a bit intense, not to mention the nasty side effects I would probably experience.
“I politely took his prescription, but never filled it.”
I spent the next few weeks with my nose in the computer researching anything I could that would help the pain. I came close to giving up and taking the drugs a few times, but I remained persistent. Finally, after countless hours I found Adam Farrah’s blog on Ulcerative Colitis and the Paleo Diet. He was talking about an all around clean eating approach.
Could I Really Go Cold Turkey and Start Eating Like a Caveman?
For my entire life, I had been so addicted to breads, cheeses, and processed crap in general. Now he’s saying no grains, no dairy, no legumes, and no refined sugar!
“Oh boy,” I thought, but I was sick, in pain and needed help fast.
Within three days of following the Paleo Diet, I experienced a dramatic change! What I was putting in my mouth was actually curing me and not just masking my symptoms. The bleeding was gone, urges for the bathroom were less frequent, and bouts of diarrhea were minimized nearly overnight! I really couldn’t believe it. I took the Paleo Diet pretty seriously and let my Gastroenterologist know I would be taking a natural approach to healing my Ulcerative Colitis. Of course, he thought I was crazy and tried to convince me food had no correlation with my disease.
“He then proceeded to try to scare me into taking the drugs, and told me I could potentially get colon cancer if I didn’t. I left in tears and immediately sought out a new doctor.”
Thankfully, I regained a little hope after the first visit with my new GI doctor. He was actually open to letting me experiment with how foods affected my body and didn’t rule out the possibility that they were causing my illness. At his request, I scheduled a colonoscopy for later in the year just to insure things were not getting any worse. Then, I chose to change my lifestyle and created all new eating habits. Once again, I never had felt better in my life.
This October, I had my second colonoscopy since being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. Upon waking after the procedure, I frantically asked to see the picture of my colon to compare. It came back NORMAL! The difference between the pictures was amazing; it was like looking at two totally different colons.
There Was No Redness, No Inflammation, and No Ulcers!
I was in tears, because this was probably one of the proudest moments of my life. I was able to see, firsthand, how the food I was putting into my mouth directly lead to changes in my body. I have to say my health is now at an all time high!
The Paleo Diet has been one of the most positive changes I have made in my life. At first, the thought of following this diet can seem very overwhelming, but over time you learn and keep building upon knowledge. The facts are there and this diet has improved countless lives. I kept it pretty simple until I got the hang of things. I started out eating meats, fruits, lots of veggies and nuts. I probably had an avocado and sweet potato every day. When I’m in need for something sweet, I’ll make Paleo treats of some kind. Cooking became a new hobby for me, and coming up with new Paleo recipes always kept me interested. (If you are willing to do the searching, the Internet offers an endless supply of recipes!)
As time passed, I focused more on the quality of the foods I was eating, though. I tried to lean more towards grass-fed meats and fresh organic produce from farmers’ markets. I learned that it’s all about how certain foods make your body feel. Occasionally, I will have some dairy including grass-fed butter and goat cheese (causes no stomach pain). On top of following the Paleo Diet I also have been taking a probiotic, VSL #3, to promote good bacteria in my gut.
“The dietary changes I have implemented have stopped the progression of this disease and have helped me to feel my best ever.”
I think that most people really just don’t understand the damage they’re doing by what they’re consuming. Unfortunately, much of our society has become lazy, and overly reliant upon the convenience of boxed, processed and fast foods. Most people don’t even think twice about where their food is even coming from! I have been fortunate to see, first-hand, the damage that I did to my body and I never want to do it that kind of harm again. Clean eating has become my medication. Getting familiar with all ingredients I was eating as well as avoiding genetically modified foods were variables that surely contributed to healing my colon.
I want to help as many people as possible overcome the hardships of these nasty diseases and to be able to see the light at the end the tunnel. It takes discipline and a whole new mindset, but over time you really come to embrace it. It’s a beautiful lifestyle that I know can benefit the lives of so many.
Hoping for the best health to you all,
Thank you Lindsey for being so brave, for sharing what others are afraid of, and for being a leader. If you are ready to get started creating a new level of health, then I encourage you to get started with a real food diet like what Lindsey did. The fastest way to get started is to get the tips, tricks and meal plans in our eBook.
Get your copy of Surviving to Thriving here.
And in the meantime leave a comment below on how this story impacted you.