January 23, 2017

Crohn’s Disease Diagnosis – Where to Go From Here

By Leslie Prins

Taking a phone call from my new doctor in the middle of a Famous Dave’s parking lot wasn’t exactly how I imagined I would be finding out about my new health challenge.

The “diagnosis” of Crohn’s disease spoken over the speaker phone (so my mom could hear it, too) hit me like a ton of bricks.

I didn’t even really know what it meant, how I got it, and where we were going to go from here.  This began my journey in to the world of medical doctors, colonoscopies, drug trials, drug reactions, expensive medical bills and a lot of internet time.

Crohn’s Benchmark Symptoms

I was going in to my senior year of college. Bright-eyed and ready to take on the world, a CHRONIC DISEASE wasn’t something I had time for.

I set my appointments with my doctor and followed his lead. The only real research I did was to try to figure out why I got this. I found it was common in Type A, high stress personalities (at least that’s all I remember relating to), and I figured I was just going to have to live with this new label.

My only real symptoms were some blood and tissue in my stool (which didn’t seem like that big of a deal at the time) and some pain in my abdomen.  Almost everyone I knew had some form of what I now know as Irritable Bowel and it didn’t seem that weird.  Not to mention that I wasn’t really living a healthy lifestyle in college. Out late, eating fast food, but making sure to get some workouts in! Ha!

I listened to what I was told. I heard the horror stories of colostomy bags, people who couldn’t have children, people who weren’t absorbing nutrients and started to wither away. I was convinced that we needed to find the right medications to make this disease calm down.

Steroids, infusions, new pills, a drug reaction and a clinical study later, I seemed to feel fine. Humira seemed to be the drug of choice to help my symptoms and I was okay with taking the expensive shots every 2 weeks. After all, that’s what my doctor had told me to do and it was working. Life seemed to be okay.

That was until I became a first time mother….

Crohn’s Complications

After 2 very close miscarriages shortly after I was married, I became pregnant again for the third time in 5 months (not doctor recommended!). I was nervous and determined to hold on to this little blessing and begin doing the online searching for reasons why people miscarry, what things are safe during pregnancy, etc.

This led me to the world of preventative medicine and natural remedies. My eyes were opened to the side-effects of what I had thought was always needed: prescription drugs. For the health of my own child’s immune system, I found out about balancing hormones naturally and other precautionary measures.

As I began to do some research in to the drug I was using, I questioned my doctor about the long-term studies showing its safety during pregnancy. There were none!  There was nothing to show the long-term effect of Humira on my child or myself, though the pharmaceutical company claimed it was safe.  However, it was recommended that I only take the drug up to the 3rd tri-mester of pregnancy and then stop it until post delivery, but otherwise it was “safe.”

A few years prior to being pregnant, I would have just trusted and went along with the doctors orders. Who knows…. my beautiful boy Jude and I may have been just fine. But, the so called “safe” plan to stop before delivering concerned me. After the scare of miscarriage and not trusting anything I previously believed, I decided to stop taking my medicine (not doctor recommended) a little sooner that he had wanted.

After about 2 weeks post delivery, I started to have Crohn’s-like symptoms again and was an emotional wreck.

  • leslie and jude
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    Was I to start my medicine again with no valid research on the long-term effect of what this might to do my breastfed child?
  • Or do I stop breastfeeding to get myself healthy and give my baby formula?

I remember crying for weeks trying to make the final decision. Meanwhile, I was in pain and exhausted.  I had limited information on options for mothers who couldn’t breastfeed and I decided I was not comfortable putting the drug into my babies body through nursing, and so I opted for formula.

Slowly I continued to learn more about natural health and things to do to increase my immune system. I tried juicing and fasting. I added in probiotics and other natural products to heal my gut. I spent hours on the discussion boards learning from others who were battling chronic autoimmune disease and what was working for them.  I learned about people who had been healed by the power of Jesus and prayed for that same healing for me. I believed it could happen. I had seen it happen. And I was ready for it to happen for me.

Victory with Crohn’s

I met with a naturopath friend, Amanda Box (she is also the Naturopath in residence for Home Cures That Work!), and she gave me some recommendations for improving my health. Over the course of a few months I had been feeling the promptings from whom I believe was the Holy Spirit, to talk to my doctor about natural remedies and the possibility of stopping my medications.

He did not believe I could be healed. Why? Because there were no drugs to heal people with Crohn’s disease. There was simply no cure in his expert advice. To his defense, he just had never seen anyone healed. I asked him about natural remedies… and he didn’t know of any. This concerned me. He was a great man, but like I had thought my whole life, he believed medicine was only found in the pharmaceutical isle. Natural options just weren’t worth looking into.

So… I met with prayer warriors and decided to stop my medicine cold turkey, knowing that if my disease became active again, the one medicine that worked for me may not be able to help me again.  I didn’t really tell many people that I was going to stop. I just did. And I never looked back. I had the faith of a mustard seed and I was going for it!

Incorporating probiotics into my daily schedule really helped me.  I had read about Jordan Rubin who had cured himself of Crohn’s disease by going back to the biblical way of eating. His victorious story really inspired me.

As I started learning more about healthy and whole foods, my body even began to change.  It was healing itself.  I had my second baby without ever needing any prescription drugs for Crohn’s during the pregnancy and haven’t needed any since. I nursed my baby for 12 months and was never on prescription medications. I felt wonderful. I felt empowered. I felt like my health was in my control; I just needed to take the time to figure it out and do some research on my own.

It has been a journey. One that I wouldn’t wish on anyone else. But I have learned a lot about my body, my strength, and that we are ultimately in control of our life and the way we want to live it!

Tips for your own journey to healing:

Medicine can be good. It can help. It can be used short-term. But, it never solves the problem of your illness. It masks it. You have to get to core of what’s wrong with your body, feed and fuel it properly, the way God designed it to run. We were not created to be sick and unhealthy. We were created to live life to the fullest and to fulfill our God-given destiny.

Take control of your own health. Dig in. Do the research. Meet with naturalist friends, health enthusiasts, Naturopaths and alternative doctors and start looking for natural remedies that heal.

Your body will thank you… and so will your bank account.

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Leslie Birthday 10_13
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Climbing hurdles, juggling time constraints, and keeping everyone on task at Barton Publishing really is not much different than being at Leslie’s home any given evening during the week. With two young children, Leslie is used to keeping things running (literally)! She and her husband Tyler currently reside near Sioux Falls, SD with their children, Jude and Selah. Leslie enjoys learning & reading, and has an interest in food, fitness, and healing.

 

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