So you’re interested in following my blog, but don’t want to read allll the old posts. I get that! To help you catch up quickly, here’s a briefer summary of the posts so far. (You may also want to read this explanation of my blogging style.)

Diagnosis, Meds, and Diet Experiments

In March 2014, I was diagnosed with ulcerative proctitis, a form of ulcerative colitis (UC). This is an autoimmune disease of unknown cause that strikes the colon. Main symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fatigue. Doctors tried me on several different meds, including prednisone. Nothing really worked. They assured me that diet would not do much for me, but in June 2014 I tried the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), a paleo-style diet designed to heal the gut. It helped a lot but did not bring on full remission, and gave me strange symptoms like metallic taste and energy crashes.

In August 2014, having still found no meds that worked, I switched to macrobiotics, a vegan diet with Japanese origins. It almost immediately helped even more. That same month, my husband Ron and I moved from Wisconsin to Portland, Oregon, my hometown. There I eventually found Dr. L, a good doctor who prescribed Apriso. It seemed to help a bit, too.

Probiotic Foods and Remission

Realizing part of my problem could be low gut bacteria diversity, in December 2014 I started eating sauerkraut. By January 2015, my symptoms were better than ever: I had most of my energy back and only a couple loose stools a day. But I was eating just a single “safety meal” of brown rice, red lentils or tofu, and kale three times a day, which was socially isolating. In spring 2015, I decided to carefully add meat, eggs, wheat, and more vegetables. My stools became somewhat looser, but my energy remained. That May, when a new test result confirmed my low gut bacteria diversity, I added kefir to my diet, and within 3 weeks, I had achieved my first full remission!

In August 2015, I started a full-time job, my first since colitis began. Ron’s and my lives felt more settled than in years. In October I had another flare-up of unknown cause, but within a few months got back into remission. This gave me confidence that I had “mastered” colitis.

Crisis

In spring 2016, I let my healthy habits slip away as I became entangled in my high-stress job. I also began therapy for chronic anxiety, which tends to make me a workaholic. That May another flare-up began, but this time I couldn’t get it under control. After 2 weeks of misery, I had a gum graft that involved a course of antibiotics and my symptoms worsened. By June, I was too sick and weak to work.