Seven months later, they found it. They identified three inches of inflammation in the area where the small and large intestine attach (the illium) they called it Crohns disease and Illitis. Phew..they figured it out! At that moment, I was “labeled” with a diagnosis. Hopefully, this meant a solution. But no… their solution was 16 steroid pills per day – Drugs and more drugs! NO nutritional counseling, NO stress counseling. So, I took the 16 pills for one month – then I called the doctor and told him I felt awful and I’m not taking any more drugs. I felt worse then before and at this time I had a very active 9 month old. This isn’t how I pictured my first year of motherhood.
My doctor explained my new path would include drugs – bowel cancer in 10 years – surgery and a possible colostomy bag. At this time I was 27 years old, one of the youngest patients the doctor had seen with this diagnosis. So I had begun my family and he had me buried! I found myself feeling very sad and depressed for a week.
Then one day, I declared that I wanted another path for myself. This was NOT my destiny. This was 1994, there weren’t any “gluten free” products, no paleo books, no GOOGLE. I was on my own. Luckily, I had and still have the undying support of my husband. My battle was his battle. So I had stopped the drugs, threw away most of the food in the house and started preparing everything from scratch. I started by grounding up almonds (I made my own almond flour and meal) and this became the base of everything I cooked. You have to understand, I didn’t do this because I had free time. I had a baby AND a FULL TIME job. I did this because I’m a survivor and wasn’t accepting the label – death sentence or the bag! For those of you who know me, you know I’m pretty vain about wearing fitted clothing on my waist – so there was no room for a colostomy bag … haha! Also, I’m pretty stubborn once I put my mind to something. I was not giving my daughter the destiny of having a sick mother and we actually wanted to try having another baby! It was time to get healthy!
So for years, Grey and I explored lots of different ways of eating. I was on a rollercoaster ride for years. When we traveled, I didn’t eat so that I wouldn’t have to worry about the airplane bathroom. I had bathrooms scoped out everywhere we went. When mom said, “I have to go to the bathroom”, everything stopped, whether we were at the mall or Disneyland. They waited patiently until I was done, whether it was 5 minutes or an hour. At this time, we had 2 children.
In 1996, we had our son Jake (by the way..my 2nd pregnancy was extremely painful as the baby put constant pressure on my inflamed intestines – he was a big baby). I actually had a flareup during delivery which hurt more then the actual delivery contractions. (for those of you who have chrons, colitis etc…you know how those cramps and flare ups feel like you are giving birth- they take your breath away and bring you to your knees).I’m sharing these details because I know there are many people who suffer QUIETLY with intestinal and stomach issues, whether it’s Crohns, Colitis, Diarrhea, constipation etc – I want you to know that I understand.
It took around 10 years of exploring different eating to discover what foods flared me up and what doesn’t. And the huge realization that stress was worse then any food item!
I’m happy to report that after 24 years I’ve found a wonderful formula of food/nutrition, supplements, exercise, hormone balance and stress management that keeps me in “remission”. Now, I won’t lie – once in a while, I have a flareup and I do a log immediately to identify what caused it so I can avoid it. But, I’m not scoping out the bathrooms the moment I walk into a new area.
5 years ago, my bloodwork showed I was anemic. My gynecologist (who delivered both my kids) insisted that I get a colonoscopy to rule out an intestinal bleed. I did the colonoscopy and my GI doctor (who had to dig my file out of storage) was amazed that I wasn’t worse and didn’t have cancer ( he insisted that after 10 years I was 99% candidate for rectal and/or bowel cancer – so much so that my life insurance has me on the highest mortality rate. If you looked at me you would never guess how high my premiums are! I refuse to be labeled with anything but as a healthy female). Amazingly, he never asked me what I was doing to be so healthy! He simply offered the “newest miracle drug” (Yes, you’ve seen it – the one on TV that claims to manage Chrons disease –but could cause sudden death, cancer, problems breathing, heart disease…just to list a few) Hmm…. NO Thanks! I’ll continue to manage things on my own!
I appreciate you taking the time to read my story. You should know – I’m a really private person and I usually never share any of these details, but over the years of helping people I realize the importance in sharing my experience so others can have hope and know that I understand. Until you’ve had a “bathroom emergency” or “accident” or crippling pain – it’s hard to understand.
I’m here now – 27 years later – HEALTHIER NOW than ever. I follow the program that I teach – proper nutrition, exercise, hormone balance, daily supplements and daily stress management. My bloodwork looks awesome. My blood sugar is balanced, thyroid, cholesterol, iron, inflammation – all look good! I believe that my Chrons disease has been a gift, as it has blessed me with the opportunity to help others who need guidance, and help those who have lost hope. I wish that I had someone 27 years ago to guide me – so it is my personal passion to guide you and inspire and empower action towards regaining your health naturally. With patience and perseverance, we have a path for you.
I know what you are going through – I understand the fears and am here to tell you that there is HOPE. You don’t have to suffer alone! We are here to help guide you to optimum health you deserve! As the Clinic Director and co-founder of Thrive Functional Wellness Center & Holistic Health Coach, I work hard everyday to ensure that everyone has an amazing experience in our office and successfully applies the education they learn in our program.
Click here for a list of our free upcoming educational seminars, or click here to contact us directly. We are here for you!
In Great Health,
Lorrie Rappe, FMCHC