Updated: Jan 23, 2019
May 12, 2017 | Jen Hartnett-Orser
So, yesterday marked 1 year since I took my last dose of Humira, the Biologic drug (and immunosuppressant) that I used to try and treat my Crohn’s Disease.
As you may recall (or can read all about in my prior blog posts!) I was having complications with infections due to my suppressed immune system. This led to 2 rounds of being on IV antibiotics for a prolonged period of time - 10+ days the first time, and I believe it was 27 days for round 2, which included a long weekend camping trip!!! (because that’s how I roll!)
I spent the day, ironically, hooked up to an IV! LOL But this time it was just a quickie - as I had an Endometrial Ablation, something that had to be put on hold at the onset of all this Crohn’s nonsense!!! The hope is, that this will help to end my Anemia once and for all, as well as take care of some rather unpleasant monthly shenanigans that had been happening! To know me is, well to know pretty much all of me, so no sense in starting to censor now!
With that being said, I want to take stock...assess just how the last year has gone, WITHOUT the assistance of Big Pharma (with the exception of my acid reducer...which will be the next to go!)
So - Crohn’s is pretty stable...I do have times of pain, and inflammation, but I am generally able to get this under control by using my oil-y tools!! Frankincense is my go-to for inflammation, and within a few days, it really does seem to get the pain under control. I have also been taking the DoTERRA LIFELONG VITALITY SUPPLEMENTS - LLV, as well as the PB Assist Probiotics and GX Assist, which contains Caprylic Acid, and this has also been a game changer for me!!!
Please let me be clear that I am not suggesting that you ditch your pharmaceuticals, at least not without discussing it with your Doc! What I AM doing is sharing what’s worked for me, with the understanding that the drugs WERE NOT assisting my quality of life, and were, in fact, making it pretty damn miserable!!!
Now, if I wanted to play it safe, I could skip over this next part, but what the hell is the point of a blog if not to be transparent! Especially about health matters!!! Let’s talk Medical Marijuana for a minute. I’d always wondered if this was something that could be a viable alternative to pharmaceuticals….keep in mind that I had been prescribed Percocets, but refused to take them, instead was taking 10-12-and sometimes 16 Extra Strength Acetaminophen PER DAY just to cope with the pain. (this was for 2 years preceding the year on Humira AS WELL as many times throughout that year) Talk about Liver Damage!!! Pot was something I’d dabbled with in my youth, and I AM a supporter of decriminalization/legislation. Yes, it’s a generalization, but I think that alcohol causes FAR more heartache than Pot ever will. Imagine a world where bar fights are replaced by a friendly group of chums, on an insatiable and cooperative hunt for some Cheetos?!?! Not to mention the INSANE rise of Opiate addiction in our society...my little hometown has THREE Methadone clinics!!!!!!! THREE!!! In a town of 80,000 people!!!!!! THIS was a huge factor in me not wanting anything to do with the Opiate based drugs, even though I was often in extreme pain. So, I looked into the world of Medical Marijuana in Canada, and found that I was able to consult with a specialized doctor, and obtain a prescription (My GI Doc was not opposed, but also not versed in any of the treatment/dosage - so encouraged me to seek out a doc that could help, and give it a try) I learned quite a bit in this process, with the best piece of info being that you can find a product called CBD oil, which doesn’t contain THC, (that’s the stuff that creates the ‘high’ feeling’ or ‘psychoactive’ effect) and can be ingested, rather than ‘smoked’ in the traditional method. CBD oil is incredible for inflammation, pain, and muscle spasms!!! I opted for a 1 month trial of this, and was blown away by the results! I felt little to no ‘effect’ from the oil, which I exclusively took in the evening (and even though I felt no ‘effects’ I still would not drive, after taking this) After consistently taking this for 3 weeks, I noticed a remarkable difference in the level of inflammation/pain that I was experiencing! (I was in the throes of a ‘Flare’ when I started taking it) CBD for the WIN! I’ve also noted a remarkable difference in my sleep patterns...not just when I was using the oil, but after the trial was finished as well! Almost like I re-trained my brain to sleep again! And yes, I can also access other strains, with THC for pain, when/if that becomes a problem for me. Honestly, I did have reservations about this in the beginning, but now? None whatsoever! Having spent my fair share of time in the ER, and in speaking with those who work there for a living, I can tell you that both Alcohol, and Narcotic pain meds are an incredibly pervasive problem facing us these days, and I am so grateful to have tools to support myself that DON’T have me running to a pill bottle for something that can cause addiction, and devastation. NO more Narcotics/Opiates for me! #Winning
So, to recap...Oil, both kinds are helping me out quite a bit….but me not being one to leave stones unturned, I also embarked on an Elimination diet journey with my young person (see prior blog for details) and while I’ve noticed remarkable changes in my skin (Wheat + Dairy = Breakout city!) I have NOT noticed much impact on my digestive system! Which was kind of a real relief for me, because I would have been extremely disappointed in myself if this was something that was a major factor, that could have been corrected years ago, if I’d had a little more willpower to try harder at my first few (failed) attempts at elimination diets! A HUGE thank you to Dr. Ashley Cassan ND for not only INSISTING that I try this, but also for being patient when it took me 2 years to actually come around to it! I will also admit that I abused Sweet Potato Chips as a crutch for the duration of this diet!
Of everything I’ve learned this year, here is some of the key points…. LAUGH...you’ve gotta be able to laugh. Find humour in the hard times, whenever possible…. LEARN….find out as much as you can about your condition/situation, possible treatments, and alternatives, and be open to trying new things….maybe things you’d previously ruled out...to see if you can find relief! KEEP TRYING new things!!! DO NOT SETTLE for the status quo! If I had, I’d be hanging out on Cancer causing drugs, with a side of Opiates! Instead...I’m sitting here, typing this fine blog for you fine people!!!!! LOVE….I’ve gotten through ALL of this shiz with a huge helping of LOVE...from my wonderful hubby and kids, from my Parents and In-Laws who are always checking in, and sending love, to my incredible friends...those who put up with some whining, who have helped me to change IV bags, work wives who listened to me cry when i was so damn frustrated I couldn’t help it, those who sat in traffic jams with bleeping IV pumps, and Chewbacca videos!!!
One of my Biz activities is determining my ‘Why for the World’ and while this is always evolving, one that stays with me is this:
“To Empower people to become fierce and effective advocates for, and ambassadors of their own health, wellness, wealth and happiness!
And in order to model this for others, I have to walk it out in my own life!!! At times, when it feels like I’m going it alone, I know that all I need to do is reach out, and I am supported! My hope is that everyone can share in this same network of support, and continue to find safer, more natural ways to support themselves, and each other!
Honestly...I couldn’t be happier about the direction my health is headed! Stay tuned for my next adventure!!!
2017 is all about proactive, productive, and POSITIVE!!! Who’s with me!?!?!