Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas From Bright Side

I try to keep this blog slanted toward a positive outlook, and try to give encouragement and hope to my readers. So let me share a little of my copious Christmas spirit with you today.

Christmas is my favourite holiday. By far. I love spending time with my family and friends. I love the lights and the music. I love the traditions like decorating the tree, putting up the Christmas village, and making chestnuts. Over all of these heart warming events is the general feeling that fills the people throughout the city. People give generously to fundraisers and charities. They wish you a Happy Holidays with genuine feeling. They smile more. There's a hint of what humanity could be, if we could figure out how to carry this good will in our hearts the whole year through.

I like giving gifts to people. I put a lot of thought into the gifts, and wrap them carefully. I'm always so excited to watch someone open a gift that I picked out. I also try to carry a few extra $5 bills in my wallet for the various charity collections around. Giving is just fun.

During the holidays I like to sit back sometimes and just become a quiet observer during the Christmas drama: the debates, arguments, jokes and laughter. While I sit quietly watching the whirlwind around me I remember how thankful I am to have such a supportive family. This year, I have an extra reason to be thankful. Just a few months ago I was in an agony of pain. I had just learned I have Crohn's Disease and was going through a surgery, a course of dreaded Prednisone, and more pain than I have ever experienced. But today, I'm feeling great. I can feel deep inside that things are still not 'right', but my pain is gone, my surgery wound is closed, and I can physically live my life as I choose. See, there is always hope!

Life is fleeting. For those with a chronic illness, we also know that periods of feeling well can also be fleeting. This fact only makes them more valuable, and underscores the need to make the most of what we are capable of doing right now. I know many of my readers are in pain at this very moment; but do you feel well enough to sit carefully on the couch and visit with family? Can you snuggle up with a hot-water-bottle and a loved one and watch a Christmas movie? Even if it is limited- the things that you can do now are precious and worth being thankful for.

The Holiday Season is exactly what you make it. So, this Christmas, I challenge you to ignore the materialism and stay in your budget, avoid family drama and just enjoy the presence of those you love. Remember your blessings, share what you can, and hug the most crotchety person in the room. Make your Christmas this year, the best one yet.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to You! Thank you for reading!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Specific Carbohydrate Diet: Facts

Ok, if you have Crohn's Disease, you can't avoid hearing about The Specific Carbohydrate Diet, mostly because the proponents of this diet are anything but quiet about it. I personally have strong feelings about this diet, but I've decided to post the facts, followed by my opinion and let you decide for yourself:

The Facts
  • "There's little scientific evidence to show whether it is truly effective or which patient population it helps."
  • "It's getting mixed reviews from both patients and physicians."
  • Some people are actually helped by this diet, and are vocal supporters. But the percentage of people it helps versus people it does not help is unknown.
  • There is the potential for nutritional deficiencies on this diet.
  • You should never stop current treatments and replace them with trying a new diet plan.
  • You should always consult your doctor and continue regular monitoring when trying a new diet plan.
Source: http://www.ccfa.org/about/news/scd

My Opinion
  • This blog receives frequent comment-spam and emails trying to blatantly push the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, as well as some that are vague and friendly, but if you follow their links or suggestions far enough it leads to SCD websites. This makes me suspicious. And annoyed. *
  • Different diet plans help or bother people differently. Two people with Crohn's Disease may have totally different food sensitivities. The SCD may in fact just happen to coincide with what helps some people. Just like my diet of no dairy, fibre, spice, acid, caffeine, or gassy vegetables helps me.
  • Keeping a food and symptom journal will help you determine foods that worsen or improve your symptoms. Take this journal to your doctor for help analyzing it.
So, to be clear, I do NOT recommend the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. I tend to be practical and if there's no science behind it, and the people running the websites for it have to resort to spamming blogs and forums to get recognition, then I just can't see it as credible. That being said, if you're curious about it or any other diet plan, or curious to study your own food tolerances, talking to your doctor should be priority number one.

Now, all you SCD fans out there, feel free to post your stories here, but DO NOT include links. Note that I will NOT publish SCD slanted comments in other posts on this blog, so you can stop spamming this blog already.

* Let the comment flaming begin. Note that I will NOT publish comments that contain SCD links. Period.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oh come on!

Really, sometimes I think the universe has a sick sense of humour. I finally start feeling better from the Crohn's madness of the last few months, only to be cursed with two flu/colds in a row. I'm back to huddling on the couch nursing a sore throat, fever and headache, at just the moment when I want to be living it up and appreciating the easing of my Crohn's symptoms. Outside my window is about 4 inches of freshly fallen snow, just begging me to come out and play in it. Yeah, yeah I'm not a kid, but I still love a walk in the woods after a fresh snowfall. I love how the snow pads the sound and makes everything quiet and muffled. My goal of 5,000 jumping jacks before Christmas is also much more difficult now. *sigh* However, I want to use this as an opportunity to remind my readers, and myself- that when you're feeling good- take advantage of it! Appreciate it! Get out and do something- anything! Because you never know when the next flare-up or even just the flu, is around the corner!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Woman with a Plan!

Well, this week I've been in agony of a terrible cold that has hit me like a ton of bricks. Just when I was starting to feel pretty good too! Arg! But... at least this will pass (hopefully soon), so in anticipation of that, I've been working on a plan. A get healthy plan. A take control of my life plan. I like to have a plan. I'm a list maker and a bit of a brainy nerd so this is my bread and butter. However, no matter who you are, taking a proactive approach to your life is hundreds of times better than just being a passive witness to your life, or being at the mercy of your circumstances.

I was reading Alicia's blog (I'd Like To Buy a Bowel) and I've been just utterly amazed and inspired by the fact that she's feeling great and doing all kinds of running and marathon training and... wow. That girl rocks. I was thinking that, when I have periods when I feel well, I don't want to just take them for granted and let them pass me by like I have in the past. I'm going on about 15 years now of on and off resolutions to get in shape. And this is it! While running is not an option right now (I'm looking out at 4 inches of snow on the ground) and I'm not really a fan of running, but I wanted something easy that I could do throughout the day and keep track of. So, December 1st I set myself a goal of doing 5,000 jumping jacks before Christmas. Now... when I set that goal I didn't have a cold, so it's now become more challenging. But basically I have to average 200 per day till Christmas. Since I've been sick, I now need to step up my game. However, the great thing is that I can do a few at a time in the morning, sneak them in the washroom at work, in the evening and spread it out so it's doable. I have a dry-erase marker keeping track of my progress on a big mirror by my front door. I'm currently at 700! Yeah, that's actually not so good, I'm behind, with only 18 days to go, I now need to average 240 per day! Yikes!

But anyway, this is just a fun little way of motivating myself and maybe others around me to join in. I hope to set a new goal for January. And the Christmas gift to myself will be to feel better, have more energy and to be proud of myself for sticking with it. With a chronic illness you have to make the absolute most out of the good days as you possibly can. We can do it!

Oh, and all this snow, Christmas lights, wrapping paper, music and more has got me in a festive mood! So, I just want to say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone! Get out there and give generously of yourself, and share as much joy, laughter, and friendship as you can!