Transformation, Supplements and Protein shakes

The Run Up To Surgery! Part 1

Exercise and DietWeek 1

My main goal over the next few weeks is to do everything in my power to be as healthy as possible in both body and mind. As Crazy as it sounds, I want to prepare myself now to be in the best possible position for surgery and recovery. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not about to start doing 5k runs everyday and wrapping myself in clingfilm to avoid contamination from Covid-19. I don’t actually leave my flat anyway, to be safe! You know us autoimmune disease sufferers, we tend to get sick quick!

So how am I going to do it! I should probably mention at this point that I have not been instructed to do this by a consultant or doctor, I just kind of think its common sense, but I suppose I will let you lot be the judge of that. As the surgery I am having will be open surgery, I have come to the conclusion that there will be substantial damage in the abdominal muscles, which will take a long time to recover. So part 1 of the plan is to exercise my core muscles as much as possible before the surgery, building strength in my abdominal’s, obliques and lower back.

The method in the madness. My theory is, once the surgery has taken place, my body will utilise the surrounding muscles to help steady my torso and ease the pressure off my abdominal wall. This will help me in recovery as I believe it will help reduce the risk of a hernia around the wound or stoma site. A second benefit from training my core before the surgery is it builds new vascularity. Meaning more nutrient rich blood will be located in the area, which will promote healing.

Okay, so I know what your thinking! That sounded like he has done his homework or more likely, what is this guy talking about! Like I said, I haven’t really got a clue what I am doing but this preparation kind of helps me steady my mind. I suppose following this kind of plan allows me to feel like I have some form of control over the surgery and the outcome. What are your thoughts?

Anyway, Part 2 of the plan. We all know that we are more susceptible to getting ill and being tired and drained due to lack of nutrition or vitamin uptake in our digestive system. As I am currently on steroids and not flaring, I feel as though I am in a good place to boost my vitamin levels. So, I have started creating a daily smoothie. This smoothie includes a few different things for different reasons.

Super clean, protein, vitamin boosting smoothie recipe!

  • 6 Ice cubes – To make it cold (obviously)
  • 200g Greek yogurt – provides 20g protein, low in Lactose
  • 5 medium Strawberries – High in Vitamin C
  • 1 Banana – Calories, Potassium
  • 1 scoop of Collagen Peptides
  • 1 Scoop of Super Greens
  • Oats can be added for extra calories

The main additions here are the collagen and super greens. The collagen has been added because studies has shown that this protein is responsible for skin health and can promote healing. Which I am thinking will help in post op recovery. Also, for those who get acne from Steroids, this is perfect for getting rid! The super greens are high in micro-nutrients to support a healthy immune system and it has a source of Iron to promote blood health. The brand I use includes a few different roots that support the body in other ways as well, by providing Vitamin C, Calcium and has anti-inflammatory properties. Perfect for Joint health.

There you have it, my plan. I would be really grateful for thoughts on this. If you think it’s all non-sense or have suggestions, I will leave the comments open! Also, if you guys want to know more about the core training I am doing at home or other smoothie recipes, let me know!

Next post I will talk about pro’s and cons of working at home with Ulcerative Colitis and Covid-19!

My UC Journey

Where Have I Been?

Where have I been?

Hey everyone. I wanted to take this opportunity to recap as it has been some years since I last posted and I may have enticed a few more readers, I hope! Now, I would like to tell you all that my absence is a result of finding a super rare cure for Chronic Illness or that I had a sip of some ancient tea which restored my Colon to full health, but that didn’t happen. Instead iv been learning how to live and adapt to my condition so I can live a full life, there has just been a lot of bumps in the road! See my super rehearsed intro below.

My name is Lee, I have suffered with Ulcerative Colitis for around 4 years now. I have decided to restart my Blog as I have been given the unfortunate news that I have to have a sub-total colectomy, to remove my large bowel. Now, I know what your thinking! Have I tried this medication and that medication? Yes, I have been on so many different medications you will not believe it. Unfortunately, I have been labelled a non-responder. Let me get you up to speed.

Where I left off. It was 2017 and I had overcome my first major flare, I had gone back to work and I was back into my social circle. Things were looking up. The medication I was on at the time was known as golimumab. This was a self-injection like Humira for those who know it. Side note, it hurt like hell. The medication seemed to work for the most part, but I still suffered majorly with urgency, diarrhoea and anaemia. But I could cope! I managed to put on more weight and continue with my passion of working out and somehow, I got a promotion at work. Unfortunately, I began to build a resistance to the drug and was soon back in a flare.

New Drug. I was flaring for some time before being given another new revolutionary drug. I swear the consultation with your IBD Nurse/ Consultant is like a sales pitch. I was sold, get it in me! Vedolizumab was the name, controlling UC symptoms was its game. It was like Infliximab in the sense it was administered as a drip every 4-6 weeks. At the start I seen no real improvement but as time went on I manged to get to a healthy state. Never passing, I would sayyy, 85% health. Meaning, I still had the urgency and with this drug I suffered with bad migraines and stomach cramps.

September 2018 I was taken of Vedolizumab after just 8 months as I was back in a flare. They attempted Azathioprine for whole 48 hours but that nearly shut down my kidneys. You can probably imagine I was beginning to worry about surgery at this point. I was told there was no medication left and I would need to apply for trial medication. TRIAL MEDICATION. I was on the waiting list for 6 months, all the while taking 40mg of Prednisolone. I had Moon face, Acne, Week joints, Week Teeth and the worst night sweats for 6 months before they gave me a new drug, again!

Tofacitinib. This new drug was an oral medication which was very different to any before it. It was easy to take, had no immediate side effects and (drum roll please) it worked. My symptoms disappeared again, and my life was back on track. Nothing could stop me now! Oh wait, I got the flu, which triggered a flare up and I was right back in hospital. At least I got a year of my life back.

Present day. After I exhausted the medication on offer, I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. I was given the option to try and go without medication or make the option to have surgery and have an ileostomy. To make this even harder Covid-19 showed up and made all consultations, advice, visits, tests and a potential surgery date impossible to get. PHEW, now your caught up. BRING ON THE SURGERY!

Follow my next post for my Surgery Prep!

My UC Journey

The Hospital Adventure – Part 1

My hospital adventure all started at home through the power of self diagnostics! Personally, i think we all try to find the answer to any illness we may have through self assessment and frantic internet searches. As someone with Ulcerative Colitis the initial symptoms of the first flare up highly resemble food poisoning. Well atleast in my situation, stomach pains and diarrhea equal food poisoning or some form of stomach bug, so the sense of emergency is not so great. I managed five toilet hugging days of no sleep, chronic muscle cramps in my stomach, bloody diarrhea and the calorific intake of small child (if it stayed down).

My first visit to the doctors was horrific, the uncontrollable diarrhea coupled with severe abdominal cramps made the endless waiting time seem like an eternity. Once my name got called i attempted to stand up as straight as possible and shuffle myself towards the doctors office before making a beeline towards the toilet. Its strange, but throughout my flare, no matter how tired and fatigued i was i always seemed to gather enough strength to jog to the closest toilet. Anyway, after a few agonizing minutes i found myself in the doctors office describing all my symptoms, blood was taken and some firsts for me happened! I’l give you a clue, there was a finger involved and he didn’t buy me a drink first.

Now comes the funny part. As my body was so dehydrated the blood sample was concentrated and the hemoglobin levels and white blood cell count were relatively normal with only a slight increase in my mucoid and inflammatory markers. As a result, i was sent home with some buscapan and a potential viral stomach infection! I was home for no more than three days before i was back at the doctors clinic with more of the same symptoms with the addition of rapid weight loss. Blood was taken, again! So lets speed this up. inside the next week i had another doctors appearance and a hospital visit before being kept in for a suitable diagnostics.

It begins. My first time staying over night in a hospital, on my own and in the debilitating condition i was in, its fair to say i was not looking forward to it. I was escorted via wheel chair to my new home for the foreseeable future, a luxury narrow bed with the finest plastic mattress and the warmest covers known to man. You may sense a slight bit of sarcasm here. I have the up-most respect for the hospitals and nurses that looked after me but those beds do not help anyone get comfortable. Once i was settled in, i had to ask where the toilet was as a bowel movement was definitely inevitable and toilet plan could be formed in case i had to do a poo dash. The nurse on duty at the time answered my question with a series of hand movements, indicating all sorts of turns and bends like they were directing a lost driver. As the distance got further and further i began to worry that for the first time since i was a child, i may not make it! To make matters worse i was then connected to my medicine for the night. An IV Drip of fluids, Paracetamol transfusion and Hydro-cortisone which was mounted on a drip stand and plugged into the wall. I was tethered to my bed, surrounded by cardboard urine pots, poo sample potties and sick bowls.

My Symptoms always seemed to be worse throughout the night, whether that be due to the position of my body, which side i lay on or the digestion process when sleeping but it was a right pain in the bum! This was the same for a few days while the doctors gathered blood and fecal samples to start diagnosing my illness, but, my condition was declining rapidly. The doctor ordered a flexy sigi test, which is a form of endoscopy test where a biopsy was performed. finally a diagnostic was made and i had a severe case of ulcerative colitis. I even got to watch the entire procedure on a monitor whilst under mild sedation. Now a successful diagnostic had been made the number of tablets increased dramatically. Just for starters i had 40mg prednisarone, 8 huge Pentasa tablets, 2 lanzoprazole and 2 Pro-Cal without considering the iron infusions and a bunch of stomach settling tablets. After a couple of days of medication there was no signs of recovery, i had no energy and no motivation to get out of bed, i felt like a piece of furniture! Now, i used to wait for the consultant to do the rounds in the morning so i could ask as many questions as i could and so i could see when i could go home. Usually id consider myself to be quite bubbly with the medical team, however, the introduction of Pentasa caused my insides to burn and actually increased my flare to the point where i demanded to be taken off it. no more Mr nice guy!

Now this is the point where a clueless panic sets in! Personally, i had no knowledge of this auto-immune disease, i had no idea how long it lasted or if there was even a cure. My heart sank and i suppose this is where my downward spiral of depression began. Depression is an underlying symptom of these types of diseases and is often neglected by friends, family and medical professionals as it cant be seen. I want all my readers to know that they are not alone and the feelings you have towards yourself or others in regards to your condition should be expressed instead of kept inside. Please leave any comments, questions or email me directly if you just want to talk. I will help if i can, but keep in mind i am not a professional and any advice given should be considered as only my opinion. It is my aim to overcome depression and to develop my mind and body through martial arts and weight training to maintain a steady body weight and seek long lasting remission from UC and i want to bring you all with me!