Success Story: How Julie Went from a Hospital Bed to Healthy and Drug-Free

by Jordan Reasoner

Julia-T-SCD-Success-Story-Image
This is an incredible guest post from our friend Julie, who used food to beat her son’s Crohn’s into remission… but it didn’t stop there. This loving mother worked so hard to care for her son that she triggered Ulcerative Proctitis in her own body.

The power of the story is not only in the amazing transformation they experienced from food, but in the love of a family and how it can overcome anything. I can’t wait to share Julie’s story with you.

[Enter Julie]

I’ve always believed that what you eat matters, so when my son was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2006, I was convinced his gastroenterologist needed to return to 5th grade health to review the purpose of the intestinal tract after telling my son “DIET DOES NOT MATTER.”

“My happy tempered son dropped to the depth of depression, hinting of ending life”

Julia-T-Son-SCD-Success-Story-Image-2
Desperate to get on the road to healing and off the couch, my son endured all the recommended toxic drug therapies prescribed for over 14 months, until his mild-moderate Crohn’s progressed to severe. The numerous oral drugs, biologic infusions, and four rounds of heavy steroids resulted in a significant loss of weight, stunted growth, brittle bones (osteopenia), continued flares and symptoms, “moon face,” and no return to any glimmer of quality of life. During this period, remission from his symptoms was never achieved. In fact, my easy going, positive thinking, happy tempered son dropped to the depth of depression, hinting of ending life rather than facing continued dark days with ill health.

“Just five days after starting The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), my son experienced a return to formed bowel movements”

Panic took over my life at this point and I did what a mother does when feeling cornered, I pounced. I took leave from my job, emptied all processed food from cupboards, fridge, and pantry, and announced to my family that we were all going to change the way we eat. Through this effort came a 3-month period of welcomed remission. Just five days after starting The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), my son experienced a return to formed bowel movements, energy, a relief in symptoms, and a basic joy from participating in life again. But at his young age of 12, all was soon forgotten as he felt a return of health, and it became more important to fit in with his peers than to adhere to SCD. Experience is a great teacher if you allow it! Left alone to make his own choices for his body, we all, as a family, went off the diet for approximately 3 months. My son continued on his drug regimen, as he had all along, and again, without fail, his condition progressed.

“Through all this… there is no real description of what I, as his mother, and our family endured, except TOTAL HELL.”

On what he swore would be his last round of steroids, motivated to regain over a foot of lost height, participate in sports, and be included in activities with friends as he was entering his high school years, my son again committed, this time 100%, to an important change of lifestyle; EATING TO LIVE versus LIVING TO EAT. Now, at the age of 15, he understood clearly what he could not see in his youth, or maybe what he could now see given hindsight, health is everything. He restarted SCD the month before entering high school and has never looked back. Through all this, pre-diagnosis to the moment he successfully took control of his health through SCD, there is no real description of what I, as his mother, and our family endured, except TOTAL HELL.

It was hard enough to accept the onset of illness in a healthy child, but it became even more complicated with the misleading perceptions and opinions of medical professionals and the often well-meaning family and friends. Constantly questioning myself whether I was doing the right thing for my son left no room for others to question why I was spending so much time and effort implementing a diet that was restrictive when my son was already severely underweight and nutritionally challenged. Deep in my gut, I knew that this made sense and moved forward. Specialist after specialist was ineffective in treating his inflammation, symptoms, poor nutrition, low calcium, cortisol, and iron levels, brittle bones, and lack of growth. This only made me more determined to figure things out. And figure it out I did, but in the process through all the stress, rendered my own immune system weak and vulnerable.

“Approximately two years after my son’s diagnosis, that I was hospitalized for one month with Ulcerative Colitis”

It was the day after Christmas, approximately two years after my son’s diagnosis, that I was hospitalized for one month with Ulcerative Colitis. Symptoms had been creeping up on me. Prior to my son’s diagnosis, my 50-year-old colon had been given the admirable description of “the colon of a twenty-year old” by my gastroenterologist. But a year into my son’s illness, my bowel movements changed, and a year later as I relaxed knowing I had my son on a healthy road, I was forced to pay attention to my own progressing symptoms. My beautiful “twenty year old colon” had deteriorated into disease; Ulcerative Proctitis.

“Lying in my hospital bed 25 pounds lighter… I struggled to even hold my cell phone to my ear to talk”

Lying in my hospital bed 25 pounds lighter, non-stop bleeding, propped up 24 hours a day to avoid pain, and so weak I struggled to
even hold my cell phone to my ear to talk, I too endured heavy doses of IV steroids, the loss of my hair, two failed PICC lines (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheters) to provide IV nutrition bypassing the stomach, resulting in a blood clot in one arm, and a surgery to place a J-line in my neck for Total Parenteral IV Nutrition (TPN), given the failed PICC lines. To complicate matters, I underwent blood transfusions on three different occasions, due to a doctor’s refusal to cut the dose of blood thinner being administered to manage the clot in my arm. This caused my already bleeding bowels to bleed even more profusely for hours until transfusions were necessary.

“Two weeks of hospital and aggressive drug intervention did not give me the relief that I felt after just eleven days on the intro foods of SCD”

Seeing my life literally deteriorate in front of my eyes as my condition worsened, doctors now insisting on initiating biologic infusions, nurses pushing morphine, and unable to call off the threats of the surgeons that visited my room every morning encouraging me to have my colon removed, I once again trusted my gut instinct over others’ advice. I asked friends and family to bring the intro food for SCD to me in the hospital. Two weeks of hospital and aggressive drug intervention did not give me the relief that I felt after just eleven days on the intro foods of SCD. This diet was my ticket home, and has been my ticket back to 100% health. Implementing SCD was not an easy road to navigate, that is for sure, as there is a lot of reading between the lines required to add to the information first laid out by Elaine Gottschall in Breaking The Vicious Cycle in order to be successful. But I had been down this road before and the path was clear… I had confidence that this diet would work for me as I saw it work for my son. (Steve & Jordan where were you back then?)

Now, when I see others suffering, stressed, struggling, enduring unbelievable pain and surgery after surgery, dealing with embarrassing situations, desperate to find health and not knowing where to turn, I find myself wondering, what would have happened to my family had I not followed my instincts to take advantage of advocating for my son and myself in managing our health? How many more drug trials would there have been? How many surgeries would my son or I have faced? What other health problems would we be faced with as a result of side effects from toxic drugs, chronic inflammation, and complicated surgeries? Could our family have endured more stressful years watching and waiting for the right drug to come along as our quality of life slipped away? I know what the answers might have been to all these questions. Gratefully, I did not have to go there.

My son’s confidence, maturity, amazing self-discipline, and ability to see past the moment at a young age when fitting in with peers was paramount, transported him to where he is today…attending college and socializing full time, up at 4a.m. to row Crew, with additional land workouts in the afternoon, living on campus in the dorms, and cooking SCD for himself, for his health, for his love of life.

“We have made SCD a way of life, not a diet, and we no longer LIVE TO EAT, but preferably EAT TO LIVE”

I am attempting to pay forward my good health, helping others to shorten their journey with a chronic illness by sharing the knowledge I gained through mine. My son and I both continue to enjoy good health, drug-free. We have made SCD a way of life, not a diet, and we no longer LIVE TO EAT, but preferably EAT TO LIVE.

-Julie

Note: Julie has continued her career as an Occupational Therapist, carving out a new niche with a naturopathic physician who provides complementary care for patients with IBD, as she supports the implementation of The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) as well as the lifestyle changes imperative to successfully self-manage a chronic illness. Julie also runs a monthly SCD Support Group. Please check out her bio and similar “Story of Healing from Crohn’s and Colitis” at http://www.pearlnaturalhealth.com.

Is Your Body Secretly Suffering from a Leaky Gut?

Take this 3-minute quiz to find out if you have the #1 problem missed by modern medicine... Take the Quiz NOW
(NOTE: The results of this quiz could save your life)

About the author

Jordan Reasoner Jordan Reasoner is a health engineer and author. He was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2007 and almost gave up hope when a gluten-free diet didn’t work. Since then, he transformed his health using the SCD Diet and started SCDLifestyle.com to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet Works

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

solomani December 9, 2012 at 8:50 am

Hi Julie,
You are the first person I have heard of who has had UP and used SCD effectively against it. I am on SCD at the moment and my issue is that its very hard to determine a link between food A and a symptom since my only real symptom is bleeding which occurs up to 24 hours after eating something. SO I am just not sure what to look for to determine if SCD is working or not or what to tweek as I don’t have an effective feedback loop.

I am curious to know what you saw as you slowly healed from UP? For me my only measurement is time between having to use enemas. For example before cutting wheat I was using 1 enema a day then I went to 1 enema a week and on SCD for 40 days that hasn’t changed. So I am not sure if the diet is helping or not or if I have to give it more time.

Thanks in advance.

Reply

Theresa February 3, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Hi Julie,
Your story made me cry. My 19yr old daughter was diagnosed with colitis (pancolitis) in the beginning of 2012. She had been having symptoms for about 6 months. We just thought it was stress. She went away to college, all the way across the country, was playing D1 basketball, school, life…stress. When the symptoms of “stress” didn’t go away, we knew something was up. Then the diagnosis, by that time she had lost 15lbs. and was anemic. She was started on her first of four mesalamine drugs. She has had a negative reaction on all of them. The FIRST GI wanted her to go on Remicade type drugs almost immediately. He said she wasn’t responding to the mesalamine so this was the next step. After hearing and reading about all the side effects, this was not an option. My father died of lymphoma. There was NO WAY I was starting my daughter on a drug that can cause an aggressive form of this. NO WAY! I had been doing research and had been seeing things about the diet, but discounted it because the doctor said diet didn’t matter. I decided to revisit it. Long and short, she had her first solid poop in a year yesterday. I’m crying as I’m typing this. As I read your story I found myself nodding to everything you said. The ego of some of these doctors, they don’t listen when you say, “I think the drug is making my symptoms worse.” They kept telling us it was her colitis not the drugs. We took her off three drugs on our own. I can’t tell you how scary this was. Were we doing the right thing? Are we going to throw her into a major flare? We were also starting to think she wouldn’t be able to play ball, I mean how could she when she was in the bathroom all day? She just recently went to the hospital with what we thought was appendicitis. It was her colitis. Which was getting worse because she was put on another mesalamine drug a couple of days before. She was actually having acute intolerance symptoms to mesalamine. She had every symptom of intolerance. Th Gi told us that the medicine would not do that to her….it was her colitis. We took her off it, without the doctor’s approval. Less than a week later she has had solid poop. She is on an enema once a night, but I think we are going to stop that soon as well. I’m soooo angry at doctors. The fact that they won’t even suggest this to people who are suffering infuriates me. The fact that they can continue to look people in the eye and say diet doesn’t matter is almost criminal. I had a routine colonoscopy this week. It was a new GI, and I wanted her opinion on the diet. She patted my hand and in an extremely condescending tone said,”It sounds like an internet thing. Diet doesn’t affect colitis.” AAAAHHHHHH!!!! She won’t be my daughter’s GI! I want to shout our success with this diet from the rooftop. Do you have any suggestions on how I can help other people. We have started a blog, but I want to do something else. This diet is intimidating when first started, you constantly question if it’s working, but the benefits are getting your life back. Then you get in the groove and off you go. My daughter was given a little kitchenette at school, and she prepares all her own food. This diet is giving HER her life back. Her dream of college basketball is still real. Thanks for sharing your story.
Theresa

Reply

Dylan December 14, 2012 at 2:45 am

I cheat on what I found out, but what I found out I think will help most people if they have a stronger capability to observe it for themselves more than I have. I am not doing that bad, so I have not hit rock bottom in a while so I get away with cheating to a degree, though I never recommend it, but I am realistic since emotional needs are part of you to have happiness as well.

SCD is not enough in my view. You need mass doses of fresh garlic ginger and lemon juice every day (which act in some good way most likely killing bad bacteria and clearing skin layer), and at least 6-8 weeks of a clean diet for the skin to be able to begin to heal. I learned this as my external skin started to cut easily after I got “UC” and no cream can heal all the cuts I got from minor touching, then massive scratching which keeps producing more and more cuts. My both legs are covered in cuts all over, hundreds of them probably. The best thing is keeping the skin dry, but then you still have scars. This must be the same internally, that is why lemon juice is so important as it scrapes off all the thin milk film that is inside on the skin. Do I have to say don’t even drink almond milk, let alone dairy milk? DON”T it creates a film on internal skin which gives diarrhea, only ever drink water with lemon juice unless you are cheating and admit it. Observe any other type of food or drink which creates a film substance and avoid it, just think about it and prove me wrong if you want to but I doubt you will.

Drink 4-5 fresh squeezed lemons in water during the day and start telling me how you feel and how your diarrhea #s have reduced, I guarantee you they will reduce, I already helped myself and another woman from cuba with same symptoms as me just by telling her to start eating fresh lemons during the day. I figured this out by myself by my own experimentation, no doctor or anyone else figured this out. Do it and start to see good effects, but remember that the skin internally will NOT heal quickly, as external skin is it will take months if you keep it perfect. I know what the perfect diet it basically but I am too weak emotionally to follow it for so long, which is why I am still sick, but not even half as sick as I was before before I figured out the trio of lemon juice, garlic and ginger. Also the intro diet did not work for me and I did it for probably a month. I believe it is because it is too soft and watery. You need whole hard green foods like broccoli instead that are steamed, with fish every day instead. I have much better results on those 2 foods, only thing I am weak and still have to eat rice with them with lots of oil which I don’t think is good either since I know it coats the lining of internal skin which I know for a fact is bad. The lemon juice cleans out some of it but not all of it, if I could stop eating oil I would be better but I can’t because I would go insane with no rice or oil or salt to give me some kind of enjoyment of food.

People reading, don’t blame any of these diets for not getting better, since your body can only do so much and it takes such a long time for the skin to heal a cut. Think of it this way, everyone on earth gets cuts on their external skin and if it is a bacterial infected cut it is even worse. There is no cream, natural or drug based that will heal that cut quickly, only the micro movements in your blood over a long time can heal that skin, the cream is only minor. But if you kept that skin covered in grease or some bad substance and kept scraping it every day, it would never have the chance to heal itself since that micro movement period is usually about 2 months for a scar to heal over. If you scratch and cover it during ANY 2 month period, you are starting over at day one. That is how you have to see any of these types of diets, when you cheat you are starting over almost. You can survive better if you cheat and eat the foods I mention, but you still won’t be perfect again, since you are still messing with the healing by cheating. Some people like me live this way, but if you want to be perfect and better than me you have to know the time frame you have to work with, which is 2 months I think.

Also you should be
1) Exercising by lightly jogging outside every other day. Sweating is good.
2) Getting out in the sunshine for 10-20 minutes every day.
3) Forcing yourself out of the sedentary lifestyle. Sitting is very bad for colon health.
4) Swimming is good, start doing it.
5) Get a juicer and a steamer or double boiler.
6) Hire someone to clean your kitchen if you are honestly too lazy or tired to keep it clean, since if you don’t have a clean kitchen you will be too depressed to do the work to prepare the fresh whole vegetables, fish, trio extras, to eat every day.
7) Try to get LDN. It helped me as well even when I cheat.
8) Order slippery elm root bark powder and make a tea with it every day. Add termeric to it if you can bear the nasty flavor.
9) Experiment with probiotics, though they never helped me really.
10) Experiment with oil of oregano multiple times per day in water drunk very fast as it is dangerously hot in your mouth if you don’t flush it down quick.
11) I believe all these “diseases” are related to bacteria/parasites. Every time I read detailed stories about people with these symptoms it comes back to a footnote that they started to take control of them soon after they took a trip to a tropical or semi tropical location, all types of different kinds of bacteria live in these areas and the sanitary conditions are entirely different in such places allowing for our bodies to be reprogrammed almost by a bacterial virus which we don’t have the understanding to deal with in western medicine since they don’t really understand bacteria except to a very small degree.
12) Keep your body, house, kitchen and food all very clean and have high standards of hygiene and sanitation. Did you know almost 1 million people around the world mostly children in Africa die due to getting parasites/bacteria from dealing with bad sanitation/hygiene/water sources which then destroy their bodies in various ways leading to death. This is why I know we get these “diseases” when we travel to their areas of the world from our northern home areas and ingest the same types of bacteria which kill these other people who don’t have the capability to move back to a clean environment and start eating clean food and water and having good sanitation as we do, they instead are forced to live forever in their 3rd world environments and so many die every year because of that.

Reply

Steven Wright December 16, 2012 at 7:59 pm

@Dylan – Thanks for sharing what has worked for you. I’m not sure I would say all of what you wrote is necessary but I do know that if it works for you don’t stop doing it.

Reply

Vicki April 19, 2013 at 10:06 am

Julie, your story brought tears to my eyes. My spouse has had Crohn’s for more then 25 years and almost died from it back when he was first diagnosed with it in his mid twenties shriveling to around 85 pounds. He searched for information but it wasn’t easily available back then so he survived on Ensures and meditation and when really bad, prednisone. Back then, the doctors told my spouse he wouldn’t live another ten years but he’s stubborn and decided to prove them wrong. I’m so thankful he did!

When our son turned 13, he, too, was found to have Crohns. At first the doctors loaded him up with drugs that helped a slight bit. Eventually, when they wanted to change his drugs, he decided to try things dad’s way and go drug free unless he absolutely needed them. He took up Brazilian Jiujitsu and all that rolling around has really helped. He even found that moving whenever he felt pain starting was a much better option then staying in bed as that only made things worse.

Things went really well for about two years til he experienced his first crush. Boy, was that ever an awaking to just how much stress is a major factor with this disease! He finally agreed to give the SCD diet a try and so far, he isn’t ‘symptom free’ but he feels far better then he did. I’m still learning all I can so I can help tweak his diet as I’m hoping for even better results for him and my husband, too.

Your story reminds me to also remember to take care of myself because if I don’t, the stress of worrying about them, is going to hurt me and then I won’t be here to help them. Thank you for sharing your story.
V.

Reply

Julie May 15, 2013 at 1:53 am

Vicki – You are a very smart woman! Taking care of you while you are helping your son is the most important thing you can do! Jordan and Steve have great tips on “tweaking” SCD and keeping a Food Journal is an amazing support…you can look back with hindsight and learn so many things you would not have noticed on the day-to-day. I wish your son health and KNOW THAT SCD DOES WORK. It truly is a matter of staying 100% fanatical in the beginning until your colon heals! This takes time! Make sure cortisol/adrenal levels are normal and monitor iron, calcium, and inflammation through a naturopath. Add exercise and an outlet for stress and life jumps to a whole new level! Any more questions for me, you can catch me at [email protected] Take good care of you, Julie

Reply

Leave a Comment