Since leaving the ER early Sunday, I have slept.
I am sure that most people who live with chron’s have a “safe food” which they are able to eat without too much pain during a flare. My safe food is scrambled eggs.
I discovered that this works for me back in 2001 when I had the profound onset of chron’s disease. One of my close girlfriends from college contacted me and told me about a diet called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). This was almost 14 years ago and the diet was much less popular or even heard of back then.
At that time I was in the hospital and totally unable to eat or drink anything by mouth because my intestines were so inflamed (it hurt–ouch!). For the first couple of weeks, the doctors kept me on IV fluids. They eventually had to insert a central line because I was literally withering away, and they needed to do something.
A central line is an IV that is inserted (for lack of a better phrase) into your heart. Many people have it placed while they are in a sedated (or at least relaxed) state. I was fully awake and for reasons unknown to me, they did not give me anything to help me relax until it was over. It was an uncomfortable and frightening procedure (only made worse by the young physician repeatedly telling me that I had to stop shaking so that she would not puncture my lung-ok).
However, once it was in place, I fell quickly in love with my odd looking necklace because the doctors and nurses were able to feed me as well as do the the frequent blood draws and administrate IV meds all through this line. When you are desperate, you are desperate and once they started feeding me via the central line, I started to gain some strength. It was baby steps but those baby steps were headed in the correct direction.
So, my girlfriend from college had sent information on the SCD. My parents picked up books on it, including the beginner’s guide, Breaking the Viscious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall. As I lay in that hospital bed, with my central line, I spent every day and night reading as much as I could about the diet. I decided that I would follow it, no cheating at all, once I could eat again.
And I did. It is a pretty strict diet and definitely a lifestyle change but I was so incredibly happy to be able to eat again that I did not care if my previous diet was totally upended. There are similarities in the SCD to the Paleo Diet (if you are familiar with Paleo).
I followed the SCD to the letter for over a year. And it helped me so much. During that first year I was on a lot of medication for chron’s including prednisone. As the dose of prednisone tapered and I was finally weaned off of it, the migraines returned (rats). That is when I had to acknowledge that many of the staple foods on the SCD include nuts, nut flours, nut butters, cheeses, vinegar, fermented foods, yogurt, bananas, and many more healthy foods which contain high levels of tyrmamine, a common migraine trigger.
The migraines were very bad and clearly connected to what I was eating so I had to make a diet change. At that point in my journey, it was a very hard change to make because the SCD had brought so many positives into my life.
That was a long time ago and since then I have learned to incorporate what I can from the SCD along with a migraine friendly diet. Somewhere along the years, I have figured out a system that works for me and I am constantly altering recipes to fit my needs.
And, of course, I am a total foodie, so I am always trying to figure out how to make yummy versions of meals that are gut friendly as well as migraine friendly (it can be quite a challenge).
After my first few years of severe chron’s, God blessed me with what my doctors call “Quiet chron’s” (I like it quiet). And as I wrote in my last post, I have done well. I rarely have flares and have only had to be hospitalized a couple of times over the recent years.
Most of the time, I can eat pretty much whatever texture food I want to eat (raw or cooked).
However when a crohn’s flare hits: Everything stops and it is back to the very basics.
Crohn’s pain is horrific and can knock the most civilized person to the floor crawling, rocking and begging for help (I am not kidding). In addition to avoiding severe complications, you have to figure out a way to get enough hydration + calories in without too much pain/inflammation/fever or you may have the pleasure of another IV in the heart which is just really not something you want to go with unless there are no other options.
So, my safe food is scrambled eggs.
And that is what I have lived off of recently.
I have slept, eaten scrambled eggs, sipped on water since leaving the ER.
Today I am feeling a tad better and hopeful.
Assuming my strength continues, tonight I may get a bit wild: peel a few fresh apples to stew with butter and cinnamon (homemade, all natural applesauce that is delicious and very easy to digest).