I Ate a Salad! And Other Updates

Back in March, I wrote about how I had developed some mild ulcerative colitis symptoms and the anxiety that induced. As I mentioned in that post, my doctor put me back on Rowasa enemas, which helped. In April, I tried to taper off them, decreasing to every other night and then every third night, but I started to see some blood again so I went back to every night. Starting in late May or early June, I started slowly tapering off again, and I’m happy to say that I’ve been off them for about a month with no symptoms!

I saw my gastroenterologist in mid-June and was able to ask her some of the questions that were keeping me up at night when my symptoms came back. She said that if my symptoms redevelop after going off the Rowasa, I may need to be on a maintenance dose of one to two enemas a week. Enemas are annoying, as anyone who has been on them knows, but once or twice a week isn’t bad. She also said that at some point she might have my levels of Entyvio and antibodies tested. I told her that my biggest concern right now is, as it has been for awhile, what happens if the Entyvio stops working. She said new medications are being developed all the time, such as Xeljanz, which was just approved for UC.

I also asked her about VSL#3, which is the only probiotic that has been shown to be effective in treating UC. She said it couldn’t hurt to try it. I know insurance doesn’t cover it for many people and it is expensive without it, but luckily my insurance covers the VSL#3 Double Strength packets. It needs to be refrigerated. I take half a packet a day, and because it tastes pretty gross, I need to mix it with something with a taste (I tried it in just water the first day – never again). I usually have smoothies for breakfast, so I mix it in after I’ve made the smoothie and that works pretty well. You could also put in yogurt, applesauce, or juice. It just has to be something cold so you don’t kill all the bacteria. I was feeling pretty good when I started it, so it’s hard to tell if it’s doing anything. But I’m hoping it will help me stay in remission without enemas.

 VSL#3 Double Strength packet.

VSL#3 Double Strength packet.

 Adding the VSL#3 to my smoothie.

Adding the VSL#3 to my smoothie.

 

I also asked my doctor if I could start trying to eat more foods, and she said I should, which brings me to the title of this post… I ate a salad! For the first time in three years! It took having IBD to actually appreciate eating leaves. Here are some of the things I have newly discovered and been able to eat:

  • Small amounts of nuts
  • Grapes
  • Pesto
  • Small amount of pineapple
  • A trail mix bar with nuts and raisins
  • Small amounts of potato chips*
  • Salad!

*I didn’t say they were all healthy foods.

 My first salad in three years! It’s the Green Goddess Cobb Salad with Chicken from Panera, without onions, because I know those sometimes bother me.

My first salad in three years! It’s the Green Goddess Cobb Salad with Chicken from Panera, without onions, because I know those sometimes bother me.

I’m probably missing some, but those are the main items. So far I haven’t had any issues, but I’m taking it slowly. It’s nice to have some other options for snacks and meals.

I always worry that by writing about how good things are going I’ll jinx myself. But so much of what is out there on the internet about living with IBD is about the struggle. Dealing with my own struggles is what motivated me to start this blog. It’s not all struggle, though. There are good days, days where I can eat salads, and I’m grateful for those.