Stop or My Colon Will Shoot! Discovering Your IBD Triggers
A few months ago, while cleaning out an old work bag, I found a journal from about 10 years ago. As a writer, I’ve always kept journals, whether to jot down notes and ideas, reflect on my day, or vent my emotions rather than keeping them bottled up inside. The journal I found in my work bag was different, though. It was my Crohn’s disease journal from when my diagnosis was still fairly new and my disease was at its most severe. This was the journal that helped me discover my triggers — the foods and activities that caused and exacerbated my flares.
Tracking my diet was the easiest but most time-consuming part of keeping my journal. The point of keeping a food diary wasn’t to count calories but to log every meal, drink, and snack that went into my digestive system. I noted everything from ingredients to how the food was prepared to whether I was able to finish everything, or if I had no appetite and had to force myself to eat just to have something in my stomach.
Of course, what goes in must go out. I’ll spare the details, but I recorded how my body reacted to what I ate and drank. If I became gassy or bloated, I wrote it down. If I had an abdominal cramp, I wrote it down. If I had a bowel movement, I not only wrote it down, I documented every disgusting detail to monitor the severity.
After a month or two, I started recognizing connections between what I ate and how I felt. Ironically, the healthier the food, the worse it made my symptoms. Things like salad, fresh fruit and vegetables, and whole grains caused severe bloating, cramping, and diarrhea. But when I had white rice and ground beef and
Crohn's flaresdiet and Crohn'sIBD journalstress and IBDsymptomstriggers
" Emmeline Olson : All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy...or makes him spiral into the depths of madness like in The Shining. To keep myself sane, I brandish a sword and hunt people for body parts for fun...but not at the same time. I'm a Kyo Sa Nim (2nd degree black belt) in Mu Sool Won and an advocate for organ donation through Donate Life and UNOS. The former wouldn't be possible without the latter.
I was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), an autoimmune liver disease, when I was 23 years old and Crohn's disease right before I turned 33. I battled chronic illness for more than 20 years before my liver finally failed, and I received a liver transplant in 2017. I'm alive because a 30-year-old woman and her family made the unselfish decision to donate her organs. Six months after my transplant, I was able to return to practicing martial arts, which I had to quit in 2016 when my health declined. The physical and mental exercise has been a tremendous help in my rehabilitation and recovery. In December 2018, I earned my 2nd degree black belt.
With my renewed health, I'm determined to advocate for patients and educate the public on the impact of living with chronic and autoimmune diseases..."