An Immune System, what’s that?

My body is no long familiar with what an immune system is, and quite frankly I’m not sure I am either hah! They say laughing is contagious and I’ll tell you, I wish lack of immune system made me more vulnerable to that instead of making the common cold seem like a never ending soap opera! That’s one thing I wouldn’t mind catching! Being treated with anti TNF inhibitors, immunomodulators, biologics, etc.. all of the fancy-shmancy medications we owe our life to come with a price to pay. Side effects are inevitable at some point in time living with a chronic illness. One of the most common is making us more susceptible to infections whether that be viral, bacterial, cancers (yep), and other immune sexinessdeficiencies or diseases. And there’s no way around this side effect because it really just means the medication is doing its job. They all act in different ways but for the most part they all are compromising or “working on” our immune system since Crohn’s disease is basically an abnormal immune reaction to the GI tract which causes inflammation and complications.

My body never “caught” things more often than the normal person before. The doctors kind of just put thoughts in my head to be extra careful. Being exposed to certain infectious diseases can be extremely dangerous to a person with a weakened immune system, and by that I mean life threatening. We, as patients, have a responsibility to be aware of this but it does make it easier when medical professionals and the ones we are closest to are aware to (and this is where vaccines come into place as well, another post on that controversy to come lol). I once kind of freaked out at the carelessness of Baystate hospital for putting me right next to someone with TB when I had a serious flare, a very bad kidney infection, and was on multiple medications that significantly lowered my immune system (yeah that happened). But other than that I’ve never really experienced anything significant.

That is until… I wasn’t responding to the usual dose of Humira which is an injection every other week so my doctor increased my dose to once a week. TADA! Crohn’s buh-bye! I feel great! Until I start experiencing allergies (or you may call them sensitivities) that I have never had before. Muscle soreness and much longer recovery time after the gym. Then… Here comes “cold and flu” season so my body decides it’s just going to catch everything under the sun! It has been about a month and a half and I have had little to no relief. Not only is this wearing on the body but on the mind as well. Doctor visits, urgent care visits, physical therapy, xrays, MRI’s, blood tests, sinus infection, laryngitis, tendinitis, I could go on and on of what the past two months have been.. This sounds pretty miserable right? Yep it is. But it’s the price I’m willing to pay. I no longer really have to worry about a bathroom nearby every time I eat (YEAH IT’S A MIRACLE), and stomach pain is few and far between. (We all have our bad days that catch us by surprise.. like the week of my period might as well just stay in bed for a week straight between cramps and the mini flare I get every single time.. but we’re not focusing on that here.. so, moving on..).

I decided to take things into my own hands and try different methods of controlling my symptoms so I can regain quality of life. I will be writing another strength.jpgpost to expand on this but for right now I’m just trying to raise awareness to the fact even though a person with a chronic illness may be in remission, it still affects their day to day life. It is all about balance and what a patient will endure or physically can endure to get relief from symptoms of their disease. I might consider my Crohn’s Disease to be in remission although my doctor hasn’t clinically declared this, my stomach symptoms are almost obsolete, but my quality of life just isn’t there yet. I’m working right now to change this because I truly believe I can (especially the mindset of it). I’ve been about ten years with no little to smileeeeno remission so sometimes you just man up and take one problem over the other. Just keep in mind, we might not complain to the world about these issues we face (only to the ones we love the most 😉 ) because it really is nothing compared to the pain and frustration of having a flare up of disease. As I say: throw a smile on despite the struggle of getting out of bed, life could be a lot worse, we have a lot to be thankful for, and its just another day in the life of a Crohnie!

 

-xoMichelle

The struggle of “sick season”

Prednisone was beginning to be a miracle worker, per usual. I literally felt like super woman lol It was so so soooo nice to be in the gym full force and have energy to get up in the morning and last throughout the day. Today was just one giant step backward. That is, if this is my flare breaking through the prednisone or the dreaded viruses/bugs you see this time of the year. I know that it is inevitable to have days like this, but it was such a drastic change from how I was feeling. That is, after I weighed myself and totally freaked out at the number 93 that popped up in front of my feet. I even got off and back on to make sure it wasn’t just the scale. Nope, it was the truth. I’ve lost about 7lbs in just a few days.

I’ve consistently been on 40 mg of prednisone for about two weeks now. Side affects, oh the side affects. Just noticed my face getting puffy 😦 and my mood swings have been so frustrating to not only me but the people around me. It’s so strange how medication can affect your head. I am like a crazy person one minute and the next I’m in the best mood ever and I know exactly when it’s the medicine. I have tried to control it by recognizing when I get that crazy feeling (I know it sounds weird) and then taking a step backward whether that be just stop talking/doing what I’m doing or explaining to the person I am being crazy towards/around the dealio. It’s hard being on prednisone around people who don’t understand how big it’s affects are lol They don’t believe it can actually make you angry, emotional, super happy, or anything. It’s hard getting anyone to understand anything about the medications we take, how we feel, etc. But all we can do is try.

Although my rapid weight loss I’m not sure if this is my Crohn’s acting up more or a bug/virus. My mom was sick last night and today and I started feeling terrible today. I still have no appetite, to the point where I need to force myself to eat. I know it’s not the healthiest thing (which drives me crazy because eating good and being fit/healthy is so important to me) but when I can’t eat I try to drink a lot of my calories whether it be 550 calorie drinks from Starbucks, juices, or even soda. I am at the point where anything I can tolerate I need to eat. If I lose anymore weight I could be looking at a hospital stay. One thing I’ve been good at this time around is staying hydrated. I cooked a bunch of food tonight thinking I’d eat more if it was already made (it works most of the time) but healthy food just rips up my stomach, ugh. It’s so frustrating. I needed to eat something desperately tonight. I had to resort to McDonald’s chicken nuggets and French fries. I still to this day have no idea how or why that is the only food I can eat when I’m really flaring up but if you have Crohn’s or colitis you know you will do or eat anything you can to keep weight on. Because losing too much weight usually, as I said earlier, results in a hospital stay.

Well I had to take a pain pill because of my stomach pain tonight -___- And it made me feel pretty weak, Weak enough to not want to keep typing lol but my stomach pain is better and I’m a little hungry so I’m gunna try to eat something. Apologies that this post was pretty damn boring but sometimes I just needa write for myself. Sweet dreams everybody 🙂 Happy Tuesday.

-xoMichelle