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December 18, 2017

Life After Ostomy Surgery: Meet Rheumatoid Arthritis

A decade ago I became ill with Ulcerative Colitis (UC). It very quickly damaged my body to a point where I required my colon to be removed in emergency surgery. I remember talking to my surgeon about what my health might look like long term. He looked at me and said: “you are lucky, you have been cured from your disease! (UC) and it is one of the only diseases that you can say that about” He was referring to the fact that UC can be considered cured once the colon is removed because it only resides in the colon. My question that day was what other health problems might arise now that my colon was removed.

My surgeon explained to me that when the colon is removed, a rectal stump is left in place. This is a short piece of the rectum that is left for any future connections such as a “j“pouch (an internal pouch created to hold your stool). My surgeon’s main request was to remove that within five years to reduce the risk of cancer in the future if I had no plans of using it. A year later I had the stump removed (proctectomy) and began to enjoy life as before with a permanent stoma and I enjoyed 4 years problem-free.

My Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) began with a stiff neck, back, jaw, feet and hands. Within a few weeks, my knees had swollen to the size of small melons. Shortly after that my back seized up so I was virtually immobile and my knees wanted to buckle under any weight due to the massive fluid build up in them. Things were looking bad. I was diagnosed with RA and put on medications. The inflammation began to come under control and I was soon feeling around 60% better.

My Rheumatologist was disappointed with my medication’s effectiveness and after waiting for some time he decided to prescribe more medications to reduce the effects of the RA. Instead of more meds, I made a deal with my doctor. For the next three months, I would try and control the remaining 40% of my inflammation with diet and supplements. My doctor was pleasantly surprised to see me around 90% better at the next check-up. Since then I have been able to maintain my RA inflammation ever since without the use of more drugs.

My Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet

What diet changes made the biggest difference? I cut out sugar and nightshades (mainly potatoes, tomatoes and peppers). I started a daily regime of taking Metagenics UltraInflamX Plus 360, Metagenics OmegaGenics EPA – DHA 2400 fish oilMetagenics PhytoMulti Greens, Metagenics Ultra Flora Balance probiotics and Progressive Complete Collagen. The positive results from the change in diet have been not needing to take additional medications. Also, I was able to kick the sugar habit, which to be honest has made a difference in my overall health and wellness.

While this may not be the path for everyone with RA, it has worked well for me. I am now into year 3 with RA and feel 95% on a daily basis.

The reason I mention my battle with RA is that many of us are ostomates because of our immune system failing. While cured from Colitis, there still may be an underlying autoimmune malfunction looking to take place. This is not to scare anyone, but rather shed light on the fact that the autoimmune system can affect many different parts of the body and its functions – more on that latter. Please comment below if you have any questions about how I manage RA, or please share your thoughts and approach to dealing with the condition.

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