Remember that movie back in the eighties with Lily Tomlin called "The Incredible Shrinking Woman"?
Well, that's kind of an issue with folks who have inflammatory bowel disease. Weight gain and loss is a constant matter of contention with IBD.
For instance, when I was first diagnosed, I was put on Prednisone to control the inflammation in my gut. For those who don't know, Prednisone is a steroid. While it is useful in short-term situations, it's long-term effects can be harmful to a person's body.
Immediately after taking Prednisone, I felt like a new person. My abdominal pain was gone (or, at least relieved) and my appetite came back...with a vengeance! I could eat a whole bag of "Chips Ahoy" in one sitting...I'm not kidding....ask Mandy.
Suddenly, this 22 year old, skinny, 6 foot 4 inch kid was ballooning up! With Prednisone, you can get what is called "Moon Face"...a sort of rounding of your facial features.
Again, Prednisone isn't good for the long-term. It can lower your resistance to infections, increase your risk for osteoporosis, decrease wound healing among other things.
I have seen my weight fluctuate over the past 10 years. At one point, I think I got up to 280lbs. Ideally, I like to stay around 220lbs or so.
Lately, my weight has dropped down to 199lbs. I've made some lifestyle and diet changes that reflect my current weight.
Because I lost 1/4 of my colon during a resection in 2000, I don't absorb nutrients from the food I eat and, therefore, use the restroom quite frequently. Basically, everything runs right through me (I'm trying not to use the "D" word...OK, diarrhea).
So, I'm watching what I eat, drinking more water and making sure I get my nutrients (& vitamins) from other sources.
It's a constant battle. I would love to throw down on a Big Mac without consequences or eat at our local Mexican restaurant (*cough* Los Portales *cough*) without using their facilities before I leave, but that's not realistic.
I hope these blogs help personalize this disease and help everyone understand the different symptoms involved.
Educating and raising awareness WILL help bring IBD to the forefront of people's minds.
Be an advocate and make your voice be heard!