Sunday, March 17, 2013

Interim Update

Just wanted to post a brief update since it's been over a year since the last one and a few people have asked how I'm doing. I'm supposed to get a colonoscopy for the summer, which I might do just for science, or I might not. If I do, that would be a logical blog update event.

But I might not, simply because I feel fine. I am completely asymptomatic. Why pay a thousand bucks to have a guy shove a tube up your butt to be told something you already know? At least with Crohn's there's no real "silent symptoms" - you're either flaring and you know it or you're not.

Some points about my diet and health state in no particular order:

My diet continues to be "meat-centric", but by no means is it "meat-only". My plate is beginning to look a lot more normal at a meal, but it still is completely absent any gluten containing product. For example, I recently ate a 1.5lb rib steak, which had on the side some mashed potatoes and a small pile of steamed spinach. No bread.

I've tried and survived eating ice cream and high-sugar treats. The consequence of over-indulgence is of course diarrhea, but I don't think that's a Crohn's symptom necessarily. That's just bombarding my body with something it's not used to eating. No lasting flare has followed this behavior.

As I said, symptom free. Normal stools most of the time. The timing of this post catches me in an odd spot, which is noted below, but in an overall sense I've got a drug-free remission going and I'm happy.

Recently, I decided to see if I could start running again. Periodically, the memory of past attempts to get in running shape dulls, and I wonder if this time is different. In the past, I've been able to run for a week or two, usually long enough to convince myself that this time is different, before the inevitable run where I have to find a spot in the woods to vent my entire body cavity, followed by a shaky walk home and the shower of shame.

This time it took about two weeks. I decided to ramp up as slowly as possible. I ran .5 miles to start. That's right - a half mile. Despite an utter lack of endurance training for years, I was barely breathing hard at the end. I then added a tenth of a mile per day. I always ran fasted - I don't eat breakfast usually - in an attempt to avoid jostling too much.

This past Wednesday, I ran 1.1 miles, went home from work, and barely made it to the bathroom. Note: taking your belt off while you urgently waddle through your front door is probably confusing or disturbing to your neighbors. 

On Friday I ran 1.25 miles as kind of a middle-finger to the whole situation, and haven't had any serious consequences. Maybe the 1.1 mile event was an outlier. But my father, who trained for and ran a marathon, also had to make sure to run on an empty stomach while training, and he doesn't have Crohn's. Maybe I'm just blessed with a weak stomach.

I'll probably keep this up until the next "event", and then bail back to strict weight lifting. I might not be able to eat enough to become genuinely strong, but at least struggling through some squats doesn't make me crack the toilet with a rectal shaped charge.

So there you have it. Meat still hasn't clogged my intestines, and I'm still alive. I'd still recommend giving the diet a shot to anyone who felt up to it, but I'd probably dial back the duration of strict meat only to "as long as it takes to normalize your bowel movements plus one to two months". A year is a nice number (lots of fun to shock people with), but it's probably excessive. 

Does it actually work? Hell if I know! This would be a heck of a coincidence if it didn't, but stranger things have happened.