The first step is always the hardest...

I’ve really been toying with how to color this initial post. Should it come from somewhere emotional? Funny? Sarcastic? Should I stress my anger? Am I possibly at my wit’s end about it all?

My final destination is truth. Honesty. And ultimately healing.

So where did it all begin?

Dallas, Texas, 2005 - I began having some digestive issues (I’ll save you the details for now) and ended up in the care of a gastroenterologist. By the end of the year, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, an autoimmune disease that affects roughly 700,000 Americans. 

2006 thru 2010 - Cut to me working closely with my doctor on getting the right treatment. Surgery was NEVER an option for me and neither were corticosteroids. I was acting and modeling at the time and the side effects of these types of medicines are pretty severe and I was unwilling to deal with that.

Some of the medications worked…some didn’t…I have never gotten true remission of this disease and at times, my symptoms reached a level that began to really negatively affect my life. I’ll spare you all the sexy details…but if you’d like to do more research on all the lovely things UC can do for you…let me Google that for you.

In 2010, I moved to New York City…probably not the most convenient place to live during a UC flare-up, but I wasn’t going to let this disease to stop me from living. It was mid-2011 when the disease began to catch up with me and then took me down with it. I was constantly exhausted, I was running to the restroom 15 times or more per day (sometimes barely making it…sometimes not making it in time), I was losing weight, depressed…the list goes on.

I went to a new doctor - desperate for a solution - willing to do anything to feel better. My new doctor discovered that in addition to the Ulcerative Colitis, I had also somehow gotten a lovely little infection called C. diff. This was most likely related to a bout of antibiotics that my dentist prescribed after a root canal. Just another day in paradise.

After that was all cleared up, the doctor prescribed Prednisone, and while I was timid about taking it, I felt like it was my only option. Begrudgingly, I started Prednisone therapy to help control the inflammation of my gut at the beginning of 2012. Did this help? Sure. Did it fix everything? Definitely not. Where are we now? Pretty much back at square one.

Longterm use of Prednisone isn’t recommended and can start to wear your body down big time. And that is exactly what had begun to happen. I was taking on excess fat and water in weird places. My joints were starting to hurt…a lot. My skin took a turn for the worse. Recovering after a workout was a huge chore. And the relief from the Prednisone began to wear off.

Finally - January 1, 2014 - I made a promise to myself to figure this out. Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic disease but I was determined to find a way to get it under control. The medicine had to go and I needed to get a hold of my body.

But how?

And that’s where we are now. That’s why I am right here, on this blog, spilling this out on the world wide webs…to take control and to heal.

I am about to embark on a journey thru the Autoimmune Protocol on what I’m affectionally dubbing “The AIP Project.” For 6 weeks, I will be living this lifestyle 100%. I will be sharing my successes, my woes, my recipes and cooking, and other aspects of my life throughout the whole journey.

This isn’t something I wanted to do alone, so I’m employing the help of my friends at Kettlebell Kitchen and Hu Kitchen to aid in the “diet” part of the project. Remission of an autoimmune disease relies heavily on diet and exercise, but there are also emotional and stress factors that must be taken into account to help in the healing process. So I’m also asking for emotional support from all of my friends and family. 

It won’t be easy. But anything worth doing rarely is.