Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mmmm...Turkey

Going to MD for a little thanksgiving fun...and to reunite with some of the very best people in the entire world. Did I mention that we all met each other in South Korea on study abroad? Funny how life works isn't? I can honestly say that Spring 2008 study abroad was by far one of the very best experiences of my life, and the people I met will be my friends for life.

In other news my prednisone dosage has finally been tapered down to 20mg/day and holding steady, and i've been put on 2.4g/asacol per day. No complaints thus far...everything seems to be normal. Hopefully it stays that way.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The end of the day




Saturday night I fought in my first professional MMA fight. I won. It has been a very stressful experience training, making weight, and dealing with Ulcerative Colitis. I was flaring enough to have my prednisone put back up to 40mg/day a week before the fight. The whole ordeal just make me realize how great my family, friends, coaches, and training partners really are. I could not have accomplished any of this without them.

During the middle of the first round I took a body kick that fractured one of my ribs. I felt the impact and the crunch on my side. I didn’t realize how much damage it did till I came back to the corner for the second round. I could barely breath, once the bell sounded I bit down on my mouthpiece and told myself “I’ll die before I quit”. At the end of the day the only person you are ever accountable to is yourself. I knew that if I didn’t answer the bell and fight to the end that I’d never forgive myself. Believe in the power of one.









Thursday, October 16, 2008

Scared

Up until Monday I had been doing very well with my treatment. My prednisone dosage was tapered from 60mg to 10mg, I was enjoying life to its fullest. Monday I had full blown flare up symptoms, and thus my prednisone dosage was put back up to 40mg. As my prednisone dosage tapered I was able to come down to 153lbs. But now that I’m up to 40mg this week I’m up to 157lbs. I must weigh in next Saturday to compete at 155lbs, I watch my diet religiously. Hopefully I can get it under control and start tapering again.

Next week I go to my doctor’s office again for blood work. The doctor is going to see if I can get on 6mp, I’m overjoyed. 6mp comes with a whole slew on nasty side effects, just like Prednisone.

Minor:
loss of appetite
abdominal pain
sore mouth
nausea
vomiting
diarrhea
dark discoloration of skin
itching
rash
Major:
severe joint pain
severe upper abdominal pain (pancreatitis)
fever
unusual fatigue
weakness
sore throat
abnormal bleeding or bruising
yellow color to skin or eyes

I’m tired, I’m scared, and some days I feel great and ready to take on the world. Then there are days like this where it seems that I’m losing everything I love. What is worse the disease or the drugs we use to treat it? Prednisone make me feel normal, too bad it will rot your body from the inside out. 6mp? Who knows…maybe I’ll develop a rare form of cancer while suppressing my testosterone production.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Struggle

It is often said that in life people are defined by what they do. As humans we often get caught up in the monotony of our day to truly appreciate the gift that is life. A month ago I was on the edge of mentally breaking from dealing with UC, quite literally a prisoner chained to the toilet. These past few weeks have been so precious for me, a return to what one might call “normality”. I’ve been enjoying my training regime in preparation for my next bout, whenever it may be. September 27th was a no go due to lack of an opponent among other things.

When push comes to shove everything in life is a struggle. It’s a struggle to get out of bed in the morning, a struggle to go to work or school, to go to practice, you get the idea. My entire life I was always told what I “wouldn’t” and “couldn’t” do. Until one day I just stopped listening and started believing in myself. I believe in myself, and I believe that there is nothing that cannot be overcome in the world. I will beat UC.

RIP, Evan Tanner: “Believe in the power of one”

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Prednisone down, feelings up.

Lack of updates


Lack of updates


Well my PC went down for about two weeks and I’ve had to use my parent’s computers when I get an odd moment. The good news lately is that I’ve been tapering off my dose of prednisone from 60mg/day down to 30mg/day currently. Dropping 10mg per week. I had to stop my Lialda because I was not tolerating it, and it was in fact exacerbating my symptoms. Within two days of stopping I felt human again, and started doing all the activities I once enjoyed. I know I can’t stay on pred forever, but damn I forgot how good life was for a while. School has also started so I’m hopping this treatment will workout for me so that I can stay in school and not worry about going to the bathroom every twenty minutes. My next appointment is Oct 2nd, my doctor mentioned that about 10% of UC patients tend not to agree with mesalamine based drugs. Oh well…onto the next drug…

If you have UC you’ve undoubtedly asked yourself many questions on the simple things in life. Can I work a job? Can I get insurance? What will my significant other think? What comes next? I find myself wondering these things too. I’ve made a commitment not to be a prisoner of this disease.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Another day..

I feel like I’m losing it, slowly but surely. Yesterday at practice I barely had the energy to slog through two rounds on the pads. I never felt as tired or miserable as I do now. It’s frustrating waking up 4-5 times a night to use the restroom, or looking for the nearest bathroom so you don’t have an accident. At this very moment I feel okay, thank you prednisone. I wonder what tonight will bring…will I be able to sleep through the night tonight? The though of living the rest of my life like this make me want to puke.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Quack Doctors and a box of tricks.

Today was an interesting day to say the least…I met my first genuine herbalist doctor. I humored my mother by driving to see this doctor at his clinic. Upon arrival I waited for an hour in the waiting area overhearing his conversation with another patient. Some of the crucial remarks I heard…

“Not enough blood flow”

“Lungs are weak”

“Stress is playing a factor”

When my turn arrived I said nothing, simply let him do his thing and “feel” my pulse. After feeling my pulse he asked what ailed me, “Ulcerative Colitis” I naturally responded. He dragged me into his long winded explanation on how the condition is curable, and I must regulate my body’s energy. He also not that like the previous patient my “Lungs were weak”, “Stress was playing a factor”, and he even through in “poor circulation”. My mother puts a lot of stock into this type of medicine as it is what she was raised on. I on other hand could see through his fa├žade easily. I simply nodded my head until it was time for me to leave.

I love my mother to death but I can’t believe she would ever waste time or money on someone like this. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for alternative medicine but this guy is a straight up quack doctor. Never mind the simple facts that my “lungs” are not weak. I run a sub six minute mile on a bad. Or the fact that I often run twice a day (morning and night), off to boxing, go to jiu jitsu practice, and then it’s a 30minute lifting session to end the night. While we’re at it lets just ignore the fact that I’ve been fighting for the better of the last three years. Last and not least lets ignore the fact that nurse after my colonoscopy and I had a nice chat about why my resting heart rate would dip to 38bpm and set off the alarms. Obviously I have a pretty poor cardiovascular system.

I’m waiting for my ulcerative colitis to go into remission and hopefully stay there for good. My drug regime buys me a window of time each day where I can make it through practice and have just a few precious hours to myself. Each day I am slowly noticing less blood. As a competitive athlete it’s hard to imagine life without training or competition. Someone once said, “It is a person’s actions that define them.” Every day is a gift and must be treated as one.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Welcome to my UC blog.

My name is Aaron and last month I was diagnosed with “Chronic Ulcerative Colitis”. It’s a nice way of saying that you’ve become an expert at doing the 40 yard dash to the nearest toilet multiple times each day. The exact cause of UC is unknown, while there are many hypotheses out there ranging from diet, genetics, to environmental causes, no one study has been able to pinpoint the source. While the disease it self will not kill you but instead rather dramatically reduce the quality of your life. Imagine if you will having the urge to go to the bathroom, a normal person 1-4 times a day probably at the most. People living with UC can experience this urge 10-20+ times a day, you go the bathroom until there is simply nothing left short of mucus generated from the lining of your colon/intestines, and blood. Great picture right?

My treatment so far has involved taking Mesalazine (Lialda) at 4.8gm/Day in conjunction with 60mg/prednisone, a corticosteroid. The prednisone I have found changes my mood and in general makes me a more edgy person to be around. I’ve found it helpful to always take a deep breath before I respond to anyone’s questions. The good news is however that the Lialda and Prednisone make me feel normal until 9-10pm at night when my symptoms slowly return. I use this window of time to do activities I enjoy such as going to practice, lifting, or roadwork. I cannot predict how the treatment will effect my training progressions or competition schedule. I am slated to fight on September 27th at 155lbs, the prednisone is not effecting my weight all (I’ll attribute it to practice/lifting/roadwork). Hopefully I can hold it together until then or get myself into remission prior to then.

I know that prior to UC that I was definitely less humble of a person, this entire experience has definitely let me see that every day doing something we enjoy is truly a gift. I can't promise this blog will be all sunshine and roses, but it will be honest and brutally so.