Patient Journey: Crohn’s

Despite working with patients for several years now and wanting to share everything I possibly can to make a difference, I have never taken the time to share any stories of patient journeys.  I have never pressured any patients to write testimonials and, quite frankly, I feel like sometimes they can be a little inauthentic.  If you think about it, who is going to agree to write a testimonial and say anything bad?!  However, I have sent my patients a journey worksheet to help me decide what was the most influential, what they believed to be the most impactful moments along the way, and what they would say to those that may be on the same path.  I have used these journey worksheets to help mold my treatment methods, but I feel guilty for not sharing them!  I’m ready.  I hope to share some patient journeys over the next few months so you can understand what healthy looks like through the eyes of patients like yourself.

First up? a Crohn’s patient that will actually be a case study published in my upcoming book on treating immune dysfunction! It’s interesting for me to see how patients perceive our work together, and as you will see, food was a huge part of this autoimmune journey!  I will let you know the question and response, unedited, completely honest and raw…..

  1. What health issues were you struggling with when you began to work with Dr. Angela? I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease about 5 years ago. I struggled finding the “safe” foods to eat without knowing what was really in food and how it was prepared. So honestly I would usually eat once maybe twice a day because it was just easier than getting sick…I lost about 40lbs within the first 6 months (only weighed 140lbs at lowest weight, so pretty low for a 6’ tall male). I also became very sheltered and was afraid to go out to eat, go to movies or just basically afraid to leave my comfort area “in case I got sick”
  2. What treatment methods had you tried prior to Dr. Angela’s program? The doctor had me taking 3 – 3mg Budesonide (equivalent to Entocort) each morning and then taking 2 Pentasa four times a day…so taking 11 pills a day. Basically tried to stay away from food the doctor told me to avoid. Also took a food allergy test which was 100% waste of my time after spending one short visit with Dr A
  3. What health benefits did you gain from working with Dr. Angela? Where do I start…I can eat without being too worried about getting sick, I can leave the house more often because now I know what I eat and where it came from and I am slowly gaining my weight back. I just finally feel better, but I still have my days but overall I feel better and I am currently taking 3 prescribed pills a day along with my other healthy pills.
  1. What was your biggest struggle during the transition to a healthier lifestyle? The first two weeks were the worst EVER!! I was basically having chicken broth for breakfast, lunch and dinner to clear my system of anything that was bad…it was 100% worth it and yes I would do it again it I had to. Another struggle is making breakfast, lunch and dinner is a chore on some days but when I get to sit down and eat and know that I will feel full and probably not get sick is a great feeling. It’s either all or nothing when choosing this lifestyle so get ready for the ups and downs but once you find some go to meals its fun and worth every penny you are paying.
  2. What did you find most beneficial to you in the program? That I am getting my life back, that I can feed my family good food and stay away from all the processed food. Becoming a better cook is also the fun part because I can cook more meals than I ever thought I could. Also I can eat dessert again and that is always great because Dr A has some amazing recipe’s for any sweet tooth out there.
  3. Did your food options taste good? Sometime they taste too good, like the almond butter chocolate chip cookies are the best thing ever. Its also amazing what you can do with honey, I never liked honey before meeting Dr A but I basically put it in/on everything…and not the fake honey you get in the store, it has to be the real stuff.
  4. Did you have an ah-ha moment that helped you commit to the change? If so, what was it? My moment was when Dr A had us take everything out of the pantry/house that had corn in it and I realized just how much crap we were eating and if I got rid of it. Also was when we learned how some of the cooking oils were made/processed…GROSS!!
  5. If you were going to give a piece of advice to someone on the fence of following a program like Dr. Angela’s, what would you say to them in order to help them decide? Give it time, it is worth it. There will be days that you’re not going to want to get out of bed to make another meal or make another trip to stupid fancy grocery store but I promise you that it does get better, there will be tears and there will be family fights because of what you can and can’t eat but hang in there, my wife also followed along by my side and after all the fights and tears shared we are both better and healthier. When you are addicted to anything, bad food in our case, it tough quitting that habit and you’ll have ups and downs but now we have a lot more ups then downs and love almost every step we are taking….it’s not easy but if I can do it know that anyone can.

Dr. Angela’s perspective:

This patient had evidence of intestinal permeability, some underlying infections that needed addressed, excessive stress in certain areas of life, and a list of about 50 foods that “he wasn’t supposed to eat.”  Thank goodness for that list of foods, because his wife contacted me (after hearing from one of you about me) at a complete loss as to how to cook for him with such restrictions.  This is often how it starts.  I get contacted with an intention, and after a short consult, we have a completely different direction that focuses are correcting the underlying cause of disease.  This patient has since removed all his meds and had a COMPLETELY CLEAR colonoscopy.  Every patient has a different journey, but especially with autoimmunity, I insist on the education component because the children of that patient inherent the DNA.  While DNA doesn’t cause the disease, it sets the stage for it.  So, the process he mentions about removing corn was a random idea I came up to get the kids involved in understanding just how many foods may contain things that make dad (and many others) sick.  Like I said, no two patients are the same, and therefore, I don’t think I’ve ever done exactly the same thing with any of them.  You are unique, your body is unique, your lifestyle is unique, and the things that matter to you are unique.  That means you need a plan that fits your unique circumstances.


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