Thursday, May 1, 2014

Sean's Story

A couple years ago, my 8 year old son developed Crohn's disease like me. But he was much sicker after two years than I had been for much of my life.  He missed weeks of school, could barely get out of bed and even while taking prednisone, continued to get worse and then developed infections.  We turned to Remicade and it got better for a while but after the prednisone was stopped, he became sick again - after just a couple months of recuperation. We were facing adding Methotrexate and more prednisone or even surgery.

Desperate to try something different, I took him to a functional medicine doctor I had heard good things about.  I had seen the results she was getting from a couple friends and acquaintances.  I was already convinced that the right diet would help, but he had avoided gluten and lactose for 6 months and it didn't seem to help so I wanted professional help before I forced him to avoid more foods while he was so sick and losing weight.

She immediately put him on the Paleo diet and then ran a bunch of tests to check for additional antigens to foods.  I was shocked at the recommendation because I thought we would test first, maybe do an elimination diet or cut out gluten and dairy but I never suspected that other grains would be bad for us, much less beans and lentils!

Full of trepidation but willing to try anything at that point, we started the Paleo diet within a couple days.  Like many people, there was a week or two of discomfort, some yeast over-growth, easily treated, but by week 3 we could see some significant improvement.  He didn't need to go to the nurse several times per day at school, his stomach aches were better, and he seemed to be fairly happy about eating the new diet.  After tests also ruled out eggs, I baked new muffins, found new ways of filling him up (weight loss was a big concern) and kept at it.  By week 6, he was no longer having any symptoms of Crohn's disease!  It had been a full year since he was that healthy and you could just look at him and see how good he felt.

Does it work for everyone?  I don't know, but I was not fully following the diet at first even though I had been having a mild flare-up of my own .  When the flare-up became serious, I started following it completely and 4 weeks later, my symptoms started to clear up. I seldom have flare ups (however, I am always on medicine), but when I do, it usually takes many rounds of prednisone and new medicine, lasting as long as a year in order to calm my immune system down again.  It's been six months now and I'm feeling pretty good and do not doubt that following this diet was what stopped the flare up.  Both of us are now reducing our medication and hope to stop them eventually.

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