When I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease back at the end of December 2015 I was told during my first consultation in March 2016 that I’d undergo regular check-ups. The consultant suggested that these check-ups would take place every six months or so. As it happened my first “six month” check-up actually took place in July 2017, only 19 months after the operation and 16 months since my last check-up.

What’s Up Doc?

I’ve no idea why the gap was much larger than six months, but I did need to get onto my GP in order to finally get the appointment. It’s not that I’d had any issues to worry about, but it’s nice to have peace of mind. It’s nice to make sure nothing untoward is happening plus it’s nice to know you’re in the system should anything change. There’s also something quite reassuring about getting a “all’s OK” from the Doc!

As is, everything is more than OK. Tests back in March 2016 actually showed no signs of Crohn’s and nothing has been flagged up with the most recent test – so happy days. Even better then that is that I’ve avoided having a colonoscopy. Apparently I was scheduled to have one sometime after March 2016 but for whatever reason the appointment went AWOL and so I missed out on that life experience. I know we should embrace experiences but that’s one I can live with out!

Are You Better Then?

One question that I’ve been asked the most since the check-up is “are you better then”. According to the Consultant he can’t give 100% assurances, but he doesn’t expect there to be long term problems. Crohn’s effects people in different ways and in my case it targeted one part of my bowel. Now that part has been removed hopefully that’s it. It could return, it may not. I’m hoping not!

The question that then follows the above is “does this now change what I eat and drink”? Since the operation I’ve been caffeine free whilst I’ve not touched alcohol for over 14 months. I don’t eat raw vegetables and try and avoid processed food as much as possible, especially anything with a lot of sugar. I have no idea whether changing these diet decisions would change the current Crohn’s situation… but I’m not going to try and find out.

The Prestige

If I could clone myself then it’d be worth trying an experiment. Jason 1 carries on with his current diet whilst Jason 2 hits the coffee, booze and lettuce like there’s no tomorrow. At the end of 6 months and 12 months both Jasons are assessed. At that point I could then make an informed decision on diet – although then comes the ethical question about what to do with the clones. Perhaps a few glass boxes along the lines of The Prestige?

However, Crohn’s or no Crohn’s, the current diet regime works for me so I’m sticking with it. I dislike the smell of coffee and can’t imagine drinking it again. We were in a place in Tenby recently, a small cafe underneath the arches down by the harbour. Aside from being a claustrophobe’s worst nightmare the coffee smell was overwhelming and I had to get out into the fresh air. It’s safe to say I don’t miss drinking it!

It’s A Good News Day

It’s also saved me a fortune by not going to Starbucks and Costa. A rough estimate would be 2 coffees a week for 64 weeks – so let’s say around £300! Alcohol falls in to a “take it or leave it” category. Occasionally I do miss it, like when it’s hot and a nice cold bottle of beer would be nice, but for the most part I don’t. Not drinking has perhaps also saved a few quid over the months.

Dropping coffee and alchohol hasn’t been that difficult! Sugar is a different story! Anyone who knows me will know I’ve always been partial to the odd cake and biscuit. However, since the op I’ve cut back dramatically. I don’t abstain but I do find that shop bought or cafe bought cakes tend to be a little bit too sweet now.

Out Of Adversity Comes Opportunity

In fact I prefer making my own treats using healthy cookbooks and recipes for inspiration. Current favourites are the carrot and apple muffins that are in one of The Body Coach’s books. Who’d have thought that I’d be swapping lovely creamy cupcakes for carrot and apple muffins which have no added sugar and are made using ricotta instead of butter.

So all in all it’s good news! I’m feeling a lot lot healthier and eating a lot lot healthier. The events of December 2015 and the few months following that may well have been tough, but what has come from it has been life changing in so many ways. We all suffer adversity during our lives but it’s possible to change things round so that you come out stronger.