My Gut Instinct
Having Crohn's has reinforced one thing that I always say - trust your gut instinct. About 2 years ago I began to experience Crohn's symptoms and my 'gut' told me that the symptoms were not normal. I imagined the worst - cancer. I went to several doctors that were not helpful. One even told me it was stress related - which is funny because I love my life and don't find it very stressful most times. Anyhow eventually I was in so much pain that my female obgyn doc thought it was appendicitis. (I went to her because I was having issues w/ ovarian cysts also). Anyhow the scan indicated something with the intestines and I was referred to yet another GI doc. This GI doc was able to diagnose me w/ Crohns not only by colonoscopy but also via blood test. Yes there is blood test that helps diagnose Crohn's.
Since being diagnosed I have been looking for a way to deal with the disease in a more proactive manner. Most treatments that docs use today are very reactive in that they treat the symptoms after the damage from the flare. This is discouraging to me as I worry about the continued damage to the intestines eventually resulting in useless bits of intestine. Why not find a treatment that is proactive?
Then there are immune suppressing treatments that to me sound very promising for proactive efforts - but scary because they leave the patient vunerable to infections. As I have little kids and am exposed to many germs already and have history of asthma and respiratory issues I did not want to go down this path also. Additionally I read of many side affects and allergic reactions from these treatments... All these cons combined caused me to think maybe there is something better.....My gut told me to wait...
I noticed that I was able to 'manage' the disease with increase in probiotics and changes to diet. I cut out fried foods, soda, high sugar items. I cut out items with lots of preservatives. I noticed much improvement but still - flares and uncomfortable at least 1 x a month. I am sure hormones don't help. In fact there is a correlation with how hormone changes monthly do affect immune system... but that is another story.
Anyhow - so recently my doc mentioned the pig whip worm clinical trial. This treatment basically follows the hygiene hypothesis where they use the helminthic therapy to 'reset' your immune system. It doesn't cure crohn's but is proactive and shows promise of long term remission based on data from the folks already participated in the trial. Best of all the treatment has no serious side affects. I kept an eye on the news and soon found an open trial for this and the doctor. I am now signed up and am going thru the screening phase. (poo, urine, blood samples)... if they deem that I have no other diseases other than Crohn's then I can soon begin the double blind phase - where I might or might not get the real deal during a 12 week trial. AFter the 12 weeks however all participants can opt to continue in the open lab phase - where we all get the treatment.... so am hopeful it will help me.... stay tuned.