Gut and Us Part 1

As you can see by the title this is a two-part post.  So stay tuned for part 2!

Over the past 12 months Pat and I have went through A LOT of change (one of my character flaws is that I tend to not embrace change well, change = stress), in addition to getting engaged earlier this year, and setting a date (yessss) we have undergone a lot of dietary changes in our household.

First some background: when I met Pat almost 7 years ago, he had been living with Crohn’s Disease for about 1 year.

At that time I was a RD2Be so I understood what that meant, and lifestyle wise what that entailed. Pat having Crohn’s disease impacted the both of us, as many chronic diseases do (impacting not just the patient, but their loved ones, family, and friends). How Pat was feeling was directly linked to stress caused by his daily life (because everyone knows that law school isn’t stressful…). Also, how Pat was feeling heavily dictated our weekend plans, vacations, holidays, etc.

Despite all of that, for two young twenty-somethings we managed together pretty well. I say “we” because I have served as his personal Dietitian this entire time. We hit a few bumps, had a few scares, but ultimately, Pat and I found routines and regimens that worked well for him/us.
A year ago that all changed.

He was in pain. I can say this now, because hind-sight is always 20/20, at the time it was easier for both of us to assume it was a typical “rough patch” from having Crohn’s. So we let things ride, until the pain progressed to such a level to that Pat had to have imaging done. Fast forward a few weeks- we were being told he had Diverticulitis.

I’m pretty sure we legit lol’d at this diagnosis, as it was done at a walk-in ready care type of clinic, so Pat took his meds as prescribed, and we went on with our lives for another few days or so. Pat was in so much pain he could barely talk, move, or lie flat. We were so impressed that he still kept going to work. 

Pat had to be hospitalized around Thanksgiving last year, and again at the beginning of this year after having surgery. It was a very long 6 months, but we did finally get a real a diagnosis for Pat- he was diagnosed with Diverticulitis. The silver lining to all of this is that we found out Pat’s diagnosis of Crohn’s was in fact a mis-diagnosis. This has made managing things much easier.

However, it still has caused some difficulties. For almost 7 years Pat had adapted to lower fiber, lower residue diet to help in managing his Crohn’s. This was combined with meds, exercise, and careful monitoring of alcohol and caffeine consumption as treatment.

A healthy diet for someone with diverticulitis is considerably different from someone with Crohn’s. Knowing that he is pre-disposed to have inflammation caused by out-pouches means there needs to be an increase in dietary fiber, with intermediate, and infrequent stretches of a lower fiber diet.

Change is hard for everyone, not just me, so getting Pat to eat more vegetables and fiber has been challenging. Fortunately, he is not a picky eater so that has helped immensely.

Looking back now, we are thankful he is finally feeling back to normal; and life in general is pretty much back to normal.

A big variable we deal with a lot is his diet. As I mentioned above he is not picky (yay!) so he has been really accepting of increasing his vegetable and fiber intake. He has also worked his way up to eating more probiotics!! What these are, and how we have incorporated them is in my next post.

But as I mentioned before “we” have made these changes. I don’t make different food for Pat or myself. The only time I did this was after his surgery and it was medically indicated as he was to be on a liquid/soft food diet, and even at that time I made most of his food so I could make sure he got enough protein. I even learned how to make bone broth. That being said we now keep more veggies than ever around the house. 

We have definitely experienced a lot of change over the past 12 months, but from where we stand now, we are both blessed with good health and now both have even more nutritious diets than a year ago! 

Stay tuned for my part 2 installment of this where I address probiotics and prebiotics and how we have incorporated them! 


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