Treating and Healing: Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis: Julia Tinkham Ray’s Story

A mother is only as happy as her unhappiest child.

My own agonizing path, as I walked it with my son Lauchlan, once active, happy, bright-eyed, and easy-going, irrefutably proves that saying.  Personality changes, loss of appetite and weight, and a dark-eyed pallor progressed quickly to difficulty swallowing, mouth ulcers, more weight loss, and anal fissures.   My son resembled a skeleton by the time he was diagnosed in 2006 with Crohn’s Disease.

Crohns and Ulcerative Colitis

Lauchlan, sick and thin.

Though dubious, we began with prescribed steroids and immunosuppressant drugs while I smothered my fears by acquiring and reading everything available on Crohn’s.  I would, at times, disintegrate into tears as I hid in the closet, secretly confiding in a friend, hopeless and ineffectual as I watched Lauchlan’s body and spirit fading as he suffered.  We rode a repeating roller coaster loop of drug trials, steroids, and biologic infusions as his mild Crohn’s Disease progressed to severe. He, like many, did not do well with traditional therapies. Unable to participate in sports and with reduced school hours he became isolated from friends due to limited stamina.  The disease and endless treatments transformed him into an almost unrecognizably pale, unanimated shadow of the bright-eyed smiling boy he was, his new quietness broken by talk of wanting to end his life. With this backdrop, the gastroenterologist was recommending the next drug not yet approved for the pediatric population.  I refused.

As my son lay on the couch for weeks, joints aching, unable to eat without vomiting, and barely able to swallow sips of water, I became an advocate for him and initiated a natural nutritional approach called “The Specific Carbohydrate Diet”.  Miraculously, after fourteen months of failed treatments, within a week Lauchlan’s appetite returned and his bowel movements improved significantly.  His inflammation markers dropped 2 months into the diet and lab tests normalized 2 months later.  His disease was in remission for the first time since he was diagnosed. We were optimistic, but there still remained a missing piece to Lauchlan’s return to optimal health.

 

After searching for a doctor who would listen to me and support Lauchlan on this diet, I found Dr. Weiner of Pearl Natural Health following his presentation at a conference. Dr. Weiner played a key role in addressing Lauchlan’s weak immune system by treating gut microbial imbalance, low cortisol levels, and stressed adrenals.  He was creative and instrumental in staving off what could have been a terrible flare, when Lauchlan took on too much academically and socially his junior year of high school, resulting in a flare of symptoms and a mouth filled with painful ulcers. Dr. Weiner became the “3rd leg of the stool” as my husband says, in completing a team approach.  Without his expertise, Lauchlan would not have made the gains that allowed him control over his disease.

 

ulcerative colitis

Julia’s self portrait in the hospital.

Not surprisingly, my own body finally collapsed under the cumulative burdens of this long and arduous journey and I found myself hospitalized with a diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis.  With severe diarrhea, blood loss, weight loss, and no response to heavy IV steroids or biologic infusions, I was a month in the hospital. The surgeon encouraged me daily to have my colon removed, but instead, I started the diet that had turned my son’s health around.  I credit “The Specific Carbohydrate Diet” from Elaine Gottschall’s book, “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” for saving us both.  When I left the hospital thin and weak, hair falling out, and refusing further treatment, I knew that I would recover.

 

healing Crohn's SCD Pearl Natural Health

Lauchlan healthy upon graduation from HS.

Six years after this nightmare began Lauchlan has left for college, beaming with new confidence and strength, having beaten the devastating foe that is Crohn’s disease.  He remains in remission, drug-free and has grown 10 ¼ inches and doubled his weight since beginning “The Specific Carbohydrate Diet” with 100% adherence over 5 years ago. His almost 6 foot, 150 pound stature brings proud tears to my eyes.

I, too, regained my health and have maintained remission of my Ulcerative Colitis through diet alone.  Now, strong and content in the knowledge my son is well and happy again, my next challenge is to use all we learned on our journey to help others achieve what many experts said was impossible.

 

Julie Tinkham Ray, OTR/L SCE Support

Julia healed!

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“I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2009, and ever since then I’ve been trying drug after drug to get the inflammation and symptoms under control.  Although the drugs have helped, they certainly have not put me into remission.   I started the Specific Carbohydrate Diet over 4 months ago with Julia’s assistance, and I am never looking back.  I feel as though I’m back to my pre-UC self.  I have gotten my life back thanks to the SCD and Julia’s steadfast ways of keeping me on track and focused.  If you are considering changing your lifestyle to the ways of the SCD, I would highly recommend Julia’s services.” *– HH

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