IBD

Big News

We have been in North Carolina for almost two weeks now. We had to unexpectedly cut our time in Tennessee short to head back to NC on business. In the end, it seems to have been Providence. And we have big news

We have had a most wonderful 6 months traveling the country in our RV. It was such a huge blessing! But, I have really been struggling with UC for several months now and we have all decided that the best thing for our family right now is to move into a house. We found a great house just outside of Asheville, NC. So, a new adventure begins!

I just want to clarify one thing… traveling did not make me sick. Traveling did not make me sicker. I was sick in my house before leaving on this trip. It is no harder to be sick in an rv than it is in a house. The reasons we are moving into a house have nothing to do with being sick and everything to do with convenience for myself and my family while I am sick. For example, four people sharing one bathroom when one of those people has a UC flare – not convenient! LOL! (I just don’t want to give the impression that a disease can/should stop you from doing the things you want to do. You can be sick just as well in one place as another… it is just a matter of comfort.) So, live life and be happy! Chose your own limitations and don’t let anyone else determine what you can or cannot do!

Here are some pictures of our visit to a local apple orchard and Pisgah National Forest two weeks ago when the leaves were just beginning to change –

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Categories: going mobile, IBD, National Forests, North Carolina, Ulcerative Colitis | 3 Comments

Hello, Tennessee!

We left South Carolina Friday afternoon and stopped in Georgia for the night. I wasn’t feeling very well, but I managed. Saturday morning we left Madison, Georgia and headed for Chattanooga, Tennessee. It was rough. Really rough. They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… and, quite frankly, I wasn’t sure which way it was going to go. Thankfully, I survived. And, praise God, I woke up Sunday morning feeling the best I had in weeks. I have a ways to go, but I am definitely headed in the right direction!  Hooray!!!

Somewhere between Atlanta and Chattanooga we blew out a trailer tire.  Amazingly enough, this was only the second time we’ve been broken down alongside the road. Poor Nick had a heck of a time changing the tire (Note: be sure you have the right jack for changing a travel trailer tire. Yeah.). But, he got us back on the road rather quickly and we were off again.

We are staying at Raccoon Mountain just outside of Chattanooga. Tennessee is beautiful and we are loving it. We are eagerly awaiting the leaves changing colors. What an amazing place to enjoy the beauty of autumn!

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Categories: Georgia, IBD, rv repairs, South Carolina, Tennesse, Ulcerative Colitis | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Moving Along

I just wanted to thank everyone for keeping me in their prayers.  I have been feeling a little better each day. I am moving in the right direction!

Speaking of moving along, we are heading on to Tennessee this afternoon. Ready or not. I’m not really feeling well enough to travel, so wish me luck!

Tennessee, here we come! 

Categories: IBD, South Carolina, Tennesse, Ulcerative Colitis | 2 Comments

Down for the Count

I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything about South Carolina, but there is really nothing for me to say. I have been too sick to leave the RV, so, sadly, I have not been able to see anything. It has been a great disappointment. (What do I mean by “too sick to leave the RV”? I am running to the bathroom 20-30 times a day. I am in terrible pain. And I am spending almost all my time flat on my back, because sitting up or laying in any other position causes increased pain and sends me immediately back to the bathroom.  Such is life when you are having a UC flare.)

Fortunately,  Nick was able to take the kids out this weekend to explore Charleston. They went on a horse drawn carriage tour through the city, visited the beach, and took a ferry to a fort.  Hopefully,  he will post about their adventures soon!

I just want to make a quick note for others, particularly with IBD (http://www.thegreatbowelmovement.org). I do not believe traveling had any part in this flare up. And I still believe that traveling in an RV is the best way to travel with IBD. I an so thankful to have my own bed and my own bathroom with me everywhere we go! With IBD there will be flares, but I hope this doesn’t discourage anyone from setting off on adventures.

Categories: IBD, South Carolina, Ulcerative Colitis | 2 Comments

South Carolina

(Blogging from my phone again.  I’m sorry for the strange typos/autocorrects in the last post!)

Last week we had a fairly quiet, relaxing time staying at the NC State Fairgrounds campground. Of course, being surrounded by the ever busy fairgrounds and across the street from NC State’s football field made for some interesting neighbors and noises (Hello, loud marching band music lovers from Clemson University! Haha).  If I had been feeling better, we would have taken advantage of some of the festivities around us.

I am currently in a full-blown UC flare up. I had switch to a plant-based (vegan) diet 2 years ago and it changed my life! Seriously! Within days of the switch, most of my UC symptoms disappeared. It was a miracle. There were some small bumps in the road, but I was able to lead an almost normal life for a year and a half.  Unfortunately, I had a bad flare after using pain medications this past February/March. I have been up and down ever since and have not been able to get into a stable remission.  I work extremely hard to manage my symptoms, but autoimmune disease have a mind of their own. Sometime this disease refuses to be controlled. The struggle continues.

Traveling during a flare up of this disease is not fun. But, I gathered my courage and off we went! We headed south and we are staying just outside of beautiful Charleston, SC. I can’t wait to explore this amazing city and the nearby coastline!

 

Betsy and George making friends with our new neighbors here in South Carolina.

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Categories: IBD, South Carolina, Ulcerative Colitis | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Raleigh

We decided to leave the lively state park and head for the city today. We lived in Raleigh from 2010-2012, so it is a familiar spot for us. We had a great day! We had a quick visit with friends, lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, visited our usual used bookstore stops, and shopped at Whole Foods.

Steven’s Bookstore usually has a decent selection of used textbooks. I was hoping to find George a good science book and U.S. geography for both kids. I found the perfect science book (hooray!). I didn’t find the right geography text, but I found a fantastic history book. I also picked up two Agatha Christie paperbacks for myself. Oh, how I loved used books!

I was happy to finally get to Whole Foods. I have been back on a probiotics kick and wanted to try some different sources of good bacteria to supplement the bacteria I am taking in pill form. Probiotics are good for everyone, but they are extra important for those of us with digestive diseases. I never seem to be able stick with it for long (Which is mostly because they make me feel worse rather than better. Supposedly, eventually that passes, but I have yet to find out because I give up too quickly.), but here I go again. My friends in Virginia introduced me to kefir. I did not like the taste, but I drank it from time to time for my health. Today I tried kombucha for the first time. It isn’t my favorite, but I did like the taste better than kefir. The aftertaste, however, was pretty similar – ick! Maybe it will grow on me. Maybe.

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Categories: homeschooling, IBD, North Carolina, roadschooling, Ulcerative Colitis | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Elemental, my dear Watson

Elemental? Yes, elemental. I have been struggling with a UC flare for a few weeks now. I decided to go briefly on an elemental diet in an attempt to halt the bleeding without having to take extra drugs. An elemental diet is a “pre-digested” liquid that is easily absorbed by the body and therefore gives the digestive system a rest. I have used this diet in the past and I have had success when the bleeding isn’t too bad and I manage to stay on it long enough (#1 It is hard not to eat food. Really hard. If you don’t believe me, try it! and #2 The stuff tastes horrible! Really awful.). In good news, the bleeding seems to have stopped. It is my prayer that I am healing.

I am thankful for this beautiful, quiet spot to rest and (hopefully) recuperate. I am sure this park is going to fill up and be crazy over the holiday weekend, but for now I am making the most of the tranquility. I don’t always understand God’s plan, but I know He is always good and I can rest assured by that fact.

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Categories: IBD, North Carolina, Ulcerative Colitis | Leave a comment

3 Months On the Road

I haven’t blogged much lately. First, I have been in a bit of a blogging slump. Some days I just don’t feel like writing. Second, we have been busy having fun with friends and family, which hasn’t left a lot of time for blogging (Keeping up with a blog takes a lot more time than I had imagined!). Third, I have been struggling with my health for a couple of weeks. Ulcerative Colitis flares make me tired.

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We are enjoying the last of our summer with dear friends in Virginia. Sunday we arrived back in Lynch Station, VA, where our journey began, on the 3 month anniversary of the start of our travels.  What a wonderful three months it has been for our family!  I can’t believe how much we were able to pack into our summer!

Our official summer will soon be coming to a close. We’ll be starting school and slowing the pace of our travels. Summer was a lot of fun, but traveling at that speed isn’t sustainable for too long. We are looking forward to traveling at a slightly more leisurely pace and getting back to a bit more of a normal routine.

 

 

 

 

Speaking of summer coming to an end, our son Caleb is moving into his dorm today. We are excited for him. He is a great kid and we know he’ll do well, but we sure are going to miss him! I know that it is normal and natural and good for kids to grow up. I get it. I do. But, this kind of chapter is painful to close. I know the next chapter in our relationship will be wonderful in its own way, but I will miss this one… the one where I get to see him every day! And oh-how-thankful-I-am for the time we got to spend with him this summer! It was truly a blessing!

I will never stop loving and letting you go. A mother and child live the first great love story and there is no love story without loss, and this is always gain. -Ann Voskamp

An excellent blog post from Ann Voskamp for all of you parents… bring a tissue!

How to Be the Parent You Want to Be: 40 Things Every Child Must Know Before They Leave Home

Categories: IBD, Ulcerative Colitis, Virginia | Leave a comment

Redwood, Some REALLY Tall Trees

We have spent two chilly, wet, fabulous days in the Redwood Forest.  Redwood National and State Parks are amazing! Amazing! I am incapable of capturing the grandness, height, and beauty in my words or pictures. If you have never been to the Redwoods, you really should see these awesome trees for yourself.

“The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.” -John Steinbeck, Travels With Charley: In Search of America

(click on pictures to view them larger)

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It is a tree lovers paradise. And even if you are not the tree hugger type, this just might make a lover out of you.

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Monday my husband wanted to hike Fern Canyon in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. The 8 mile drive to the canyon was fantastic with tall moss covered trees and ferns all along the road. Towards the end of the drive the ocean comes into view. Just lovely!

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Unfortnately, I was having an IBD day and the bumpy ride was not helpful. I rested in the car while my family hiked. My husband said that it was one the most beautiful places he has ever visited. He brought back these pictures from Fern Canyon.

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I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.  -e.e. cummings

Categories: California, IBD, National Forests, National Parks, state parks, wildlife | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

Awareness and Empowerment

I have a digestive disease called Ulcerative Colitis. It is a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. I wrote about it here.  I know, that’s not very exciting, but this is… 

After seeing the above mentioned post, I was contacted by The Great Bowel Movement,  “a social awareness movement with the goals of empowering patients associated with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) including Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, as well as J-Pouch and Ostomy, to embrace their disease, be proud of their experience, and spread awareness throughout their communities “.  The Great BM offered to send me one of their t-shirts in exchange for pictures of me wearing it as I travel during my great RV adventure.  Of course, I said yes! I am so excited to have the chance to encourage and inspire others living with IBD to get out there and live their lives to the fullest.

Here are some of the reasons I love The Great Bowel Movement and am excited to be a part of this movement…

#1. The Great Bowel Movement works to educate the public about Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).  It is so awesome to come across people who already know about this disease. It saves me from having to explain it and not having to explain makes me feel more “normal”.

#2. They call themselves “The Great Bowel Movement”! Living with this disease is so much easier when you learn to keep your sense of humor. I love that they understand and embrace this notion fully!

#3. Their slogan is, “Making Crohn’s and Colitis cool since 2010”. Through humor and inspiration, they encourage people with IBD to not be ashamed of their disease. Let’s face it, the very nature of the disease makes it rather embarrassing. The symptoms can make life awkward and even humiliating at times.  The first several years having IBD, I struggled with the embarrassment. I was always trying to figure out how I could attempt to appear normal to people in spite of my symptoms. Fortunately, I have made peace with it. Instead of hiding my disease, I am very open and forward about my condition. When I make new friends I tell them I have IBD (I find humor works well, so I often start by saying I have a “crappy” (haha) disease) and simply explain that there may be times that I can’t eat in social situations, or that I may run off to the bathroom mid-sentence, or that I will sometimes have to cancel plans at the last minute. People are very understanding and by being upfront about it, my IBD becomes a non-issue.

#4. Through The Great Bowel Movement’s facebook page, I have found community. Though I have always researched my disease and read everything I could by both professionals and patients, I haven’t always sought community with others living with IBD. I spent the first several years after my diagnosis living in denial. I didn’t want to have a disease. People with IBD are sick and I didn’t want to be sick. I didn’t want to be one of them.  But, I have come to embrace the support and encouragement of community. They are my people. We have IBD.

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A BIG thank you to The Great Bowel Movement!

Categories: IBD, Ulcerative Colitis | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

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