As many of you know, my journey with Crohn’s disease has been a long and complicated one. Conventional medications and treatments stopped working for me (and that’s assuming they ever worked in the first place), and many of them left me with debilitating side effects. Some even came close to killing me (I’m looking at you, mercaptopurine). So when I found a lifestyle diet that helped reverse a lot of that damage and help me manage my Crohn’s disease, it felt like an absolute miracle.
The problem is, even with the wonders of an anti-inflammatory diet, I still have Crohn’s. And I’m still left with other complications, like fibromyalgia, fatigue, and anxiety. Although a Paleo diet helps me manage these conditions, the reality is, it’s not a cure.
Still, I’d like to think that I’m moving forward, and never backward. I’d like to think that I’m working towards greater healing every day. But the truth is, my disease has a mind of its own, and it’s not unusual for me to face setbacks along the way.
One of those setbacks began in October of last year, when I discovered that I’d developed something called histamine intolerance. If you’re wondering what that is, it’s a complicated answer (and I’m still learning about it myself), but let’s just say that my body is unable to properly manage histamine, leaving excess histamine in my system. While I still have work to do to figure out all the root causes, it explains many of the mysterious symptoms I’ve been experiencing, like headaches (sometimes migraines that last for days), dizziness, skin rashes, hives, angioedema (facial swelling), sinus inflammation, fatigue, anxiety, and cognitive impairment, like “brain fog” and difficulty concentrating.
In my case, this condition is largely triggered by the combination of consuming high histamine foods and most likely having “leaky gut” (aka intestinal permeability, which is common with Crohn’s).
One of the critical ways to treat histamine intolerance is to follow a low histamine diet. But here’s the (confusing) catch: many of the foods I was eating to heal my Crohn’s are the same foods I now have to avoid because they are high in histamines. Meanwhile, one of the critical ways to heal a histamine intolerance is to heal the gut. But the foods I’m supposed to eat to heal the gut are those exact foods I’m supposed to avoid because they are high in histamines. It’s a vicious circle, and I’m caught in it.
Trying to treat both my Crohn’s and histamine intolerance at the same time leaves very few foods I can eat. This makes it unrealistic to follow either plan fully, but I do the best I can. It’s a constant balancing act. I’ve had to adjust the foods I’m eating, and unfortunately, my “low histamine” dietary choices are now taking a toll on my Crohn’s management and exacerbating my Crohn’s symptoms.
I want to be clear that I don’t yet have an official diagnosis when it comes to my histamine intolerance and what is causing all these symptoms. I’m currently looking for the right specialist to address this and whatever other imbalances may be going on in my body.
In the meanwhile, I’ve been struggling. These rotating symptoms have made everyday tasks even more difficult than usual. Even keeping this blog updated has been a challenge. And I’m not gonna lie: I feel defeated at times. I feel discouraged because after all the work I’ve done, I’m not making the progress I’d like to.
That being said, I’m not backing down from this fight. I’m determined to get to the bottom of things and hopefully uncover the root cause of all of these health challenges, once and for all.
On a positive (and unrelated) note, I’m excited to officially introduce the newest addition to our family: Miss Sadie. We adopted Sadie a couple of months ago. Even though it hadn’t even been two months since Luciano’s passing, we wanted a companion for Spencer, and we wanted to give a home to another rescue dog in need. Sadie is a 20 pound chihuahua mix, and she’s full of sweetness, sass and spunk. She has adjusted relatively well in our home (aside from some occasional potty accidents, which we’re working on)!
We adopted Sadie from the spcaLA.
Having my dogs near me is definitely therapeutic and helps get me through each day. So I’m grateful to have my little fur babies by my side.
As for my health, I’m continuing to push through it and look forward to uncovering the root cause of my symptoms and finding solutions that I can eventually share with you. I hope I can start giving you some positive updates soon.
I might feel discouraged, but I’m not giving up.