You keep on using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. (Or does it?)

Hey, Definitely Not the Opera, a CBC podcast I highly enjoy and unreservedly recommend, mentioned ulcerative colitis in a recent episode! It’s here:

DNTO tackles The Big Decision

The mention is around the 34-minute mark: Sook-Yin says her boyfriend has ulcerative colitis, which means that “his body reacts very poorly to some foods.” They end up checking out an alternative route, but when that doesn’t cut it, he goes on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, something I investigated early on in my UC career. I hope it’s working for him.

I think it’s interesting, though, how differently I define ulcerative colitis. If someone asks me what it is, I say that A) it’s an autoimmune disorder, that B) while certain foods can set it off into a flare-up of blood and cramping and all-around sad times for everyone within ten feet of me (apologies to A. and the dog) those foods aren’t causing the UC or making it worse, and finally that C) I take maintenance, immune system-suppressing meds to control the disease.

That’s so completely different in so many ways, and I’ve gotta say, I’m a little envious of her description. It implies a lot more control – while her guy can’t eat everything he’d like to (and if you look at the SCD, it’s almost certainly a radical departure from your normal eating habits, although I’m saying that as a beer-swilling, pasta-and-chocolate-hoovering white American and Minnesotan woman. So I may be a little biased on the exact definition of “normal eating”) he can control the disease. It’s in his hands.*

With my definition, I’m at the mercy of my pills. (This is especially apparent when I forget to take them or attempt to lessen my dosages out of that silly concern for the long-term side effects.) It’s a genetic, autoimmune thing. My body’s attacking me and all I can do is hold on for the ride. Not exactly empowering, huh?

On a tangent, sometimes I do want to try the SCD. It’d be nice to live life without the worry of pills and side effects and pain, but it’s hard to imagine not having that kind of detached, smoothly operating automaton, the medication, taking control of my disease for me while I go on scarfing whatever I want to scarf. It’s hard to imagine not flaring the instant I stop taking them and change my diet. It’s also been against all my doctors’ orders and/or suggestions. So. As usual, Peppery, meet impasse.

How do you define your disease? I’m talking literally here: how do you define the actual thing that’s happening in your body? Do you let your doctors do it? Or have you come up with your own specialized explanation that fits your case more neatly? Have any of my fellow UCers out there tried the Gottschall diet?

*Literally, at one point in the podcast. Ha!

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