Oct 112016
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img_0723By Eugene L. Heyden, RN

If you’re going to come down with Crohn’s, try to put it off as long as possible.  Try to wait until you are at least in your mid- to late-fifties.  I interviewed someone who did just that.  Her name is Phyllis.  This is her story:

Phyllis, a grade school teacher (no stress here!), was diagnosed with Crohn’s on October 16, 2008.  A colonoscopy made the diagnosis easy, and it also showed her disease to be extensive and in a very advanced stage.  Surprisingly, leading up to all this, Phyllis was not all that ill, or so she thought.

About five, perhaps eight years prior to diagnosis, Phyllis began having an occasional bout of diarrhea (like, who doesn’t), sometimes a little bloody, but most of the time, normal (if you can call diarrhea “normal”).  But nothing during this period of time raised any red flags, as these episodes were self-limiting and infrequent . . . until they weren’t.  In the weeks leading up to her decision to seek medical attention, her diarrhea increased in frequency and, shall we say, “accidents happen?”  Well, you just can’t go through life afraid the next “accident,” like midway through you grocery shopping experience or right there in front of your highly impressionable students, so Phyllis decided it was time to find out what exactly was going on.  Pain “daily” was also occurring, which undoubtedly gave the whole matter a certain sense of urgency.  And now we’re back to October 16, 2008.

Unmistakably, the colonoscopy revealed that Phyllis had Crohn’s, and a severe case to boot.  And a round of steroids was the first order of business—maybe this could calm things down?  But it wasn’t long before this course of action ended, and ended abruptly.  Approximately two weeks after starting steroid therapy Phyllis broke out with a red, bumpy, painful rash all over her body.  “Stop the steroids, and see me in the office at the next available appointment,” was the advice given to her by her physician.  She took his advice.

In the meantime, while waiting for her follow-up doctor’s appointment, Phyllis’s husband began a search for answers.  Somehow, he stumbled across a website featuring The Sherry Brescia’s Diet.  To him, it looked promising.  He shared this finding and his thoughts with his wife, and both came to the conclusion that it was worth a shot.

So it was agreed, “Let’s buy the diet book.  Let’s give it a try!”  And like a good patient, Phyllis shared her intention to follow this diet with her gastroenterologist.   Surprisingly, he agreed!  So The Sherry Brescia’s Diet was started in February of 2008.  Within one month, in her words, “I was feeling great!”  Pain “daily” was a thing of the past; an accident was exceedingly rare.  Grocery shopping became a delight!  By the way, the diet in question is based on the premise that by careful food combining, you can decrease the complexity of digestion, decrease the acidity of the body, and, thereby, resolve not only diseases of the gut but other medical conditions as well.  Sherry Brescia developed this diet after “curing” her irritable bowel syndrome by following a food-combining diet.

Phyllis continues to follow her version of The Sherry Brescia’s Diet—simply avoiding starches and protein foods during the same meal—and she rarely feels ill.  If she strays too far from the diet, GI symptoms return and her husband does all the grocery shopping (I made that up).  Needless to say, she seldom strays.  She has managed her Crohn’s symptoms by diet for now over seven years.  Way to go Phyllis!  And she did this all without the use of medications.  This is quite as story, but there is more.Phyllis’s gastroenterologist was so impressed with her response to the diet, he actually suggested it to a few of his other patients who reportedly achieved similar results.  But there is even more!

Approximately five years after her Crohn’s diagnosis, Phyllis decided it was time for a follow-up colonoscopy.  This time, it was performed by a new gastroenterologist (her previous gastroenterologist had moved on).  Shortly after the procedure ended, the new gastroenterologist reported his findings:  “Your colon is completely healthy!  There are no signs that you ever had Crohn’s.”  (Actually, after reviewing the images of the original colonoscopy, performed some five years earlier, he had great difficulty in believing that this was the same colon he had just scoped.)

I learned a few things of relevance when I interviewed Phyllis.  She had been a vegetarian all her life, she was lactose intolerant and avoided milk, and later in life avoided wheat products—all factors that may have helped her over the years in her battle against Crohn’s.  But clearly, it was The Sherry Brescia’s Diet that allowed Phyllis to achieve success.


Excerpt from

More to Consider in the Battle Against Crohn’s

Copyright © 2015 Eugene L. Heyden, RN

All Rights Reserved

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