Right, I've had enough. Enough of being hangry (hungry+angry), enough of being permenantly hungry and enough of feeling tired and gru-u-mpy. I've binged, gorged, eaten sugar, wheat – everything really and now I've had enough. I'm starting the AIP again.
I am super excited and as motivated as a Christmas elf in December!
So what's changed? Well, I feel prepared. Not just physically, (although yes, I have bought a slow cooker and made chicken stock and beef stock, bought Michelle Tam's Nom Nom Paleo, Food for Humans recipe book (which although is not exactly AIP, is just freaking awesome all the same!) and written lists and posters, but also mentally.
When I first started the AIP last time, I was still a bit of a novice and I had under-estimated the longevity of the process. I thought I could do it in 60 days and, voila, I'd be cured! Not so. Unfortunately this is an experimental process. So far I haven't acheived my final goal of getting the HS under total control, but it has vastly improved and, boy, have I seen some other amazing results in my life! So even if it doesn't cure my HS, it is a journey well worth taking and here's why….
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2009 after at least 16 years of suffering from depression, agoraphobia, seasonal affective disorder and hideous mood swings. I was irrational, hangry ALL the time and suffered at least two breakdowns. Life was miserable. Sunshine walked into my life in early 2009 when I fell in love with my husband, Mr B. He helped me to see the good in myself and had a Mary Poppin's bag of support (God knows where he learnt to dole out love and patience like that, but if I could bottle and sell him to sad women with low self-esteem I'd definitely be on Forbes' list). Needless to say, my depression improved. A lot. I stopped taking medication nearly a year after meeting him and I was slowly getting there. In the meantime, I suffered a huge HS boil on my bikini line down in my groin (at this time I was yet to be diagnosed with HS), and had Incision and Drainage (I&D) surgery. Despite not being able to walk and the wound becoming infected, Mr B cleaned the wound daily and looked after me. My depression threatened every now and then and I was still a whopping 12 stone /76 kg/168lbs, having ballooned after taking mood stabilisers.
Gradually I felt better. I exercised more – up to four times a week in my lunch break – and I lost some weight. My mood swings were still pretty bad and if Mr B ever went away and left me for a few days, my coping abilities were limited. In short, he was my live-in counsellor and without him I was still a bit of a wreck.
Fast-forward past the eloping, new baby, emmigrating (twice), settling into our new homeland and eating a mostly-paleo diet from June 2012. I feel great! Sure I get down from time to time – especially fighting this awful disease amongst other life battles – but I'm talking overall, life-coping, getting-washed-and-dressed, general well-being. Life is just not the same terrifying, empty place anymore. There has been a dramatic shift for the better. When eating clean, I no longer crave sugar. I have ZERO energy crashes during the day. I can cope with a bit less sleep. I can go hours without food and not even think about being hungry. I lose weight. My skin is amazing. As for my depression – I can't even believe that I had it, it's been so long! Everything is just a whole lot better. When Mr B goes away now, I don't panic at all. I miss him, but I can still manage to do stuff without him – something I really struggled with before.
So, that's why I'm back here. My mood crashes have been horrible, I've found the childrens' behaviour a lot harder to cope with and I have been craving carbs again – sometimes eating so much that I feel sick. My skin had been awful and I have gained at least 7lbs. I am tired and am starting to dread not having enough sleep. Since starting the antibiotics, I got lazy again. I knew it would clear my HS up and I could sneak in the odd pain-au-chocolat here and there without suffering too bad, so that's what started to happen. My Mum sent some Cadbury's Roses over to us at Christmas and I'm ashamed to say I ate those, too.
Last November, I dipped out of the HS community online, largely because I felt like I would be contributing nothing of value. I had written all about my antibiotic experience last time and this time it didn't seem much different. I always feel bit of a fraud taking medication, when I'm such an advocate for doing it all naturally, but I'm not a die-hard hippy and I trust that the medical profession do have a lot of solutions, even if they don't suit my holistic lifestyle choices. That's also when I started eating a bit poorly again. Not out and out eating processed food all the time, but as well as enjoying French patisseries, the odd takeaway snuck in and dark chocolate became my evening pleasure once more.
Getting back on the wagon is so much easier this time. I don't have to worry about what I'll do if there's no salad AIP dressing (I eat my salad mostly nature nowadays). I don't stress if I'm being invited anywhere with food – I just eat a shed load before I go out and politely turn all their processed stuff down. Most of all I look forward to feeling absolutely effing fantastic and looking pretty darn good too, because sometimes, you can just live off the compliments you are thrown all day long Mr B has stopped taking sugar in his tea and coffee and is slowly heading towards a full-paleo existence, which is making it all seem so much more natural now, too.
With the antis working their magic, my HS has cleared up and I'm in remission. I am so happy and relieved, but I need to start eating clean again. Until last week, I was reluctant to start preparing for the reality of when the antibiotics end. Part of me wants to be a good patient and dutifully agree with my dermatologist that once the antis fail, TNF/immunosuppressant therapy is the way forward, whilst the other part of me is screaming "No freaking way! Are you out of your mind Mr Doctor??!!"
D-day is coming mid-February, when the prescription ends and I have a date with my good-looking, yet horribly ignorant and patronising dermatologist and I have decided to get my house in order.
Today, I have got a prescription to have blood tests done, refused to take umbrage at my GPs insistence that I'll be a deficient wreck in no time, am no longer scared about how I'll eat AIP everyday at work (you do know I work at McDonald's, right??) and have stocked up with lots of lovely vegetables. I have got back in touch with my lovely HS friends and am brimming with motivation (which is slightly marred by another upcoming battle with our home insurers in the UK). It's not always gonna be easy, but it's a damn sight more easier than being a hangry, horrible, out-of-control mess.
So, I'm back in the game guys and gals. Hit me up with some feedback and lets do this!