Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Ulcerative Colitis Update - July 2017

Many of you may know that after much suffering in 2014, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC). Like Crohn’s disease, UC is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) (not to be confused with IBS, which does NOT cause inflammation, ulcers, or damage to the bowel). UC is incurable and there is no “one-size-fits-all” treatment plan that works for everyone. UC is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the colon (large intestine), causing inflammation and ulceration.

In the fall of 2014, I was hospitalized, diagnosed with UC, and started on a drug called Remicade, an IV medicine. I missed two months of work that fall. By the spring of 2015, the Remicade no longer worked. I started on another IV medicine, Entyvio. It never worked. Once again, in the fall of 2015, I wound up bed-ridden, missed two months of work, and started on Humira, an at-home injection.

Now, fast-forward to the spring of 2017 at which time I began experiencing UC symptoms once again. My “maintenance” meds include sulfasalazine and azathioprine, in addition to Humira. Symptoms have progressed the last few months. Specialized blood tests show that the azathioprine isn’t showing up in my system in adequate amounts, I’m waiting on bloodwork that will measure the Humira (adalimumab) level in my blood (though we’ve already increased the frequency), and the doctor has put me on a course of prednisone, a drug with many side effects (night sweats and insomnia) which are easily outweighed by the benefits it provides during a UC flare… namely the quelling of bathroom urges so you can leave your home and allegedly it helps lessen inflammation.

Periods of being symptom-free are referred to as remission. Since I’ve blown through three big-time meds and never truly been in remission, Dr. Stephen Paul has referred me to a specialist at the University of Chicago. Tomorrow, I will meet Dr. Atsushi Sakuraba of the U of Chicago Gastroenterology Department to determine what course of action we try next? Another drug? Or is it time to consider surgical removal of my colon?

I feel better already, just having a plan in place provides some peace of mind! I guess the unknown of where we go from here was providing more mental anguish than a realized.

Here’s a blog post from someone who reminds me a bit of myself - an IBD-inflicted runner. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Fix Yourself Up for a Super Summer!


About 22 days ago, I started the 21 Day Fix Extreme, an amazing fitness and nutrition program. I was beginning to see progress and then halfway through I had to abandon the program due to my current Ulcerative Colitis (UC) flare. Due to severe fatigue, I've been taking it easy for the past week and a half. And believe it or not, healthy food isn't always the best choice. With a flare of UC, I need to avoid raw fruits and veggies, high-fiber foods, and generally stick to a low-fiber, low-residue diet. Anyway, when I'm back in remission of my UC, I'm going to give it another try!

But the big news I wanted to share is that thanks to the 21 Day Fix and Shakeology, some of the others in our group HAD AMAZING RESULTS and learned to be more conscious of their food choices and are feeling better because of it. We have another accountability/motivation group for "Fixers" starting on June 8th and the really big news is that the 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme are on special this month!! 

Let me know if you or a friend might be interested in joining the team and getting fixed up for a super summer! Shoot me an email at joan@joangrottfitness.com or find me at fb.com/joannieg.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Pieces of My Insides

NO CURE. This is my life now. I look in the bowl and see pieces of my insides. But ask me how I am and I say I'm fine. When I have a flare, like now, my immune system is literally tearing up the inside of my colon. That’s what ulcerative colitis is.

The day I got scoped at the hospital back in September when I was finally diagnosed, one of my docs said to imagine sliding into home plate wearing shorts. Do you know how your leg would look like ground meat? He said that's what the inside of my colon looked like that day. And there's no freaking cure.

So last fall the switch was flipped and this is my life. For life. 'Cause there's no dang cure. It's a life sentence. I take about 8 (on this particular day) prescription meds plus vitamins, probiotics, Tums, etc. It could easily be more. Every 8 weeks I get a 3-hour IV of a magic med.

[Excuse me, bathroom break.]

And we just keep tinkering with meds to try to find the right combination that's going to keep my body from eating my body. I'm a chemistry experiment. There are people like me out there who eventually lose their colon in an effort to save their life. And there's no cure. No answers. People do die from this. So I guess I am lucky. At least for now.

And who knew that a colon-related disease could ‘cause severe fatigue to the point that I.just.can’t. So you stay in bed all day. And joint pains so bad that you feel like if you straighten your arms your elbows are going to crack. Both arms. Because these weird pains are often symmetrical. Fortunately, I haven’t had the joint pains in awhile. Autoimmune diseases are weird and come with all sorts of possible symptoms like this. Fortunately, my usual non-colon symptoms are just severe fatigue and migraines.

I try to be upbeat about it and try to educate the masses on these diseases. I think I’ve done pretty good so far. I really think tonight was my first real lonely pity party since my diagnosis about 8 months ago. C’mon, I can’t pretend to be happy all the time. And this was a pretty crappy week at work.

Oh, I didn’t mention that what can trigger a flare isn’t known for certain. One thing that many do agree on as a trigger is stress. Stress at work. Stress on your body. Stress on your mind. And so the stress can lead to a flare, and then a flare can get you down and cause stress, and did I mention stress is thought to be a trigger for flares?

Oh, and just one more thing. Meds I take to keep my immune system from attacking my body work by weakening my immune system. I had a cold I couldn’t shake for several weeks recently. To the point that I had to go for a chest X-ray to make sure it wasn’t pneumonia. It wasn’t. So I called it “not-pneumonia” and kept hacking up my lungs. Did I mention stress on the body can potentially trigger a flare? And that flare could lead to more meds that hinder your immune system which could lead to other illness which could lead to a flare which could lead to other illness…

Oh, and I may end up with arms of a junkie, because I have to have routine blood work to make sure my meds aren’t killing me. One of my meds can cause blood cancer. And the disease itself can lead to cancer. And like cancer, there’s no cure. And like cancer, people die from it. But it’s lesser known. Because there are fewer of us.

I’m done rambling. I feel better. This time, please no comments. No messages. No “get well soon” - did I mention this is my life and there’s no cure, so there’s no getting well soon? I shared my inner thoughts tonight for educational and awareness purposes. And because writing is good therapy.

These are just the a few of the rambling thoughts in my head tonight, I'll save the rest for another time. 

I'm running the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in Vegas this fall to raise funds for a cure for IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Diseases - Crohns & Ulcerative Colitis). If you'd like to make a contribution to help fund a cure, please go to http://online.ccfa.org/goto/JoanGrott. The Crohns & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is one of the top charities out there. 80% of funds raised go toward research, education, and patient support. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Referral Rewards & Beachbody Deals

I hope you’re having a lovely April! I’d love to hear all about what you’re up to this spring and what fitness and nutrition goals you’re working toward... if we’re not already connected on Facebook, please feel free to reach out to me there at fb.com/joannieg and/or fb.com/joangrottfitness.

APRIL DEAL ALERT! Lots of great specials this month, like PiYo, P90X3, and the Ultimate Reset Challenge Packs. Also, ask me about the 3-Day Refresh and the all-new Beachbody on Demand (it's like Netflix for workouts and it's a great variety at a great value).

REFERRAL REWARDS: Can you help me? My team of Beachbody coaches is off to a great start this year, and we’re looking to expand our team! I’m looking for at least 3 new team members to join me in this great home-based business opportunity. I’m looking for people who want to help others, work from home, and like the idea of making $500 per month or per week or even more! If you know of anyone who might be interested, could you please send them my way?! If you refer a friend, and they join my team, I’ll give YOU a special gift! (You can direct them to reach me at joan@joangrottfitness.com, fb.com/joannieg, or text me at 219-649-0035.)

COMING SOON: For my Shaun T fans, it was just announced last week that his latest new program will launch this summer! To learn more and sign-up for a chance to win it, go to http://tinyurl.com/CIZEwithJoan.

Your Coach,
Joan

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Beachbody On Demand is LIVE!

Beachbody on Demand

...is a new feature inside the online Team Beachbody Club, making the Club one of the most valuable products around! With a Club membership, you’ll have unlimited streaming access to HUNDREDS of workouts from Beachbody’s collection of world-class fitness programs.

$1,000 in Value!

THIS IS WELL OVER $1,000 IN VALUE for the low price of $38.87 per 90 days. That’s like only $2.99 per week! You can’t get a gym membership for that price! If you can spare about 94 seconds, take a look at this video to learn more about Beachbody on Demand: http://youtu.be/oUVmNw1jruQ

PLEASE SHARE THIS AMAZING DEAL WITH YOUR FRIENDS! You and your pals can contact me at joan@joangrottfitness.com or on Facebook at fb.com/joannieg. Or start shopping right away at www.beachbodycoach.com/joangrott!

March Specials

For this month only, for pretty much nothing with your first month of Shakeology, you can get access to the all-new Beachbody on Demand for 90 days! Or ask me about 3-Day Refresh, Turbofire, or Focus T25 + Shakeology challenge packs, all specially priced for the month of March!

Boost Your Body Image

From time to time, we all struggle with our body image, check out some great tips for boosting your body image and self confidence: http://www.beachbody.com/beachbodyblog/weight-loss/11-tips-boosting-body-image

Let's Connect

Please reach out to me, I’d love to learn more about you and your health and wellness goals. If we aren’t already connected on Facebook, please friend me at fb.com/joannieg, or you can email me at joan@joangrottfitness.com. 

Save 25%

P.S. - If you would like to save 25% on your next Shakeology order or future products/programs you can sign up to be a preferred customer or you can earn some extra money by joining my team and doing what I do as a coach. If you’re interested, please fill out my questionnaire at the following link and I will contact you to let you know more! http://tinyurl.com/CoachWithJoanInfo

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Build a Biz While You Get Fit! (and February deal alert)

What would an extra $100 a week mean to you!?? What about an extra $500?? For me, being my own boss for a few hours per week allows me to buy some of those “wants” instead of stretching my paycheck to just cover my “needs”!

For example, this Friday I’m headed out on my annual Spring Break with my high school BFF…this year, it’s the Dominican Republic! And I'm typing this blog on my new MacBook Air! These are a few things I couldn't afford if it weren’t for my extra income. 

If you would like to know more about the Beachbody coaching opportunity, and how you can get fit and help others improve their health, please click here and complete my questionnaire and I’ll get back to you with more information.

This month only, get the 21 Day Fix, 21 Day Fix Extreme, or 3-Day Refresh plus your first month of Shakeology for just $140. If you have any questions about these awesome programs that WILL get you results, shoot me a message at joan@joangrottfitness.com or connect on Facebook at fb.com/joannieg.

Friday, January 9, 2015

New Year New YOU!

I am looking for 10 people who can dedicate themselves to losing about 5-10 pounds and would like to make extra cash by just being healthier. If you're interested in making a change in 2015, please click the link to tell me a little bit more about YOUR health and fitness goals for 2015! 

I battled some serious health issues in the fall of 2014, eventually being diagnosed with a very severe case of Ulcerative Colitis as well as Celiac Disease. Both are autoimmune diseases, that come with all sorts of other challenging symptoms. Through the struggles, I lost about 35 pounds and all my muscles. I had gone from a competitive 5K and 10K Athena runner to bed-ridden!

But it's a brand new year and I'm starting over, and I'd like YOU to join me on the new leg of my fitness journey! So please click the link to tell me a bit more about yourself, and I'll get in touch with you. If you'd like, send me a friend request on Facebook and shoot me a message letting me know you saw my blog!

Let's work together to improve our health, fitness, and wellness in 2015!

Happy New YOU!