I think it’s working

Crossing a narrow bridge to health?

My “biologic” drug infusion regimen, I mean.
I think my Crohn’s disease is going into remission.
I’ve done some food experiments and have been pooping like a boss.
I don’t trust that I’m fully back to normal yet – I’m still not going to experiment with chocolate or nightshades – but yeah, I think it’s working.

My third and final hospital-administered Skyrizi infusion is this Friday. To celebrate its ridiculous $20,000-a-dose price tag I’m bringing a tiara, a rhinestone-studded purse filled with fake money, and – finally – some hope.


The Autoimmune Empire: Depression

Example from my wayward youth

Depression is the mind attacking itself. It’s been called a “psychic autoimmune disease.

This morning, part of me woke up asking, what can I fix?  What problem can I attack?
I know — ME!

My motives are good: what can I purify and improve? But the target is wrong.

My impulses — to fix, to cure, to control — may be overactive and delusional, just as my immune system is overactive and confused. My Crohn’s disease is treated with immunosuppressants, designed to calm down the immune system.

My mind, over time, has learned to calm down itself. I have come to accept that I can control very little, so I have learned to give up more, to surrender. This has required me to endure some grief.

I have also simply run out of steam as I’ve aged. No wonder depression was such a problem of my youth: all that energy! All those good intentions run amok! Age itself acts like an immunosuppressant of the mind. As an older friend once told me of the remission of his own depression: “my angst circuits just burned out.”

I have recovered a lot since my severely depressed youth. But a big stress can trigger depression again, just as a big virus can trigger a body’s immune system to attack itself. In fact, having an autoimmune disease seems to be triggering some depression in me now. I can’t fix my Crohn’s disease. But my mind still responds to the stress by saying, FIX IT! Failing to fix it, my mind turns on itself, because what else does it have at hand?

Only surrender, and grief. I wish my immune system could grieve whatever it needs to grieve and leave my tissues alone. Meanwhile, I hope my mind learns to accept it, because however unpleasant Crohn’s disease is, depression is worse.


My Auxiliary Digestive System

I have a machine that chews and poops for me!

Shortly after my Crohn’s diagnosis, I bought a masticating juicer:

A masticating juicer, sometimes referred to as a slow or cold press juicer is simply a style of juicer that crushes juice out of ingredients at a slow speed. In typical masticating models, juice is extracted from foods through a strong augur/screw, which pushes ingredients at high pressure against a fine screen/sieve. This not only forces juice out of ingredients, but it is a very efficient method to ensure that all juice produced is kept separate to the remaining pulp. Link

After chewing my food, it poops out the insoluble fiber, something my own digestive tract is not capable of doing properly right now. The pulp comes out one chute; everything else (juice) comes out the other, falls into a pitcher, and gets poured down my own meat-based digestive system, where nutrients are absorbed and turned into more me without aggravating the lesions (trigger warning!) in my colon.

Better pooping through technology

After it has chewed, juiced, and pooped my food, I take the juicer apart and clean it. If I could do that to my own digestive tract, Crohn’s would be a lot easier to deal with. 

If only I could do this with my own large and small intestines.

At the bottom of the juicing chamber is a tiny port through which the fiber gets pushed as it’s separated from the liquid. Occasionally this gets clogged and the machine “backs up.” To get things moving again I merely open the pulp chute and poke at the clog with a special cleaning tool. So much easier to fix these things outside the body.

A meat-based system would require dangerous, specialized, and expensive surgery to remove an obstruction like this. My juicer requires only a plastic pick.

Hopefully my juicer will remain the only external digestive system I need. Because I really don’t want a colostomy bag.

Everything becomes compost eventually.