Overcoming an 'incurable' disease

Last updated 05:00 06/07/2014
BODY BATTLE: When Irene Henninger's Crohn's disease was as it's worst, she was losing 1 1/2 kilos a day.

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I got the official diagnosis for Crohn's Disease at 18 years old.

I had so much inflammation at my ilium the camera couldn't get any further up my intestine, and the fistulae was another green light on the Crohn's Disease diagnosis.

It had been increasing in severity for a few years, and by that point I was losing 1 1/2 kilos a day, up all night in intense abdominal pain, vomiting every half hour on the dot, not to mention the usual diarrhea.

The vomiting doesn't usually seem to be a Crohn's disease symptom - it was worse.

After a few months of this, the diet I discovered created a black and white change in my outcome.

I had been experimenting with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for a while and it didn't seem to be working and I was about ready to give up. What did it for me was eating a slightly tinged green banana (only brown spotted bananas were allowed as the starch has transformed to sugar) and realising that just barely cheating kept me up all night puking.

I had so much difficulty with figuring it out because my intestines were so damaged that I could not eat just anything on the diet, but really only three or four different foods until my intestines calmed down a bit.

All I ate for the first six months were brown bananas, chicken, eggs, honey and mild cheddar cheese. I felt 100 per cent back to normal immediately. Then I was slowly able to add one more item at a time.

I did not eat any grains or starches, no sweeteners other than honey, and very little dairy.

I came back to life again. I never would have thought it would feel so good to feel 'normal'.

Occasionally, I would eat a food by accident that had corn syrup in it and I would once again be up all night puking.

After three years, I ventured into taking a bite of a super appealing pizza, expecting that well-remembered experience of intense pain and puking. No result.

That was seven years ago, and since then I've been eating, feeling normal and have only had two nights of puking. Both were when I was in a stressful situation.

I knew to go back to the diet and was fine within a few days.

I would say that each case of Crohn's Disease is different, and people all react differently to things. This may not work for everyone, but I do believe something along these lines will work for many.

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In addition to considering a diet such as this, the amount of effort and experimentation it usually takes to find what works for you is extremely difficult. 

Many conventional physicians are confident that this is not the solution. I went to one doctor who told me that this diet was a complete joke, it wouldn't work, and that no matter what I would be submitted to being fed by a tube of slop going down my throat.

He gave me cans of Ensure and Pedialite, full of highly processed ingredients which would have had me puking for days.

I have no doubt that a large majority of people suffering from Crohn's Disease have seen doctors like these, been prescribed medications which do little to nothing, and do not realise that there are lifesaving alternatives which conventional medicine has not given any credit to.

The amount of self control which is required to maintain a diet such as this is extremely difficult. There are not many people who can do it, but considering the alternatives, not following a strict diet such as this wouldn't be an option. That sure was the case for me.

I am completely healthy now and living as though I don't have Crohn's Disease. I constantly think of the conditions which I dealt with and nearly died from, and hope that some people can find an answer that will work as well for them as it did for me.

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