Sick of Being Sick

I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis 6 years ago, while not a scary death warrant on its own, my gastroenterologist also removed several tubular adenomas at the time, a type of pre-cancer not normally found in people until they start to reach their 60’s.  He asked me about family history and I told him my grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother all died of colon cancer.  So I had pre-cancer and was genetically predisposed for full-blown colon cancer and I was going to the bathroom with bloody watery stools up to 30 times a day and too sick to leave my house. I was 28 at the time. I was put on 60 mg of prednisone. A powerful steroid and lots of other heavy-duty prescription drugs. I went from a healthy weight of 125 to over 200 lbs in 9 months on the drug. Not only did I gain the weight, but I also developed horrible acne. I grew facial hair. I couldn’t sleep and I felt crazy and was not a nice person to be around. I would cry when I looked in the mirror. During this time I heard more than one stranger laugh at me or call me a fat behind my back. Good times.Image

When I was finally able to wean myself off the drug. I asked the Dr. if the weight would just come off. He laughed and said I would have to work it off like I had been eating cheeseburgers for 9 months. I worked out 2 hours a day at the gym for a year and at the end of the year I ran a half marathon. Yes, I lost all the weight. I have since had a colonoscopy every year, and have often had to go back on prednisone in order to get my colitis symptoms under control. One time I was even prescribed steroid enemas. Super Fun! All while taking lots of insanely expensive monthly maintenance drugs. However, at my last colonoscopy it showed I had developed more tubular adenomas and had to have them removed. Pre-cancer again.


I thought I had been eating healthy, exercising and taking care of my body and was devastated. Somewhere around this time, my brother came and stayed with me and we ran a halloween half marathon with me one weekend dressed as twin nacho libres. He has been vegetarian or vegan on and off for the last 15 years. We watched a film together “Forks over Knives” I didn’t really pay attention to it at the time because I was watching kids, making dinner and generally a little uninterested.

Then I woke up one morning looking like this:


My face was totally swollen and sore. I was scared and had no idea what was happening to me. I had at other times had swelling in my hands, feet, or welts on my torso. I knew they were autoimmune related. I talked with my physician and he recommended: you guessed it, prednisone again. NO THANKS! I had several more facial swelling incidents over the next couple of months. My colitis had been under control thanks to an awesome probiotic a neighbor had introduced me to, but my body was still clearly not healthy and I refused to go on steroids again. At this point somewhere in my head I thought of the film “Forks over Knives” again. I watched it, and realized maybe I could heal myself by changing my diet. I also watched a film called “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” The main guy in the film had similar autoimmune issues to mine and reversed his health issues through his diet.  I talked with my spouse and we agreed to go Plant Based Whole Foods Diet together.

37 thoughts on “Sick of Being Sick

    • Those eggs were a lie! They give me no nutrients. Your only job is to cook. Do you not realize I have had diarrhea since Easters?

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  3. Thank you SOOO much for sharing your story Somer. It is very inspiring. Little Sis has watched Forks Over Knives and I’ve been avoiding it holding onto my willingness to eat eggs and maybe a few other animal products. Yet my husband has some health issues that may benefit from palnt based diet. I know what we will be watching this weekend.

    • Don’t make me cry!

      Changing my diet has changed my life! Plain and simple. I was living before, but the quality of my life was so poor that I was often depressed and miserable. I have not only found an increase in health, but a clarity of mind. My husband says he is surprised by how much clearer he thinks and how much more productive he is at work and at home. It affects so many facets of our lives.

      Our 3 year old who wouldn’t touch vegetables before now eats nearly everything I put in front of him. Proof that if you keep putting a healthy option in front of your kids, eventually they will eat it. He is also somehow more well behaved then before!?! My 8 year old has found relief from all her indigestion issues and her eczema and asthma has totally cleared up.

      We love our diet so much and we were discussing over the weekend how sad it is that we didn’t do this before because we didn’t have the knowledge we needed. We also talked about how if people really knew about how much diet is SO directly linked to health, there might be a lot more healthy eating going on.

      I’m so grateful for your comments because one of my purposes in sharing on the blog is to motivate others, not to become vegan necessarily, but the eat more whole, plant-based foods. How can you not benefit from that? 😉

      I think you will really enjoy “Forks Over Knives.” The thing that impressed us the most is that there weren’t any shock tactics or gross animal slaughter footage. Just scientifically and medically backed up facts about how what you put into your mouth can prevent you from going under the operating knife (hence the title). LOVE IT!


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  6. Wow! Your story is inspirational! I’m not ready for a vegetarian diet yet, but I have certainly started eating less protein from meats. A lower fat diet is recommended for MS, and I have been working at that too.

    • Thanks for reading my story. From looking at your blog, your diet is really healthy. I have learned a thing or two from you 😉 I’m not ready to go deodorant free or join the ‘no poo’ movement, but maybe we can meet somewhere in the middle 🙂

      • I wish I could say the same for the mineral salts. I’m not so worried about the sweat as the stink, and that just didn’t work for me in that department. However some other bloggie friends have pointed me in the direction of a more powerful formula. Need to give it a go. Toxins under the armpits going right into your blood stream can’t be a good thing, eh?

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  8. What an incredible post! Thank you for sharing this. What an incredible difference diet and exercise has made in your life. You’re motivating me to be a little more active myself.

    p.s. I hope to get around to watching the two films you mentioned.

    • Thanks! Running saves me! And yes, watch those films if you get the chance. Everyone I know who watches them can’t help but think differently. Even if they don’t entirely remove animal products from their diets, they eat less of them.

    • Thanks! Yay for forks over knives! I’m not GF, but many of the recipes on our recipe page are! Do you have celiac sprue or just a sensitivity to gluten? I tried eliminated it for a while and when I reintroduced it I found it didn’t affect me at all. Which is good because I’m a bit obsessed with bread 😉

  9. It takes A LOT OF HEART to post a real, troubling story about yourself. You are well on your way to sculpting a healthy future. AMAZING!

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  11. Hi Somer, thanks for sharing your life story with everyone. I was very touched and I could read the pain you must have been going through your honest account your battle you had. When you think about it for something so easy to do and the curing part which does not involve in making you ill and the pharmaceutical company’s shareholders even more richer than already are. Eating this way makes perfect sense to me.

    Have you shared your story on the Forks Over Knives website ? I think you can really motive people to getting better.

    Cheers mate,

    • Thanks. 7 months into plant based diet with only a few accidental errors (mostly at restaurants). Feel great! Off all medications and really happy. Eating this way makes perfect sense to me too and I wish I had known earlier what I know now so I didn’t have to endure those challenges. Ah well, live and learn right?!?

      Wow, thanks for the Forks Over Knives link, I hadn’t thought about that. I just looked up that link and read some of the articles there. It’s great that so many people are finding benefit from a plant based diet. I will think about sharing it!

    • Thanks Anne! It has been a long journey for sure, but I’m super grateful to have found a way to take control of my own health and not be reliant on doctors and prescriptions. My quality of life has changed more than I can express!

      • I am sure!! I applaud your journey Somer – I love that you took your health in to your own hands!!!
        I will be writing a post about people who have taken charge of their own health and made incredible shifts. I would love to include you and refer to your blog!!!

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  14. Hi Somer!

    Loved reading your story! It gives me hope 🙂 . My boyfriend of 5 years was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis about a year ago. He was on prednisone but also experienced horrible side effects and they are now trying to give him an injection called remicade (not sure of the spelling). I have only been a vegan for about 2 months and have been trying to persuade my boyfriend towards the vegan diet as well. He tried it for about 2 days and then reverted back to processed foods, meat and dairy. I think it is hard for him to change due to his lack of knowledge, society and family life (also non-vegan). Any suggestions on what I can do to help him (I already had him watch forks over knives etc.)? And how long were you on the vegan diet before you noticed your colitis syptoms (bloody diarrhea, urgency etc.) went away?

    I also loved your blog on Chef AJ!

    Thank-you for sharing your story 🙂

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