I'm telling of my journey over 15 years with Ulcerative Colitis and hopefully some lessons can be learned from the mistakes that I made along the way.

The story begins when I was repping for a large battery company..the customer went to the back of the shop to check stock and it started...and I knew I had to go..literally. Well, I didn't make it... and so began the first of many "moments" with my new friend UC.

They shoved me in hospital as soon as I reported bloody stools and a week later I was let out...now on Prednisolone and Sulfasalazine. The next 3 months were a salesman's dream...zooming around on a steroid high, every time I reduced the steroids though, it flared up again.

After two years of this and having dropped the S/S, Asacol and other "sweeties", I was summoned by my new specialist (No.3). "We have no choice but to operate" he told me in a wonderful, father-like, condescending manner. I refused...so he made me an appointment with the surgeon to chat it over. This guy was unreal...he was so jolly and matter-of-fact, it felt like the laughing policeman wanted to remove my bowel..no way!

We came to an impasse.. so I moved on to specialist No.4, who was so jammed with patients, I saw him once in a year. Specialist No.5 was quite a drive away but at least he suggested (after a number of years) that a bone scan might be a good idea. Pred. robs your body of calcium and the upshot was after 14 years on steroids, I was now borderline Osteoporosis...my bone density had suffered.

Amazingly, this is when I decided to take action...having fought like a tiger to keep my bowel, the steroids were going to cripple me. Now, the docs had always said "in the UK, diet is not considered a factor in bowel disease"...I started to think, surely, you are what you eat.

I tried a vegetarian diet..then low fat..then no dairy, didn't work.... so time to go on the web. That's where I found Elaine Gottschall's book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle and coupled with support from Rachel Turet's "List"...I started to eat properly.

With the docs attitude towards diet the same every time I mentioned it, I didn't tell spec. No.5 about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and food was never mentioned in our many meetings.

After completing the starter diet I immediately noticed that I felt better than I had in years. I really enjoyed the food..even relinquishing my daily sugar high with comparative ease. Then came the three month flare where, as a Elaine describes, "the bad bugs have their last party before they leave". I knew exactly what was going on and after two weeks everything subsided. It took me a further nine months..one step forward one step back..to get where I am now.

My UC is dormant and one month ago I took my last steroid..YAHOO!!!!!!

And the moral of this tale....if you have a bowel complaint stick with the meds but get on SCD.........Oh!...and try and do it a bit quicker than I did!!

Bob Ellis