I’m 28 years old and I have been working with Russell for three months. I am feeling so much better now than I was 3 months ago. (Rebecca’s first email to Russell is posted at the end of her story.) It’s unbelievable. I had suffered from Ulcerative Colitis (UC) for about a year and a half before I began Russell’s program. I spent most of that time trying on my own to figure out how to naturally heal myself of UC, doing all kinds of different diets, fasts, etc. I never really went on medication for the disease because I don’t have the health insurance to cover it but I did have a colonoscopy in January 2009 and was officially diagnosed. The doctors seemed like they either didn’t know what was really going on or they didn’t care. They were just there to hand out the steroids and they even went so far as to tell me that diet had NOTHING to do with the Ulcerative Colitis and that I should continue eating a “Standard American Diet.” Which means what? Pizza, hot dogs, burgers, ice cream? I still don’t really know what they meant by that comment but it sure didn’t make any sense to me. How can diet (what we eat) not be implicated in a digestive disorder?
Anyhow, I was seeing a natural doctor in the city where I live who was not a specialist in intestinal disorders and the anti-inflammatory diet he put me on was still not working. (The natural doctor had me eating raw foods and a lot of fruit.) I couldn’t eat anything at that point without causing a cramping episode where I was running to the bathroom many times a day with blood, mucus, etc. It was terrible and gross. I was feeling weaker and weaker and more depressed than ever.
Around Christmas (2009) it was so bad that I didn’t leave my bed for a couple weeks except to go to the bathroom a million times. I was searching on the internet for specialists in UC and I found Russell’s website. I emailed him a long-winded story about my troubles (see below) and he got back to me right away. First thing he told me to do was stop eating fruit and sugar and stop eating raw foods. We scheduled our Initial Consultation for the first week in January 2010. Just the simple act of eliminating the fruit and raw foods calmed my system down and I started to think that maybe this guy knows what he’s talking about.
Before my first phone conversation with Russell, I was very unsure. I don’t have money to throw around and I had already spent god knows how much on stuff that didn’t work. But what he explained to me made sense. Then I started thinking about it and realized that had it been, say, my car that was broken I wouldn’t hesitate to fix it. I probably spent more on car repair last year than I have with the whole program with Russell.
Anyway, you can’t put a pricetag on your health and I couldn’t work feeling how I was feeling. The UC was honestly ruining my life! I read the testimonials on his website and some of them (especially Grant’s Story) really hit close to home. Like almost identically describing what was going on with me. Having Russell there to talk to, someone who has also been through the same thing and has beaten it; well, it felt like really the right thing to do. I can’t really explain it but after our phone call I knew that this was happening for a reason and the right thing for me to do for myself.
Now is where it gets a little difficult and it’s why I really recommend going through the program with Russell and not just doing it on your own (unless you have a TON of willpower and are just totally confident in what you need to do). Your diet has to completely change. Not forever but for awhile. You have to stop eating the things that are “insulting” to your digestive system. You have to stop eating some of the things you love. Your friends and family will still be eating them and you will smell them and be around them but you can’t eat them. I’m not going to lie. It’s hard. It was hard for me. You will need support and you will need to spend time alone working through and breaking through some of your old habits. You have to relearn your relationship with food altogether. Is it worth it? It was for me.
This is where Russell becomes an invaluable asset. Even though I immediately started to feel better when I changed my diet, after a little while things got worse again and I didn’t understand why. Had I been going it alone, I would have probably given up at this point feeling like oh well it’s not working and now I feel worse. Once again having Russell there to keep you on track, explain exactly why what’s happening is happening, and to reassure you and motivate you will become a crucial part of your healing. At least that was the case for me.
I have now completed phase one of his program. At this point, I don’t ever have to urgently run to the bathroom. The cramping episodes have ceased. The bleeding has stopped. I have thousand times more energy than I did just a few months ago. I am at a healthy weight. I enjoy the nourishing foods that I eat. I take time with food and really enjoy it. I learned more about my body and how it interacts with my environment and how it responds to how I treat it than I ever have in my entire life just over the past few months.
I know I made the right choice in making the commitment to heal myself. There is no magic pill or procedure that will have you fixed overnight or over the next weekend. Healing is an organic process sometimes uncomfortable but ultimately an extraordinarily rewarding experience that will really balance you out as a person if you are willing to commit yourself to the process. If you have the desire to be free of these horrible diseases I encourage you to take the next step. Just take one day at a time. Good luck!
Rebecca from Pennsylvania, age 28
Carpenter, Painter March 2010
Updated in March, 2011
(below is the text of the original email Rebecca sent Russell in December, 2009)
I am a 28-year-old female and was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis over a year ago via colonoscopy. The symptoms of this disease mysteriously began to appear one day after a 3 week-long camping trip where I drank questionable water. This was in the US but a main water source during the camping trip was a spigot coming out of the ground near a river. I don’t know where the water was coming from. I am not saying this is definitely the cause, it is just something that correlated with the start of symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis; urgency, frequency, and blood in the stool. I have a long-time history of other inflammatory conditions, such as asthma and eczema. At first, there was not much blood and sometimes there was mucus. No diarrhea, no cramping.
Since then it has progressively gotten worse and worse even though I have tried various diets; gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, low residue, low fiber, high fiber. Although I definitely see an improvement with the gluten-free and dairy-free diet, sometimes just the simple act of eating causes my guts to violently cramp and I have to literally run to the bathroom just to expel nothing more than what looks to be bloody mucus. I can do nothing more than sit there and bear it as wave after wave of cramps, nausea and pain run over me. Most times there are bright red blood clots. I can go through the whole day feeling fine and then at night when I eat dinner, afterwards I will suddenly I get spasms, cramps, intense pain, gas. I am now chronically fatigued, more and more unable to do my normal activities, light headed, out of breath, I’ve lost a lot of weight, I have headaches, etc. I am just feeling miserable.
I have an appointment with a Naturopath here where I live but he can’t see me for another two months. However I did get in to see his nutritionist and he put me on an anti-inflammatory diet with enzymes and probiotics, a parasite cleanse and a nutritional powder drink (rice based) meant to heal GI tract and support health. However, I am not seeing much improvement (it’s been about a month) and the thought of waiting two more months before I can talk to the Naturopath is making me feel hopeless. I was hoping to talk to someone with experience in these issues before that time. If you are able to please contact me! Any advice would be a god-send. I am so frustrated and depressed by this illness. It is really destroying my life at this point. Thanks for your time. Sorry for the long story but that’s it in a nutshell. I hope you can help me.