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Thursday, October 27, 2011
Go Tucker! Last night I read the book Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: A Journey Through Life, Ulcerative Colitis, and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.
I planned on reading a chapter or two but flew through it in one sitting. Quick paced and well written, the book details Tucker Sweeney's experience with ulcerative colitis and how he started using the SCD.
Tucker starts out as a super-healthy, low-key but intense 23-year-old in Idaho: an experienced carpenter, a serious climber**, and a college student with the enviable job of working at the school's outdoor program. (The job's "office" is a beach hut by a lake where he rents as well as tests kayaks, sailboats, canoes, and rafts.)
When ulcerative colitis hits, things go downhill quickly. Instead of spending mornings looking out over the lake, Tucker finds himself huddling in a port-a-potty "head in my hands, face perspiring from the intense contractions [cramping]."
With the toilet filling up with blood and the earliest appointment from any GI a month away, Tucker decides he doesn't want to spend $1,000 for an ER visit, and toughs it out for 30 days: barely sleeping because of pain/urgency and physically wasting away.
Tucker's honesty and courage, opening up to describe physical and emotional details, will connect with anyone who has suffered from IBD. What gives additional depth to this book are the chapters from his mother Carol's point of view: By the tone of Tucker's voice, she knows what's going on with his health. Tearful nights are not uncommon after speaking with Tucker on the phone or after he visits. She's incredibly supportive without over-stepping, and, as Tucker acknowledges, without her support he may not have made it.
I was initially pulled into the book by the foreword written by Katie, Tucker's wife, who is an experienced nurse (and now nurse practitioner.) Her perspective on IBD and men's often-procrastinating attitude about getting help rang true. She also offers a glimpse of her work experiences: how nurses sometimes perceive IBD as well as how it's difficult for medical practitioners in a hospital setting to even mention diets such as the SCD.
If you have Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, or know someone suffering from these diseases, it's definitely worth reading this book. The ending is uplifting and Tucker still climbs mountains--real ones:)
"Two Steps Forward, One Step Back" may be ordered through Lucy's Kitchen Shop or www.amazon.com.
* Tucker is a serious climber, tackling famous places that many people now identify as brand names for jackets or upscale strollers.