In today’s episode, Crohn’s Warrior and food challenge competitor, Michael Simmons, shares his IBD story. From his first Crohn’s symptoms in 2008 to his ileostomy surgery in 2017, he’s now not only raising awareness for ostomy patients, but also raising the bar for eating without a colon.
From Remicade infusions that put him into anaphylactic shock to medical marijuana, Michael talks about the various treatment options he’s tried and what led to his decision to finally have his ileostomy surgery. He tried various diets over the years, from the Specific Carbohydrate Diet to the Low FODMAP Diet, in combination with medications, but never reached remission.
During his hospital stay after his ileostomy surgery in 2017, Michael had the idea to start doing food challenges. Having had such a restrictive diet over the years, it was a fun way to start enjoying food again and to show others that surgery didn’t mean continued sacrifice with food. He immediately began advocating for ostomy patients and started his Instagram account to show what life after an ostomy was like and to raise the bar for eating without a colon.
Just five months after his surgery, Michael did his first food challenge. Since then, he’s been documenting his #bagvsfood challenges. From giant stacks of pancakes, burritos, and pizza to the Lulu’s “Texas Ranger” Chicken Fried Steak Challenge right before his interview with me, he’s showing that an ostomy doesn’t have to hinder life. Though he doesn’t let anything stop him from trying a food challenge, there are a few obstacles that are difficult to overcome. Speed eating is off the table, since it’s critical to chew food with an ostomy, and he always listens to his body. The goal, he says, is to have fun, not end up in the emergency room.
Surgery has given him control of his life and put food back on the table! In addition to his Instagram, Michael has just started a YouTube Channel to go into greater detail about ostomy life and even document his food challenges.
Instagram: @mic_flare https://www.instagram.com/mic_flare/
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