How Much Weight Can You Lose From Epsom Salt Baths Shrinking Hemorrhoids & Growing Faith

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Shrinking Hemorrhoids & Growing Faith

If you read my article ‘How Hemorrhoids Made Me Healthy, Fit & Sexy’ you know how to treat my condition. Now, find out how my hemorrhoids have increased my faith in God. Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it? Here’s what happened.

In early 2009, I was shocked to see how much the recession was destroying my RRSP savings. People I know face the prospect of delayed retirement due to losses. What can I do? I had two choices: keep losing money and worry, or (deep breath) take home ownership.

I have dreamed of owning a house for years, but living in Toronto is expensive and I don’t think I can afford it. Despite having an uncertain corporate job with barely enough income to meet my financial needs, buying my first home felt like the right thing to do. In fact, it was an ‘unnatural’ peace about taking this big step that convinced me that it was part of God’s plan for me.

I don’t like making important decisions. I emailed my broker friend and laid out my finance, my wishlist and my will-settle-to list. I doubt they will find anything for me but I am determined not to buy more than I can afford. We sat together in early March, just to talk. My friend brought two sample lists to show me. Two months later, one of my first homes. I have been praying, “Lord, I don’t want to turn (big round number) and still rent.” My closing date is 7 days before my birthday!

With $25,000 borrowed from my RRSP for a down payment and renovations, I began cleaning out my 20+ years of accumulated belongings, and shopping for flooring and a kitchen for my new condo. With the help of realtors, family and friends, everything moved quickly but smoothly.

The next ‘miracle’ was that almost all the renovation work was completed within a month. Old floors and torn up kitchen. New bamboo flooring and a specially designed IKEA kitchen were installed. Tile installed in bathroom and kitchen. I even had the whole place professionally painted. It’s amazing! It is expensive. Did I get in over my head?

Before I worry, I have more pressing matters. My kitchen countertops are in reverse order. And plumbers insist on installing kitchen and bathroom sinks as one job. This meant I had no water, except in the bathtub, for three weeks!

By July, I have two sinks, the renos are done and I can actually enjoy living in a new home. My south facing unit is bright and has a lovely view of the river. Located in a park-like setting amidst lawns, trees and gardens, my house occupies a peaceful corner of the city.

Summer is very busy. I work full-time and unpack and organize things at home. I’m too tired to cook nutritious meals or exercise – although often, the thought will come to me: you have to walkor, try the gym downstairsor, eat more salad and fruit, not just chips, cookies and beer.

All the excitement and stress – buying a home, renovating, moving – coupled with poor lifestyle choices – takes its toll. In October, I developed severe hemorrhoids (a condition I’ve had since my 20s). Usually, after a few days of eating more fiber and exercising more, the veins will shrink, the bleeding will stop and the pain will stop. Only this time, no one helped. Days turned into weeks and I was still suffering.

I finally went to the doctor and got a prescription for ointment and suppositories. I was careful with my diet and started exercising and walking. After 10 days, the bleeding stopped and the pain subsided. What a relief! But in a few days, it started again and got worse. I used three courses of medicine and the doctor said the next step was surgery. Alas! Just thinking about it is terrifying. There must be other ways to treat this condition!

I began to pray, “Lord, have mercy. I found scriptures about healing, write them down and read them every day. One of my favorites is in Matthew 8, verses 1 to 3, about the leper, who came to Jesus, knelt down and said, “Lord, if you want, you can heal me again.” Jesus touched him and said: “I am willing. And he. In the same thing, a Roman officer asked Jesus to heal his sick servant. Jesus said that would come to the man’s house, but the Roman said, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you into my house. Jesus was amazed at the faith of the Gentiles and praised the man. He healed his slave. Another verse that helped me which is Psalm 6, verse 2-3; Exodus 15 verse 26 and Exodus 24 verse 25. I started saying “Thank you God for healing my hemorrhoids” before it happened, believing that he would.

But I’m not just sitting around waiting for things to happen. I continued with Internet research. Instead of desperate to buy expensive ‘miracle drugs’, I decided to try everything reasonable and affordable. Some things that have helped me include:

– Sitz bath – fill a large tub with very warm water, add Epsom salt, and soak my back for 20 minutes twice a day.

– White oak bark – one website suggested steeping this mixture into a sitz bath of water

– Herbal supplements – of the few I tried, Butcher’s Broom was the most helpful

– Fiber – three times a day I take psyllium fiber. Inulin fiber is almost as good and easier to take

– Diet – I changed what I eat and how I eat (see my article ‘How Hemorrhoids Made Me Healthy, Fit and Sexy’ for details)

– Exercise – I started working out 3-4 times a week at the condo gym and running every day at lunch

When I went for my annual checkup in early December, I had lost 8 pounds and was in good shape. I feel better and look better. Most days, I’m in a little pain and the bleeding is almost gone. I began to believe, and declared, that I would be 100% healed by the New Year.

Looking back, I realized that my fleeting thoughts in the summer – I need to eat better and exercise more – is God’s way of trying to get attention. He is not a booty sport, he has his best interests at heart. He knew my chronic condition was getting worse and he wanted to help me. But I didn’t listen. When I got to the point where I was in so much pain and ready to do whatever it took to stop, God helped me find the information I needed. And commit to making changes – in my diet and exercise habits – that will cure my hemorrhoids and make me fit. I learned that if I don’t respond to God’s ‘nudges’, He will increase the pressure. Tough love. I wish I had listened sooner! However, because something serious happened, the change I had to make was a permanent new lifestyle.

I have a claim to make, though. I am not perfect. Two or three times, over the weekend, I drank (chips, ice cream, cake, alcohol) and the hemorrhoids came back. Constipation causes strained bowel movements and painful bowel pains remind us that this condition does not go away – it becomes inactive. Under the right circumstances (eating food that causes constipation and not exercising enough to keep the digestive system functioning) bleeding and pain can return.

This relapse made me thankful that God didn’t heal my hemorrhoids right away. I believe he can have it. But he knows that I can be lazy and self-indulgent; that there were times when I wasn’t as careful as I should have been. At family gatherings, where we enjoy a large meal with a variety of food, accompanied by wine or beer, followed by a rich dessert and coffee. Or after work, when I’m tired and don’t feel like exercising. It’s easy to go back to bad habits, so I’m thankful for this reminder nudged me back on track.

Now, as I learned the hard way, I am a firm believer in eating a balanced diet, with lots of fruits and vegetables, and very little dairy, meat and saturated fat. I know I need to stay active – walk every day, take the stairs, exercise. Being strong and healthy feels good. Staying balanced promotes physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. And that means I can enjoy life with a ‘purpose driven life’. (Note: this phrase comes from the book “The Purpose Driven Life” written by Rick Warren.)

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