Over 1.6 million American adults and children are affected by Crohn's and Colitis digestive diseases.
I am part of the 1.6 million, as I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in 2009, when I was 10 years old. The month before the doctors' diagnosed me with Crohn's consisted of blood work, MRI's, ultrasounds, colonoscopies and many doctors visits. In that month, it was hard for me to eat. With each bite of food, I would end up getting terrible cramping and stomach pain. I remember that I kept getting skinnier and realized that I was becoming more malnourished as each week passed. After a month of running medical tests, the doctors concluded that I had Crohn's disease.
My family and I didn't know what we were dealing with, as we had never heard of Crohn's. When the doctors were explaining the disease, being only 10 at the time, I thought nothing of it. After all, how could I understand at such a young age, that this was an autoimmune inflammatory bowel disease that would impact my digestive track and overall health.
The first medicine I was put on, pentasa, didn't help much. I was also prescribed a steroid that was intended to help me regain the weight that I had lost. Around the same time, I went and talked to a nutritionist about a proper a food balance for Crohn's patients. After a couple weeks I was taken off the steroids. About nine months later, I was taken off pentasa as it wasn't helping me feel better. Next, I was put on remicade. Till this day I have continued to be on remicade which I receive every eight weeks for three hours through an ivy infusion. This medicine has worked well for the past 7 year's. However, it does also lower my immune system--making me susceptible to getting sick. A common cold can last four to six weeks for me.
I think that living with Crohn's disease is manageable. I have been able to lead a normal life now that I am on a medicine that works for me. My brother was also diagnosed with Crohn's in 2012, when he was 11 years old. Both of us take the same medication, so when I get my 3 hour infusion, he is at my side getting them too. Just last year, my younger cousin was also diagnosed with Crohn's disease.
I just want to let everyone know that it is possible to lead a normal life with this disease-- as I do it everyday. The most crucial thing is to learn more about the disease and take care of yourself.