For the past 13 years since the tender age of 5, I have watched my son, Mark, fight the continuous battle of Crohn's. Every time we think he has it under control, the medicine just stops working and the doctors have to find a new one that will hopefully work. Mark has not always had the energy to play outside like most kids and the constant blood work and colonoscopies are a regular part of his life. He has been through a long list of medications and procedures. He went from having a NG tube to having a G-tube which he still has. 90% of his nutrition is through his G-tube.Over the years these are the vocabulary words that he has had to learn.
On a recent 9 day stay in the hospital the GI doctor said that Mark's colon and large intestine was in such bad shape that he could not believe that Mark had been playing varsity basketball. He must have been in a lot of pain and discomfort and we had the pictures to prove it from the colonoscopy. That's right, Mark has been playing basketball and going to a very demanding private school since the 3rd grade despite all of his health problems. Mark has played AAU basketball, middle school basketball, and then high school basketball for these past 10 years. During that time he and his sister Renee organized a basketball tournament called, "Make your MarK" which was to raise money for crohns research. Some of his coaches were scared to play him when his weight would plummet and he would get weak but Mark would work so hard that eventually they would have no choice but to play him. Including when my older daughter Keri and I decided to coach and start our own AAU boys team when Mark was 14.
Last year Mark started and played every game on his high school basketball varsity team. He barely made it to the end of the season but by the end he was the leading 3 point shooter and had the highest free throw shooting percentage. He was the 3rd highest scorer on the team. Mark ended up in the hospital soon after school let out but he still was able to do something that he loved to do and managed to keep his grades up. In Mark's senior year he had to face reality that the stress of all the meds and a very demanding school was a little too much so he decided to transfer to the public school near his house instead of driving almost 45 minutes to the private school every day. Mark loved his new school and again decided, despite of the crohns to try out for the varsity basketball team. He again made the varsity team and was a key player. A small flare up sidelined him for a couple of the games but he was not to be denied. He got right back in there and finished out the season. He was selected as one of the Unsung Hero's of the team.
In March, Mark was again hospitalized for 9 days with a terrible flare up in which the doctors told him that he may lose his colon. And this is where he is now trying and praying that Stelarra will save his colon. He has been on steroids which we were not crazy about putting him back on and 3 different antibiotics and of course the prevacid and baslsasalazide. Through all of this Mark continues to have faith in God and that a cure will be found. He has a positive attitude and still hopes and plans to play basketball in college. His teachers all love him and he is doing great with his studies. The amazing thing is that he never complains. He is by far the bravest person I know.