I have been fighting with Crohn's disease for over 22 years. My story is a lot like other Crohn's survivor stories. Up until this last Crohn's flare up that I am presently dealing with, I have kept my diagnosis to myself and close group of friends only. With this last flare up, I decided maybe my story can help others.
I was 23 years old, experiencing extreme stomach pains and frequent loose stools. I went to my general practicioner doctor and he sent me to a surgeon because he thought it was an appendicitis. I met with a surgeon and had surgery to remove my appendix at 7pm.
I awoke at midnight with my husband, parents, and sister by my side. I thought that was a bit much for a minor surgery. My husband informed me that it was not my appendix, but my ascending colon was removed due to extreme inflammation. At that point they were not sure if it was ulcerative colitis or Crohn's. We were waiting for the biopsy results to determine the exact diagnoses which was sent to Mayo clinic. All of this was all very shocking at the time but the dilaudid I was on seemed to make it all fine.
Before this I was a very active person. I played softball and volleyball twice a week and worked a full time job. I was determined none of this would change me. Nobody in my family has been diagnosed with this disease.
The results came back in a week to confirm that, yes in fact, I did have Crohn's disease. I have had more colonoscopy's then I care to count in the last 22 years. I have had multiple flare ups in the 22 years, which are controlled by medication. I have to confess, I am a nurse so I do tend to change my care plan myself. I take myself off the medications faster then the MD's have prescribed. I decided I will run the full course of medication the doctor has prescribed due to my recent flare up. I sure am trying to be a good patient.
I thought maybe telling my story I can bring awareness to an awful disease. And lets be honest, nobody likes talking about bowel movements, colonoscopies, gas, stomach pain and trying to explain why I eat the way I do. I feel very lucky that I have such a wonderful husband, two great kids, family, and great friends that understand when I have to run to the bathroom multiple times or have to lay down for more naps then the normal 45 year should.