My Gut Feeling....
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". Phillippians 4:13
On February 12 , 2004 I was diagnosed with crohn's disease an Ibd or inflammatory bowel disease .Of course the first thing to come to my mind was "what is this and how did I get it". It's an inflammation of the digestive or gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It also affects the small intestine and or colon. This is an abnormal response by the body's immune system. Your immune system is made up of different cells and protein. I then found out IBD'S run in families and genes play a part in the whole IBD picture. 20 to 25 % of patients have a close relative with the disease so he or she is 10 times more likely to get it than the general population . If it's a brother or sister it's 30 times greater . Since no one but me in my family has it I didn't see how this was relevant in my case. I was very confused and nervous once the nurse called me in office and told me I have Crohn's disease and that there was no cure for this . My whole life had been challenging before this but hearing that news made it that much more difficult. One could only imagine the things that were going thru my mind mainly , who, what, where, and why me .
It appears to be most associated with eastern European ancestor y and less often in other ethnic groups . American Jews of European descents are four to five times more likely to develop IBD. African Americans have had a steady increase of Crohn's Disease. Hispanics and Asians have a lower population of IBD than whitesand African Americans . Crohn's is reported to be in more common in urban than rural areas and Northern than southern climates.
I knew it was something wrong with me when I had very bad stomach cramping, diarrhea, vomiting , loss of appetite and weight loss . I'd drink water and it would come right out , soon as I'd drink . I had fevers and bloody stool as well . Crohn's is something that has to be maintained or kept in remission else it can bethe hardest thing to deal with physically and mentally. It affects the eyes ,skin, liver and joints too ! I've grown fistulas which are tunnels that leads from one loop of intestine to another but are most common around the anal area . In general people with Crohn's Disease live full productive lives .
There are five types of Crohn's disease :
Ileocolitis: The most common form of Crohn's, affecting the ileum and colon. Symptoms include diarrhea and cramping or pain in the right lower part or middle of the abdomen. Often accompanied by significant weight loss.
Ileitis: Affects the ileum. Symptoms same as ileocolitis. Complications may include fistulas or inflammatory abscess in right lower quadrant of abdomen.
Gastroduodenal Crohn's disease: Affects the stomach and duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). Symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, and nausea. Vomiting may indicate that narrowed segments of the bowel are obstructed.
Jejunoileitis: Produces patchy areas of inflammation in the jejunum (upper half of the small intestine. Symptoms include abdominal pain (ranging from mild to intense) and cramps following meals, as well as diarrhea. Fistulas may form.
Crohn's (granulomatous) colitis: Affects the colon only. Symptoms include diarrhea, rectal bleeding, and disease around the anus (abscess, fistulas, ulcers). Skin lesions and joint pains are more common in this form of Crohn's than in others.
I have a little bit of each.
I've been on several different medications and antibiotics, such as Colazol, MP-6, Ciprofloxain, Flaggyl, a steroid called Prednisone, Metronidazde, and Remicade. Remicade and MP-6 are what works for me, my body hasn't rejected the treatment and it keeps me in remission. Proper diet a five to six day gym schedule along with the will and word of God keep me going ! If out of remission one complication is ulcers or sores within the intestinal tract. Then there are fistulas which I describe earlier, and nutritional deficiencies or malnutrition. 66 to 75% of crohn's patients will have to get some type of surgery during some point of their life . This is the only option when medications can no longer control the symptoms. Overall the goal of surgery is to conserve bowel and returns the individual to the best possible condition. Crohn's disease has no cure so each day we the people such as my self work towards the common goal, "The Cure"! Besides being hospitalized from time to time and taking medicine as prescribed regularly ,only with God ,self education and the will to win, all those with Crohn's including myself will get through this disease. I pray for all of you , keep me in your prayers as well ,stay blessed , and remember Health is Wealth ! AMEN !
Theodore Merriweather Jr.