What the hell is Crohn's Disease?
You can't imagine what it's like to be diagnosed with a chronic illness, no cause, no cure and to be an illness that involves your bowels. So embarrassing. I had to look up what the fuck Crohn's Disease was, which meant having to physically go to the library and even then, there wasn't much on the shelves.
The Internet wasn't invented, smartphones wouldn't be here for years, so I couldn't just sit down and search the world wide web to find out about Crohn's. No social media or online support groups like there is now. Everyone around me had no idea what Crohn's was nor had they ever heard of it.
So, or course, I immediately went to "what the hell did I do, to get it in the first place"? I remember racking my brain over and over on what I might have done in my life that would cause me to get sick. I looked through as many books as I could find, was it something I ate?, something I did as a kid maybe? You see, I rarely got sick growing up, so the prospect of now living with a disease that I couldn't get rid of or know how I got it in the first place, just devastated me.
What I was able to discover was that Crohn's Disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that can affect anywhere in the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus. Basically, the immune system attacks the digestive tract thinking it's a foreign body, usually at the end of the small intestine where the small and large intestines meet (as in my case). Why? Good question.
It's a chronic condition, which essentially means I will have it the rest of my life. There will be times of remission and times of flare ups, but it will be on going and last forever. Or until a cure is found.
Where symptoms are concerned, mine were sudden, one day I was fine, next day I had pain coming from my abdomen, followed by frequent diarrhea, fatigue, loss of appetite and weight loss.
Causes..?? No one knows for sure, but genetics are a factor as well as the environment, bacteria or stress. The main problem, I think, is that no one knows what the trigger is. There has to be something that happens in the body that tricks the brain into thinking your intestines are a foreign body and starts attacking it. Not everyone gets it, so what is the trigger?
And of course, everyone's experience with Crohn's or Colitis is different. So everyone's treatment and meds will be different. Mine began with 1000 mg of Salazopyrin (Sulphasalazine) and 40 mg of Prednisone. Remicade (Infliximab) in my case, won't be around for another 10-15 years.
And so began my journey into the world of doctors, specialists, nurses, anesthetist's, surgeon's, clinic's, hospital's, and much much more.
I was still only 20 years old....
Coming up.....Part Four