I know that some readers from my old blog actually found my blog when they were looking up information on Crohn’s disease. I wanted to share my Crohn’s story on my new blog as well, since some of you might be interested. It’s a pretty long story, so I am going to break it into a few parts. If you did read my old blog, you might not be interested in this post since it is really similar to one that I wrote before. So feel free to skip out on this post!
What is Crohn’s? It is an autoimmune disease that attacks your intestines. It can effect any part of your upper or lower intestines as well as your colon…or it can affect all three.
How does it effect you? Well, honestly, it makes you go to the bathroom. A LOT. And there is a lot of cramping, bloating, and other stomach issues. You can also lose a lot of blood because typically there is blood in your stool. (Sorry if that was tmi!)
Is there a cure? No, but there are medications you can take. The only thing is that the medications that you can take for the disease also have some pretty harsh side effects, the main one being a lowered immune system. (so you pick up pretty much every cold you encounter)
How do you deal with it? Well, right now I am on a few medications (Asacol & Entocort) to help with the symptoms. Some days are worse than others, but you just HAVE to keep your head up, otherwise it can really drag you down. (physically and mentally)
If you would like more information- check out this website: Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at 16 years old, a sophomore in high school & VERY active in cross-country & track and field. I was diagnosed by a blood test, & the only reason they ever did a test was because my Dad has Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s is heredity, and from everything I had been describing to my Dad, he had a feeling it might be Crohn’s.
Every summer 2-3 years before I was diagnosed, I would get REALLY bad stomach pain- sometimes it hurt so bad that it was hard for me to even get out of bed. I had no idea what was going on. Accompanied with the stomach pain was diarrhea & all sorts of other nasty stomach stuff that you probably do not want to hear about. Let’s just say I spent a LOT of time in the bathroom.
No one had any idea what was going on with me, and the weirdest thing was that I would only get this pain in the summer time, not while I was in school. My doctor initially thought it might be some kind of stomach virus, but it just kept coming back.
Finally one summer was REALLY bad..and we needed answers. I wanted to know what in the heck was going on with my body. My doctor agreed to the blood test & the results showed that I had Crohn’s. Even though you are born with the disease, usually it does not show up until later in life, typically in your teen years. It is known as a ‘young person’s disease’ for that very reason. It is typically very active when you are younger & most people go into ‘remission’ as they get older.
I wasn’t sure what to think at first. I didn’t know much about the disease. My Dad never talked much about it, because he was in ‘remission’ since he was 18 years old.
I never really felt the ‘effects’ of the disease (except for the time during the summers) until I was a senior in high school.
During my senior year I REALLY felt what it was like to live with Crohn’s disease. It was pretty hard for a kid in high school, because it was embarrassing!! I’m sure you remember how it was in high school- you NEVER went #2 (sorry to be gross.) in the school bathrooms. That was like a HUGErule. So I’m sure you can imagine how difficult it was to hide the fact that I had Crohn’s. Thankfully I had a few close friends that I told about the disease, and they always had my back.
I think one of the biggest things that was affected after being diagnosed with Crohn’s was my running career. Saying that ‘running was my life’ would be a HUGE understatement. It was not just my life it was my EVERYTHING. It’s what I thought about all day, dreamt about & couldn’t wait to do every single day.
<– that’s me in the yearbook
Since Crohn’s disease was pretty unheard of at the time, most people just didn’t get it. Even my coach was like, ‘Holly just hold it.’ I only WISHit was that easy. Overtime he started to realize that I wasn’t just making this disease up, and it was really making an impact on my running & not a good impact.
Thankfully a few months into my senior year of high school my doctor (at the time) was able to get it under control. When I graduated high school everything seemed to be ‘back to normal.’ The only thing that was on my mind at the time was what could possibly happen when I went to college…what if I got a flair up in the middle of the semester?? And since I was going to have roommates I thought about what they might think of me if I was constantly in the bathroom & if they would be understanding of the situation.
I figure that is enough for today, I will have more posts soon about this topic! If you ever have any questions about the disease, feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great Thursday!