Thursday, January 5, 2017

Living With Crohns Disease


So I usually keep the blog pretty upbeat and fun. Focusing on my kids and my family and fun day to day life. But today I wanted to get a little personal with ya'll. I think its always fun to read posts that others write that really put themselves out there and share about who they are. 

I had hoped to have this post written to share with ya'll yesterday but it just didn't happen. I had been in Charlotte since Monday visiting my family but also the main reason I was there was to have a colonoscopy. 

Let me go all the way back to 2004. It was my senior year of high school. Second semester. I was supposed to be having the time of my life getting ready to go to college and being with my friends. Instead, I was sick. It started out as dull pain and progressively got worse and worse. No one could figure out what was wrong with me. I was losing weight by the day and pretty miserable. Graduation came and went and I was still sick. I went to summer camp to work that summer and was basically going through the motions all while being in immense pain. There was a scary ER trip involved and still no answers. It was not until 2 weeks before I was to head off to The University of Alabama that my GI doctor decided to do a colonoscopy. My mom was prepared to tell me that I would not be going off to college if they did not discover what was wrong. Thankfully that colonoscopy showed that I had Crohn's Disease. Not just mildly, it was severe. No wonder I was having pain! My doctors did not suspect this though because I was not having some of the main symptoms that go along with it. 

Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the GI tract. It can be found in any part of your small and large intestine as well as the colon. Mine was right where the small and large intestine meet. 

So we had our answer, thankfully! By this point I had lost 60 lbs in about 5 months and I was trying to get ready to go to college. My doctors put me on tons of medicines to try and get the pain and inflammation under control. I was able to go off to college but took with me a dozen different prescriptions. I was taking close to 15 pills a day just to get the inflammation and pain under control. College was spent in and out of remission. Prednisone became my worst enemy. Every time I would have a flair up and my doctor would say the dreaded word "prednisone" I would break down into tears. At the time I thought it was horrible but I know it's really the only thing that would put me back into some sort of remission so I had to deal with it. 

Fast forward to 2009 and I was really sick again. I graduated college in May and was unable to find a teaching job that following Fall. I really feel like it was a blessing in disguise because in December 2009 I had to have major surgery. I had stopped responding to treatment and my doctor felt it was necessary to go in and see what they were dealing with. I had about 12 inches of my intestine removed along with a giant mass of scar tissue. It was a horrible recovery. I was home with my parents for a month pretty much unable to do anything. But that surgery truly was a blessing! I am so happy to report that since 2009 I have had very minor flair ups, if any. Thank you in part to being put on Humira injections twice monthly. 

I have had to have yearly colonoscopies since my diagnosis but because of babies and breast feeding I have actually only had 2 in the past 4 years. I had an excellent check up yesterday and my doctor is confident that I do not need a repeat colonoscopy for 3 years. All the praise hands!! 

I do not openly share my struggle with Crohns with many people. Not because I don't want to but because I often forget that I have it. (This is a good thing!) It means that my disease is under control. Thanks to the surgery and the Humira I was able to get pregnant, have a flair free pregnancy and deliver two perfectly healthy baby boys. I am beyond grateful to my amazing doctor. I love him so much, hence the reason why I still go back to Charlotte for my check ups and procedures. 

I often think that IBD/Crohns is not talked about much. I get it, why would anyone want to talk about their bowels. However, it is so so important to get checked out. If you are ever having any symptoms please see a GI doctor. 

I know this post was long...and there were no pictures, but it was on my heart to share. I hope that you learned a little bit more about me as a person! 

*Linking up with Annie 

12 comments:

  1. Wow!! I'm so glad you shared. It is one more little piece to Emily's puzzle I now have in place and know. :) I'm so sorry you have gone through this and had to deal with all of the pain and frustration as things were figured out and then the yearly colonoscopy. I'm so glad that things are going so well and you have a good relationship with your doctor. That makes a huge difference. Cheers to 3 years until another one!!!

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  2. I'm so glad you shared your struggle! It may help someone else who's dealing with something like this and may not know it could be crohn's. I'm so glad you're doing better lately, but I can imagine how hard it would have been to get it under control when you're in college just wanting to have fun but also living so far away from your parents. By the way, you graduated one year before I did! I wonder if we ever ran into one another!!! haha
    Sarah at MeetTheShaneyfelts

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  3. I have always wondered exactly what Chrons was and what it "looked" like, so thank you for sharing your story!

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  4. You are one tough cookie! Thank you for sharing something so personal!

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  5. Wow. Thank you for sharing this. I love these type of posts. They are so real and raw. And I learn a lot from them. You are a rockstar and so tough.

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  6. OH Emily, I've only ever known one other person to have Crohns and it sounds just awful. I'm so glad that you got a good report on this last trip and I pray that you are able to live comfortably with it from now on.

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  7. Oh my gosh, this sounds terrible! I got tested for Crohn's Disease a few years ago and thankfully that wasn't the issue. I am so glad yours has been under control...I hope that it continues to be that way for years to come!

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  8. So glad you had a good report yesterday!! Major PTL :)

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  9. I am so glad you shared! So glad you have been able to come up with a good treatment plan to keep you in check - that surgery really sounds like it was the best thing, even if it was miserable at the time. It's amazing how many people have GI issues, all you have to do is just start the conversation! I have a type of colitis, that unfortunately you can't do anything about, but it is definitely worth it to always get things checked out!

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  10. Oh my Emily, I had no idea! Thank you so much for sharing. I am so sorry you've been dealing with this for so long. My uncle has Crohns and I know it is such a difficult ongoing issue. I wish you didn't have to deal with this, but I'm so glad you've shared your experiences and I will be sending good thoughts and prayers your way.

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  11. Thank you so much for sharing! I'm so glad you found a doctor that you just love. That can make all the difference, too. Sending positive thoughts & prayers your way.

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  12. I was diagnosed with Crohns almost 2 years ago and it has been the most challenging two years of my entire life. I think we have finally figured out the right medicine combo but I have to go for infusions every 4 weeks and I take about 10 pills a day. The steroids have me super insecure but I guess its worth it if it helps me feel better. On top of all of that, my husband and I are ready to start a family and that is proving to be super hard.

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