Crohn's Disease Forum » Your Story » Success Stories » Motivated for successs

08-25-2011, 10:42 PM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: chicago, Illinois
Motivated for successs

Hi, my name is Igor. I am in a surgery induced remission, but it took me three years to get there. I feel like i went to hell and back, and now i should tell my story to maybe help some that haven't made it back yet. I am not completely healthy, nor do i expect to ever be but it seems to be manageable now as opposed to during the 3 year flare. I thought i might share with you my submission to be an ibd icon. Being an icon isn't as important as getting my experience out there for others to see. I apologize if it seems like a lengthy essay but it gets my thoughts across nicely. Hope it helps.

Here goes:
I was diagnosed with Crohnís Disease just prior to senior year of high school. I did not take the diagnosis as seriously as I should have at the time, I wasnít prepared for it. The progression of the disease was exponential; it started out slowly but ultimately took over my life. I started taking some basic medication and making minor lifestyle changes and when I was feeling a little better I slacked on treatment. I had lost 30 pounds over one summer. Severe fatigue was frequent occurrence for me. I was an athlete, it would have been my third year playing varsity soccer, and I was committed to succeed but I was consumed by fatigue and was unable to play much. The worst came during my college years. Towards the end of freshman year of college, I experienced my first real flare. I had been careless when it came to my Crohnís and had no idea how to deal with it because I did not educate myself on the disease. My doctor at the time did not think that it was Crohnís because my symptoms did not line up. I spent about seven or eight months in limbo before turning to a specialist who was involved in the IBD community and diagnosis/treatment options. A scan showed that my disease had progressed and been more severe than everyone thought. The way it was described to me, with treatment options, seemed like a death sentence and I left the office in tears. Nothing prepares you for this kind of news. I was an engineering student, taking five classes every semester, I tried to not let the disease take over everything but it did. The next six months were the worst I can remember. My total dropped weight over this ordeal was 60 pounds. I found myself curled up on couches in various areas of my school due to the pain being unbearable. I dealt with a bowel obstruction and numerous other symptoms over time. I have had blood tests, scans, colonoscopies, endoscopies, and various western and eastern treatments. I am now very well acquainted with nearly every bathroom on campus; I can tell anyone which bathrooms are best for specific symptoms and various degrees of privacy. It was the most terrifying experience of my life, but I grabbed on to my education and tried my hardest not to let go.

My most prized accomplishment is the resilience to complete my education. It was the only thing I was damned sure I would not give up. I may have lost my physical strength, my emotions were a mess, but I was not going to give up my mental toughness. I am in my fourth year of college at the moment and am on track to complete a degree in Electrical Engineering as well as a separate degree in Mathematics this year. It has been a very difficult experience; going to college and dealing with my disease, but I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. My grades have not been the most ideal throughout the years, but that did not stop me from getting the experiences from my classes or getting a decent grade point average. I sat through as much as I could, did as much work as my body would allow, and fought to do more after reaching that point. Getting my disease under control when I did was vital to being able to succeed. It is unpredictable how long it would take to get your disease under control, but it is important to not let go of your goals and desires, never. I am not an ideal student, there was no way I could be, but I could still accomplish what I wanted. I did enough while I battled the disease, and that is the most important part. I am building my life back together piece by piece; mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. The mind is a powerful tool in living beyond the disease. Things are getting better, my lowest weight was about 100 pounds and now I am at 160. My emotions are more stable, and I am playing soccer again.

To patients newly diagnosed with an IBD or those struggling with the condition, itís important to find a target, a goal of some sort. It does not necessarily have to be something major like a diploma or promotion at work; it could be something small like decreasing the number of bowel movements in a day or successfully getting out of bed and moving around a little bit. Being mentally tough was vital for me in my battle with the disease. By having these major or minor goals and fighting to reach them, we prove to ourselves that the disease canít defeat us completely. For me, completing each assignment, exam, lab, semester, year of college was a milestone and allowed me to prove to myself that I can still achieve something while feeling totally powerless. But I wasnít powerless, I had a goal; I had the desire to reach that goal, and I wasnít going to stop. After one victory, comes a second and a third and before you know it, you achieved something positive and feel good about it. Some goals take longer to reach; some are more difficult. If a goal seems unreachable, it can always be broken down into smaller and smaller pieces that are reachable. Not only is it important to keep your mind focused on a particular goal, it is equally important to stay educated and informed about your particular disease. There are numerous resources available to help stay educated. Online forums are an ideal place to interact with individuals who either have or have had similar experiences and have a wealth of knowledge to share with others. Each experience is different, but we have all been diagnosed with an IBD, and are all trying to live with it in one way or another.
08-26-2011, 04:26 AM   #2
Super Moderator
DustyKat's Avatar
Join Date: May 2010
Location: New South Wales, Australia
Hi iggz and

Thanks for posting your story, what a journey you have had and what an inspiration you are! I hope your remission continues for a very, very long time, it is certainly well deserved!

What surgery did you have?

Are you on any medication?

Good luck hun and welcome aboard!

Dusty. xxx
Mum of 2 kids with Crohn's.
08-28-2011, 02:11 AM   #3
New Member
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: chicago, Illinois
My bad, on the submission they didn't want any specific treatments. I started with pentasa, thn azithioprine and prednisone then just azathioprine. I had a full flare then with an obstruction when they placed an ng tube. I switched to remicade at that point for a little bit until my doc didn't see any improvement and we decided on. Surgery. I had an ileocolix small bowel resection of 1 ft of small bowel. I am currently on 100 mg of 6 mp and drink various green teas to maintain remission. I also did acupuncture and some herbal medicine for about 6-8 months before my obstruction. I think eastern medicine is more likely to maintain remission, not induce it.

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