Crohn's Disease Forum » Your Story » Andrew's Story


02-19-2012, 06:31 PM   #1
Chimpur
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Andrew's Story

Hi, my names Andrew and I recently found out that the problem thats been playing me on and off the past 5-6 years is Crohn's Disease. I'm a 24 year old guy who is very thankful to at least know whats wrong with me.. well physically at least lol!

So let me start my story by saying that all throughout my life I've always been one to get stomach discomfort to stressful situations. As a kid I was told it was butterflies and not to worry. Add to that the fact that I could vomit on command as a kid to get out of school. Looking back I wonder if any of that had any lasting effect?

Over the past 5-6 years I've had mild bouts of stomach cramps and diarrhea. These typically lasted for about 3-5 days and I was able to carry on my normal life more or less with part time work and college. During this time I developed a fistula or perianal abscess that was felt with by a hospital visit and some drugs. This was in about the winter of 2007-08.

Then things were pretty quiet till about August 2010. I came back from camping and I just felt horrible. I had no energy, no appetite, diarrhea, cramps and was just plain irritable! This caused me to loose my job. I hadn't been there too long so they didn't have to really explain themselves much. About a week after I got axed my Grandpa started to get really sick. He was rushed to the hospital for panic attacks twice. He didn't make it through the second visit. That being the first instance of me loosing someone close to me in my adult life sent me reeling. If I felt bad before; I now felt horrible.

My doctor at the time took me off the meds she'd prescribed before and gave me probiotics and just told me to lie low and take it easy till I felt better.

Well after a few weeks of this I'd had enough and left my ex and crawled home to live with my parents. Everyone in my family was pretty happy. They hated my ex; but thats a whole other long storey lmao!!!

After that as far as crohns symptoms go I got better and only had a mild bout of cramps and diarrhea in May 2011. It wasn't until late August of 2011 that things started to get bad again.

I was having difficulty sleeping and often waking up with acid reflux like symptoms. Also the diarrhea, bloating and cramps started to work their way into my life gain. I had to take a few days off work because of this and went to my family doctor. He prescribed me Tecta for my acidy stomach and told me to hold off from taking tumms or anything like that. He was at first inlined I was just worried and that stress was causing my body to act up.

By late September my unpredictable illness was really interfering with my life. It was then that my family Dr sent me to a specialist and to get some fluoroscopes taken of my GI and some bloodwork. Upon me telling him what was happening he prescribed me Pentasa 500mgx4 once a day and upped my tecta to twice a day. After more lost wok and reviewing the results of my previous test my specialist had a colonoscopy and endoscopy scheduled.

The colonoscopy wasn't that bad actually. Apparently the preparation for it dint work to well. I couldn't hold down the klean prep stuff and threw a bit of it up. It was also around this time that I started vomiting again on and off and getting nausea. The endoscopy revealed a stricture in the duodenum.

Shortly after this my work got fed up with my unpredictable absences and told me to "get better then come back and talk". I was off work from mid October till January this year. During this time I pretty much stayed home vomited, had diarrhea, sat around the house because I just didn't feel like doing anything. In november I had another colonoscopy and also another endoscopy. The specialist aft words diagnosed me with Crohn's of the terminal ileum. They also stretched out the stricture a little bit. It was at tho time as well that I was scheduled for a MRI.

I returned to work in early January. And honestly its been kinda rough. Some good days and some bad. They took me off salary and made me hourly so that if I were sick I wouldn't get payed. But I still have my benefits though. So I had my MRI the same week I returned to work. It went ok I guess. I have yet to get the results back yet I get those March 7th.

And now in February the diarrhea is pretty much gone. Instead I vomit a lot. And the nausea is back. I just feel week and drained. Unsure what is safe to eat and worried that things will get worse. Ive noticed that I've lost nearly 25lbs this month alone.

I'm not really sure if I should take more time off work or quit to focus on my health.

Well thats m storey so far! Anyone feel free to let me know what you think... advice, comments etc...
02-19-2012, 06:50 PM   #2
mickey
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Illinois
Certainly you trained yourself for a mind/body connection (throwing up on command). So, as you get older and stress affects you, your body reacts to that unwanted stress. Probably similar to a boulemic, your reflux may be a result of that?

I would highly recommend that you access of the healthines of the food/drinks you consume. Daily consumption of fresh ginger tea (cut and peel a small piece of ginger and drop in teapot of hot water) can help calm your stomach and keep it calm. Never drink regular tea or herbal tea on an empty stomach, or any other acidic foods on an empty stomach. You do not want too much acid in stomach, when you are already highly acidic.

To calm things and keep you full, try organic chicken soups and warm foods. Eat every few 2-3 hours, smaller meals like this, so you keep your stomach full and not empty, where it would be more acidic.

Many ideas, but it can be overwhelming to get all upfront. Try baby steps and see what works for you. Get a very good probiotic and begin taking those daily. Digestive enzymes may also help you with each meal. You have a sick digestive track that does not process food properly, so be gentle with yourself. Keep reading the site and find some solutions that may help you. Good luck!
02-19-2012, 07:13 PM   #3
mikeyarmo
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Welcome to the forum Andrew! I am also 24 and living in Ontario (with Crohn's) so it looks like we some things in common .

Thank you for sharing your story with us. While I am sure you are happy the diarrhea went away it is too bad that you are having trouble now with nausea.

You might want to check out another forum post on what IBD sufferers find to be their safe and unsafe foods for people with IBD. Everyone seems to react differently to food, but as you will see there are some general agreements on what foods go down well and which ones do not.

Eating smaller quantities at a time and eating slower (chewing food very well and taking your time between bites) might help a bit with the nausea. Are you usually stressed or worried when you are eating? It would be best to try and be as calm as possible when eating, however I know it can be worrying when you are not sure how your body will react to what you are eating.

I found value in keeping a food journal. I would record what I ate each day and how I felt after eating it (specifically, what symptoms I felt and how much energy I had). This helped me determine what foods were safe for me to eat and which foods triggered other symptoms. It is also a good idea to write down what medication you take each day (+ exact dosage) and some other comments about if a day is particularly stressful to help you determine if other circumstances are impacting your condition on a day to day basis.

The choice to work or not is yours to make. Is your work stressful and draining? I don't know how much you can negotiate with your employer on how many hours you work each week also, but you might just want to try having an overall reduction in work each week. It is nice you can keep your benefits without being salaried.

I hope you continue to use the forum and are able to benefit from the advice and experience from the other members. See you around soon!
02-19-2012, 10:10 PM   #4
jasonma88
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Richmond Hill, Ontario

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Hey Andrew, I just turned 27 and also lives in Ontario. I was also diagnosed with Crohn's recently. I have been going through a lot of stress lately from family, personal, and health reasons. Just yesterday I believe I am starting to have flare ups again. I don't experience any pain or anything - but I just have pure diarrhea. Going to the washroom and letting it out. I had 2 fistulas with me for a while but was told that there were no absecess within it. However, I am not taking any meds at the moment and is just cautious eating and probiotic pill.

Can you share some of your experiences with your fistula ? Are you taking any meds ?

My 2 GI specialist told me to take Remicade.. but I've been trying to avoid it cause I've heard many many side effects. I am going through the Chinese medicine at the moment - just eating right and some random herbs.

Let me know. Keep in touch
02-19-2012, 10:12 PM   #5
Chimpur
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My stress comes from me worrying about what food is safe. And from work; I work in an automotive dealership with often unpredictable customers. Also if those around me get stressed, it tends to rub off on me.
02-19-2012, 10:18 PM   #6
Chimpur
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Location: Etobicoke, Ontario
Hey Andrew....

Can you share some of your experiences with your fistula ? Are you taking any meds ?

My 2 GI specialist told me to take Remicade.. but I've been trying to avoid it cause I've heard many many side effects. I am going through the Chinese medicine at the moment - just eating right and some random herbs.

Let me know. Keep in touch
I take Pentasa twice a day. 4 pills at a time. The 5ASA is 500mg a pill. So thats 4g a day. The Tecta is 30mg a pill and twice a day as well. If I have bad nausea I occasionally take domperidone. Though I don't like it. It seems to when combined with the other 2 pills really slow my digestion down to the point where I've seen the Tecta come up through vomit whole. Yea I know its gross but I often through up in a wash basin in the laundry room and can make out most of whats in my vomit. I think it can help and see what problem foods are in the long run. I mean theres rice or some specific thing like mushrooms in there and I haven't eaten that stuff in 2 maybe 3 days... then I know something isn't working so well...

Oh and the fistula got all painful and inflamed. Was "leaking" too... Went to the hospital and they put a needle up there, numbed me and then I think the drained it and cleared it all up. I was a little sore after still... but I think its healed up well.... Though the whole area tends to get pretty tender after a few trips to the washroom with the runs!

Last edited by Chimpur; 02-19-2012 at 10:21 PM. Reason: added more info
02-20-2012, 09:32 AM   #7
Angrybird
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Hello Andrew, I don't have anything more to add about the diet side of things as this has already been well covered. I just wanted to welcome you to the forum and I really hope that things improve for you soon
__________________
Angrybird

DX: Crohns July 2002
Surgery: Ileocecal Resection Sept 2011
Now:Tummy behaving itself and new mummy to baby Nicholas
Current Meds: 6-MP 75mg,B12 injections every 3 months
Previous Meds: Budesonide, Prednisone, Remicade, Pentesa,Hydroxychlorequine,Azathioprine (tried twice) and Methotrexate
02-20-2012, 11:28 AM   #8
michellew
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Hi Andrew,
I don't have a whole lot to add, other than welcome (from another Canadian).
When I'm having reflux 'issues', I tend to keep things pretty bland.
- white potatoe
- soda crackers
- rice
- yougurt
- toast
- banana

Keep us posted on how you're doing!
Michelle
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Me:
45 years old
UC diagnosed Dec/07
Crohn's diagnosed Nov/11
Meds:
Methotrexate 25mg/weekly
Prevacid twice a day
Buscopan as needed
starting MLN002 soon
02-20-2012, 05:34 PM   #9
jasonma88
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Hey Andrew,

Thanks for sharing your info. One more thing, from what you've wrote in your story, it seems as if your Crohn's got worst over time. Do you agree with that ?

Were you monitoring what you were eating since you fell ill ?

Like I've mentioned earlier, I am trying to not take any meds at the moment. But I would like to see how or if my disease will turn worse..
02-21-2012, 06:31 PM   #10
Chimpur
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Etobicoke, Ontario
Hey Andrew,

Thanks for sharing your info. One more thing, from what you've wrote in your story, it seems as if your Crohn's got worst over time. Do you agree with that ?

Were you monitoring what you were eating since you fell ill ?

Like I've mentioned earlier, I am trying to not take any meds at the moment. But I would like to see how or if my disease will turn worse..
Yeah I think it has got worse over time. Its been better since that month and a half off work. Though more often then not I'm just tired n cranky now lol!! I tried to get a food diary going but just never really stuck too it.
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