Written by Kate
In honor of today being World IBD Day, I thought that I would write about IBD – specifically Crohn’s disease. IBD stands for inflammatory bowel disease. IBD is NOT IBS! IBS is irritable bowel syndrome. IBD and IBS are very different. IBD is generally broken down into either ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
I have Crohn’s disease. I was finally diagnosed in June of 2009. By October of 2009 I had already spent more than 60 nights in the hospital, had countless ER visits, been on too many medications to count, was finally started on Humira (a powerful biologic drug), and I was going through a week of inpatient chemotherapy. All of this was done to try and get my Crohn’s disease under control. Unfortunately, it didn’t work.
In February of 2010 I had a bowel resection. I had two thirds of my colon and a portion of my small intestine removed because it was so diseased. My surgery went well, but a few days post op I went septic. I spent a week in the ICU fighting for my life. Then, I spent the following three months in and out of the hospital due to post op infections.
The past 6 years have been filled with too many hospital stays, ER visits, doctor appointments, and medications to count. My Crohn’s disease has taken my vision in my right eye, my peripheral vision in my left eye, my job, my independence, and far too much family time. I also have neuropathy, short bowel syndrome, and anemia – all caused by Crohn’s. I struggled with c. diff for years. The c. diff tried to claim my life, but once again I fought. After another minor surgery and a fecal transplant I have won the battle with c. diff. I’m telling you all of this not because I want sympathy or pity, but rather because I want people to know what IBD is. My goal is to raise awareness. IBD isn’t just “a bathroom disease.”
Despite all of my struggles with IBD, it has brought some good things into my life. I’m stronger than I ever thought I could be. Crohn’s has made me face my fears, and I’ve come out with bravery I never knew I was capable of possessing. Crohn’s has also made my marriage stronger. My husband is Superman for everything that he has battled through right by my side. He is my rock, my biggest cheerleader, my confidant, and my best friend.
Today is World IBD Day, and I’m writing this post from my hospital bed. My Crohn’s is flaring, so here I sit. I’m in pain, nauseous, vomiting, and I haven’t been able to eat or drink in over 48 hours.
I had a really good span of time when I was doing okay. I managed to stay out of the hospital for 7 whole months. That may not seem like much to you, but for me it was the longest period of time that I have stayed out of the hospital. I see a pain management specialist, I had a fecal transplant, and I started taking high quality supplements that made a huge difference for me. You see, Crohn’s is a chronic disease. There is no cure.
Again, I’m writing this to raise awareness. I want to tell my story in the hopes that one day it might help someone else. Crohn’s might win some battles, but it won’t win the fight. As long as I’m alive I vow that I will always fight.