Sunday, August 11, 2013

Crohn's Disease

I haven't talked about Crohn's on the blog yet...and I have been thinking about it a lot lately.

This is my story.

I was diagnosed in 2004 after six months of being sick.

I had lost 50 pounds in three weeks and couldn't keep out of the bathroom. I went through every test imaginable and then was finally told I had bladder cancer. So, my mom flew to Prince Albert Saskatchewan, where I was living at the time, for my exploratory surgery.

I was given a spinal, which froze me from the waist down, but ended up falling asleep in the operating room. When I woke up, I was given the news: it was Crohn's disease... Not cancer. 

I remember feeling so happy to finally have an answer but also really scared. My Nana has passed away five years earlier because of complications from ulcerative colitis, another form of inflammatory bowel disease.

Once I was diagnosed, I started medication to control my symptoms. I also started removing my trigger foods from my diet and trying to be less stressed.

The following year, I moved from PA to Lethbridge and began working at CTV. My symptoms had been under control for about 16 months when all of a sudden I had a bad flare up. It was November, 2005 and I was at work. I wasn't feeling well and ran to the bathroom to throw up. My stomach felt like someone was stabbing me on the inside. I told my boss I was sick and drive myself to the emergency room. 8 hours later, I was finally seen by a doctor and told I would be staying over night. I was there for 14 days before I had surgery. Doctors had found a fistula and removed four and a half feet of my lower bowel and half my bladder. I stayed in hospital another 10 days before being released and another month at home recovering.

After that surgery, I became really involved with the Crohns and colitis Foundation of Canada. I started out as Media Rep for the local chapter, took over as chapter president, had a three year term as "chair" on the first ever youth advisory council, started "The Gutsy Generation" for those with IBD between 15-35 and served a two year term on the National Board of Directions, which I just wrapped up last year. I miss volunteering and hope to jump back into it soon!

Since my surgery in 2005, I have definitely had flare ups but not as bad as they have been in the past. I actually went off my medication in 2011 to get my body ready to start trying for a baby. During pregnancy, I felt great! I could eat all my trigger foods (probably part of the reason I gained 59 pounds!!) 

I was sick for a few weeks after London was born but feel better now. I haven't started my medication again because we do want to start trying for another baby in the next year (I think) and I find that healthy eating and exercise have been the best thing for me!

I think Inflammatory Bowel Disease is an invisible disease so I like to talk about it and be a support for other people dealing with it! 

Today is actually my Nana's birthday (and yesterday was the anniversary of her death) so I have been thinking a lot of her and IBD lately.  

Miss you Nana!! 


2 comments:

  1. Great post, Kaella! I too feel like it's an 'invisible disease' because of the symptoms it's not talked about. Unfortunately so many people live with IBD and feel as though they can't talk about it because of it! What a whirlwind you have been through with the disease, it's scary to see family members suffering or passing because of the same disease that you yourself are living with. Glad to hear that you are doing well and off of your medication! I find that healthy eating and exercise helps a lot too, the exercise helps to deal with stress and the food just fuels your body to do good :) Sorry for the long winded reply, it's just something I'm also passionate about ;)

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  2. Wow what a story Kaella. Thanks for sharing. I think these types of diseases are becoming so common and it's nice to see people sharing their story so other people going through something similar don't feel so alone.

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