Posts Tagged ‘crohns disease’
Ok, ok, status updates:
1. I graduate this Saturday.
Yup, that is right. After two years of classes learning about fingerprints, firearms, DNA, autopsies, homicides, crime scenes, and the like, I will be getting my Master of Forensic Science degree from The George Washington University. I’m feeling a tad ambivalent about it though. On one hand I’m extremely happy that I’m done with school (for probably the rest of my life). On the other hand, I’m wondering what I’m going to do with myself. I won’t have classes, homework, a job, and a life to juggle. I’m fearful that I’m going to be bored. But I have lots of hobbies I want to pursue (like my photography, guitar, and violin). Maybe I’ll actually keep updating my blog consistently (what a concept!).
2. No Remicade for Me.
I visited my GI doctor last month and he decided that it isn’t the right time for me to go on Remicade (more about Remicade here). He felt that my symptoms weren’t severe enough to warrant me going on such an extreme treatment method. Instead, he upped my 6-MP dosage. Hopefully this will slowly heal my fistula. Since the visit the pain and discomfort from my fistula has dropped a lot. I’m going to set up a visit with my colon and rectal surgeon for next month to see how it is doing and hopefully see if the drain that is set in there can be removed.
3. Flickr and Twitter Updates
I have seriously become uber-addicted to Twitter lately. I’m updating at least once a day (if not more than that sometimes). I’ve also set it up so that I can update it via SMS text messaging through my cell phone. Since I don’t have an unlimited text messaging plan with my phone company (T-Mobile), I am trying to keep myself from updating via SMS only when I’m not within reach of internet access (which is pretty rare).
I’ve also updated my flickr with a bunch of pictures. Some are from my friend Larry’s wedding and some are from Cheri’s friend Melissa’s wedding. There are also a bunch of random other images as well. Here’s one of my favorite photos from this last batch, our friend Kate (left) with Cheri (right) getting ready for Larry’s wedding:
I’m not quite sure (and too lazy to look) when the last time I posted a Crohns Disease related update, but now is as good as any other time.
Its been over a year since the surgery I had to correct three fistulas caused by perianal abscesses (which in turn were caused by the Crohns). I had three setons put in (basically threads to help keep the fistula open to allow for drainage as they healed) at the surgery and have since had two removed. I still have two fistulas present while one has closed up completely. I’ve been going to my colon and rectal surgeon almost every month wherein she examines my fistulas and treats them will silver nitrate to promote healing.
I’m still taking daily doses of both Asacol and 6-MP (aka mercaptopurine) to manage the symptoms. I haven’t had any major symptoms nor flare ups since last year when I was first diagnosed. Occasionally I will have some minor temporary stomach cramps and/or some joint pain (mainly in my fingers or my knees). But these have been relatively minor and infrequent.
Since my fistulas haven’t been healing as quickly as my surgeon would like me to begin treatment with the drug Remicade. I’ve been hesitant to be put on Remicade since it is administered intravenously and once you begin treatment, you must remain on the drug for the rest of your life, otherwise it will become ineffective. From what I’ve read, Remicade has been a wonderful treatment for those with Crohns Disease and perianal disease. I have an appointment with my GI doctor next week, and I’ll discuss this option with him and see what he suggests.
But overall, my health has been greatly improved over this time last year. I’ve gained back most of the weight I initially lost when I had my first flare up, and I haven’t had a flare up since that initial attack. I give great thanks to my wife Cheri, my family, my friends, my doctors, my co-workers, my church small group and God for all the healing that I’ve received this past year. Hopefully the healing will continue and soon I will be completely symptom free.
He is strong. He fools most people. His co-workers and classmates do not know that the words “Crohn’s Disease” now sit under his name in medical files. They do not ask about the three pills he takes quietly at lunch, nor are they aware of the eleven others he will take throughout the day. Each month, while working a fulltime job and completing his master’s degree, he still must carve out even more time to devote to this on-going battle. This monthly routine includes, not only visiting Target for refills of his many prescriptions but also remembering to have has his blood drawn, meeting with his surgeon and waiting, sometimes hours, for his appointment with his gastroenterologist.
You can visit her site for the full post. (Link)
If you haven’t noticed, my post frequency here has been slightly below my average the past couple months. Mainly this is because for the last couple months, it has been quite painful to sit in front of my computer and write. No, I’m not getting headaches from the monitor. Nor am I easing into the world of carpal tunnel syndrome. The source of my pain has been in a rather different region. Namely, my butt.
Back in late October, I started getting some serious painage down in the valley and I had no idea what was going on. I felt swelling, tenderness, and much much pain. From there I decided to see a doctor. I just went to a normal family practice place. The kind with about 50 doctors–all of whom could really care less about you and your problems. After explaining my symptoms to the doctor and a quick exam, he determined I had a hemorrhoid. So he prescribed me some very expensive cream and sent me on my merry way.
About a month later, in early December, I still was feeling the symptoms I originally felt. Only this time, they were accentuated to the extreme. One night, I just could not handle the pain any more. I literally hoped Cheri would kill me because I was in so much pain. But instead, she did the sensible thing and brought me to the emergency room.
At the emergency room, the doctor continued to give me the same song and dance about hemorrhoids that my original doctor gave me. Eat more fiber, don’t strain on the toilet, exercise. Blah blah blah. Who needs that crap? Anyway, after lecturing me, she actually decided to take a look and was pleasantly surprised. She proceeded to give me the good news that I, in fact, did not have a hemorrhoid. Instead, I had a perianal abscess. How lucky I was!
A perianal abscess is similar to a boil, yet the pus originates from an infected gland in the anus that drains into the fatty tissue in the butt. Thus it swells, hurts like hell, and sometimes leaks really smelly pus. And the only way to make it better is to open it up and let it drain.
Since my abscess was very bad, they put me on morphine and opened up my abscess in the ER. Even though I had morphine, I was in an excruciating about of pain. It was so bad that during the entire procedure I screamed at the top of my lungs. It was the worst pain I’d felt in my life.
Luckily the procedure was done in only about 5 or 10 minutes. Afterwords I was sent home and told to go visit a colon and rectal surgeon. Then I made an appointment with Dr. Doughtery here in Fairfax to get looked at. At the appointment she looked to see if the ER did an OK job draining the abscess, and then sat Cheri and I down to explain what a perianal abscess is and what would happen from here. She explained that in about 50% of cases, abscesses come back because a fistula has formed. A fistula is a canal that has formed from the original infected gland and is feeding bacteria to the abscess.
After the appointment, things got better fairly quickly. I would walk normally and almost sit without too much pain. But soon, things got worse again. I was just thinking it was part of the healing process, but I was wrong. I was forming more abscesses. Once again, I couldn’t take the pain anymore, so I went to Dr. Doughtery’s office to get looked at. It was found that I had formed two more abscesses. Yay!
That day they were drained, and it helped a lot. The draining at the surgeon’s office did not hurt as much as it did in the ER because I think they actually knew what they were doing. But then the doctor feared I might have Crohn’s disease. This is because multiple abscesses for someone as young as I am is a sign of the disease. So I was ordered to get an upper GI and small intestine examination done.
The next day I went to the radiologist and had the exam done. It was kind of a neat procedure. They made me drink a lot of Barium (which was disgusting). The Barium creates a contrast so that they can examine my intestines with x-rays and fluoroscopy.
A couple days ago I got the results back and found that it looks like I have Crohn’s Disease. It really isn’t as bad as it sounds. Its just an inflammatory bowel condition that may get flare-ups due to stress or dietary habits. But I won’t exactly find out what I need to do about it until I go see my gastroenterologist in a couple weeks. All I will have to do though is take some medication to help keep the disease at bay so I don’t experience any symptoms.
Luckily though, I’ve been getting better and am now able to sit at the computer again. Hopefully, I will continue to post more frequently here again.
UPDATE (6/13/2008): Thanks to everyone who’ve commented. Please feel free to use the comments to continue discussion and support for those who suffer from perianal abscesses!