Whats your story? Meet Jack!

Hi all!

How are we doing? Picking up with the “What’s your story?” section of my blog, I’d like to introduce you to Jack, a fitness professional who is battling with Crohn’s. He has a very informative blog and is quite involved in helping other people who have the condition. Here he has shared some of his thoughts on the disease. 

I have Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease is a chronic autoimmune disorder characterized by inflammation of the intestines, particularly the colon and ileum. People with Crohn’s often have major issues with ulcers and fistulae.

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Crohn Colitis. Ed Uthman/Flickr 

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Crohn Colitis. Ed Uthman/Flickr

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Crohn Colitis. Ed Uthman/Flickr 

Diagnosed 20 years ago, I used to struggle to understand why I was chosen to have this wretched disease. And, wretched it is. It makes you very conscious of something that most people do not like to talk about – pooping. To say that how I poop, when I poop and where I can poop dominate my thoughts is an understatement.

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Creative Commons 

Because most people with Crohn’s disease experience frequent, urgent diarrhea, it’s not uncommon for people with mild cases to feel the urge to go more than 30 times a day. And, if you have had surgery to remove a damaged section of your intestines and it revolves removal of the cecum, forget holding it. The cecum is where water is stripped from waste to make it solid; without it, you are literally trusting your anus to function like a dam. Struggling with incontinence at the age of 14 is a very unpleasant thing.

However, after having this disease for so long, I stopped wondering why me and instead focus on living the most productive, active life possible. And, knowing how devastating a Crohn’s diagnosis can be, I have also started performing outreach and sharing information with Crohnies (that’s what they call us), to help make the journey easier for them. As I am sure you can imagine, learning that you have this disease and that there is no cure can be a very depressing reality to come to terms with and accept.

For most Crohn’s sufferers, we hate nothing more than when someone trying to be sympathetic shares a story about a really bad stomach flu that they had. Trust me when I tell you that stomach flu is nothing like Crohn’s. I know Crohn’s patients who have had their appendixes removed so that doctor’s did not confuse Crohn’s pain with appendicitis. This is pain that they have suffered through for months and even years. Does that still remind you of your stomach flu?

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Creative Commons 

Another thing that drives Crohn’s patients insane is when people say we don’t look sick. Ummm…How can I prove that? Perhaps my anus will tell a better story? Surely, it’s traumatized from all the abuse it suffers daily and has suffered for the last few years. I am not sure what looking sick has to do with being sick, but I am sure this is something that people who suffer from chronic illnesses here all the time. We are sick. Trust us. So, when we want to use a restroom in an emergency, please let us. We don’t want to have to ask, but sometimes, it’s critical.

But, the thing that really makes us want to choke you is when people tell us that diet can cure Crohn’s — even though there is no such thing as a Crohn’s specific diet. Most people with Crohn’s cannot digest some things that are very good for you like leafy greens. I had a recent conversation with an African gentleman on Twitter who advised that the key to defeating Crohn’s was to switch to an all-organic diet. I asked him if he knew anyone that had cured Crohn’s that way; he did not, but he pointed to the lower incidences of these autoimmune diseases in less developed countries as proof that it’s possible.

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Creative Commons

So, I began thinking and doing some research. As it turns out, Crohn’s disease IS a first world problem. This map shows incidences of Crohn’s disease worldwide.

Can it truly be solved by merely switching to a 100% organic diet? I already am a healthy eater. I am a fitness professional and former gym owner for Pete’s sake. But, I do not always eat organic food. We know what the antibiotics and steroids do to the cows and chickens. Why wouldn’t it impact us the same?

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Creative Commons 

Instead of getting upset with this well-meaning gentleman, I decided to take this as a challenge. I am going to embark on an organic journey for the next few months and see if that changes anything. It can’t be any worse than the steroids and drug treatments that I have endured over the years.

You can follow my journey on my blog. But, be warned. I talk a lot of crap. Literally.

Cover photo: Creative Commons

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jack! And thanks for reading. Do check out Jack’s blog, and as always if you have read this, have Crohn’s and would like to share your story please get in touch. 

KBO

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About tomcoppin

Hello! I'm Tom, and have started this blog to share my experience of living life with a condition called Crohn's Disease. I've had the condition for a long time and have recently undergone surgery, hence the scar in the picture. I want to share my experiences to raise awareness of Crohn's, as well as helping out people who have been diagnosed. If you have any questions then feel free to message or comment and I will answer! Have a great day people. KBO
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