November 30th, 2012
I would like to ask all of you to wear purple at least once this week for Crohn’s and Colitis awareness week. As some of you know, I’ve been in a tough battle with the disease for a while now and I’ve been in chronic pain since last summer. For more on my story please see my links:
Originally blogged at My Journey With Crohns.
As a result of a federal bill introduced by Senator Harry Reid
(D-NV) and Congressman Andrew Crenshaw
(R-FL-4) (passed in 2011 [LINK: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/sres199/text
], Congress declared December 1-7 to be Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week to educate Americans about the diseases and encourage people to join in the effort to find a cure for IBD. This resolution was passed in thanks to some great Senators and Representatives who cosponsored it including:
· Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS)
· Senator Jack Reed (D-RI)
· Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
· Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)
July 20th, 2012
Today, July 20, 2012, marks the first anniversary of my Crohn’s surgery. I have had Crohn’s for eight years and it has won the battle over a few organs. I was in serious pain for just over a month prior to the surgery. I spent my birthday last year, July 18, in pain. The next day I was going to go out with some friends to TGI Friday’s for a Jack Daniel’s steak to celebrate my birthday. I wasn’t feeling well that afternoon and took a nap. I woke up with a 105 degree fever. Leah rushed me to the hospital. I was not a good patient. I was angry. I refused to take the CT scan at first because I knew what they would find. I gave in. I didn’t know what they would find. I was wrong. They found that my colon was perforated and I needed emergency surgery. They let my body rest for the night in the ICU. It was a rough night…
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I remember the nurses pushing my bed into the room where they prepped me for surgery. I was, of course, having fun with all the drugs I was on, but I knew what was going on. My Dad and step-mother drove out from Richmond for my surgery. I’m so glad they did. I saw them before going in thinking, “What if this is the last time I see them?” The staff let Leah back in one more time before I went unconscious. She had to hold on my wedding ring while I was in surgery. I remember asking my surgeon how many times he’s done this surgery and he said that my condition was “pretty bad” but that he has done thousands and this sort of thing was his “bread and butter.” I trusted him. These surgeries happen all the time, so why was I so nervous deep down?
Before Leah came back into the prep area to get my ring, I prayed. Even though I was high as a kite on the dilaudid and Valium it was the most serious prayer I ever made. I prayed for the surgeon and that I’d make it out okay. I felt like I couldn’t even pray for no complications. Even if complications happened I didn’t care, I just wanted to come out on the other side. This was the first time I seriously entertained the thought that I might actually die and these are my last few moments awake. Without the surgery I could have easily died in a short period of time, but I didn’t think that was going to happen. I’ll come back to this in a bit.
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June 6th, 2011
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in May 2004 at the end of my Junior year of high school. Crohn’s is an autoimmune disease and mine happens to be in my terminal ileum at the end of my small intestine. When I first went to the emergency room seven years ago I felt like someone had reached into my gut and started twisting my organs around while I was digesting glass. It was, and is, extremely painful and nauseating. It was about the sixth day in the hospital when the doctor diagnosed me. I wept once he left the room because I knew that this had ruined my life dreams of serving in the U.S. Army as an intelligence analyst. Well, seven years later I can look at this disease and honestly say that it has been one of the greatest gifts God has ever given me.
I’ve had a flare up (reoccurrence) about once a year since I was first diagnosed. I refused long-term medication for a while since it started out as a mild case and medication wouldn’t allow me to join the Army. I graduated high school and took a year off before going to college so I could work with the Army and doctors so I could enlist. My attempts fell short and I could not overturn or appeal my medical disqualification. It had been my dream since I was a young child. I have a very patriotic family and both of my grandfathers served. My mother’s father was an NCO in the U.S. Air Force around the Korean War and worked with nuclear bombs. My father’s father was an officer in the U.S. Navy and served on the U.S.S. Dauphin. I felt it was my duty to serve my country. I excelled in J.R.O.T.C. in high school as the Battalion Commander, the leader of over 250 other cadets and I was one of the most decorated (if not the most decorated) cadets in the school’s history. I studied government until my second semester sophomore year of college. I knew then that I was called to something greater; I knew that God had a specific purpose for me and his purpose was greater than anything I could have planned for. I then became an undergraduate biblical studies student and I’m now a philosophy graduate student. However, these are peripheral details that resulted from my Crohn’s. The blessing is so much greater than any classes I’ve ever taken.
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