Posts tagged ‘Crohn’s’

March 18th, 2014

Celebrities with Crohn’s Disease

by Max Andrews

Original  source Fox Health.

Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that can be incredibly challenging. In Crohn’s disease, a rogue immune system attacks the digestive tract, causing inflammation and tissue damage.

Crohn’s disease symptoms include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever, and fatigue. Like many autoimmune diseases, symptoms tend to cycle, getting worse during flare-ups and then subsiding.

Here are 11 people who achieved celebrity for their deeds—not their Crohn’s disease diagnosis—and how they dealt with the condition.

Cynthia McFadden
ABC News correspondent McFadden first experienced the excruciating pain of Crohn’s disease, which her friends euphemistically dubbed “George,” in her sophomore year of college.

“They weren’t going to say, ‘Did you have 15 diarrhea attacks today?’” the journalist says in a 1994 People magazine interview. “So, instead, they’d ask me, ‘How’s George?’”

November 30th, 2012

Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week

by Max Andrews

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)
·      Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)
read more »

July 28th, 2012

Have Hope – Life Beyond Crohn’s

by Max Andrews

My name is Max Andrews and I have Crohn’s disease and have battled with it for eight years. I recently had a major surgery in which I had 15cm of my small intestine, a few inches of my colon, and my appendix removed.

There is no cure for Crohn’s and post-surgery there is usually a 50% chance of remission. Well, I have a 70% chance it will actually get worse and I will have more problems and surgeries down life’s path.

Crohn’s is responsible for the lowest valleys in my life. There were many times when I thought it was over for me and that this was all in vain. What I held on to, which got me through, and still gets me through all this, is hope. Hope that this will all have meaning and purpose to it. Hope is what makes me persevere.

I have partnered with BonfireFunds to help raise support for me. Please visit their site and see how you can help me and others.

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July 20th, 2012

The Crohn’s Chronicles: One Long Year Later…

by Max Andrews

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.

October 30th, 2011

An Update on my Brief Hiatus

by Max Andrews

As many of you know I’ve been in the hospital for five days due to some Crohn’s related problems.  I went in last Tuesday with pains that were very similar to my last flare up, which led to me to a major surgery that should have spared me 3-5 years.  Anyways, I’m in recovery mode from this most recent flare up though I’m not completely out of the woods yet.  I’ll be heading up to UVA in the next few weeks to have a procedure/consultation on how to treat this from here on out due to the still unknown spots on my liver.

I hope to be getting to some more blogging in the next week or so here.  I’m halfway finished with my review of Skeptic Magazine’s review of William Lane Craig in their recent issue.  Additionally, I’ll be lecturing in the next few weeks on fine-tuning, the multiverse, and the problem of evil.  I already have these lectures prepared from earlier lectures but I’ve been reading more papers on the multiverse and I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on here. Aside from blogging, I’m a little behind in my research for my epistemology course.  I’m hoping to do research on the role of inference in belief formation and belief/paradigm change.  I’m also amidst my graduate research on fine-tuning and the multiverse as well as my research in my Thomas Aquinas course on Thomas’ thoughts on creation and time.

More to come later on, again, sorry for the lack of updates and posts.

July 3rd, 2011

The Crohn’s Chronicles: Second Thoughts

by Max Andrews

As many of you know, I’ve been battling Crohn’s disease for seven years now.  Most recently I’ve been struggling through a flare up that has lasted over a month now.  I’ve been treated as an outpatient for this flare up with antibiotics, steroids, and painkillers.  This past Thursday I had an appointment with my gastrointestinal doctor.  I want to add that this was a very timely appointment for if I had not been going to see this doctor I would have been going to the hospital because I was in so… much… pain… The doctor came in and asked about my medications and I told him I’ve gotten worse since being on them.  He saw the amount of pain I was in and within one minute of him seeing me he said, “I’m sending you to the hospital.”  My doctor’s concern was that I may need to have an emergency surgery to remove this section of my intestines (which doesn’t necessarily fix the problem in the long run anyways, 50% of the time the Crohn’s returns).  On the drive to the hospital my mind started to feel overwhelmed and I told my wife, “I’m so tired of being in pain…

My doctor was kind enough to call the emergency room prior to us leaving his office to notify them that I was on my way.  When we arrived all I had to do was tell them my name and that I was a rush admittance. I waited for no more than two minutes and they got me into an ER room.  They hooked me up to a saline/potassium IV and gave me a morphine injection to help the ease my pain. The next moment they brought me my favorite, beloved, most hated hospital beverage–vanilla flavored barium (for my CT scan I was about to have).  Barium is disgusting. Leah (my wife) sat by my side and encouraged me the whole entire time.  Mid-drink Leah told me, “We’ve still got to see this as a blessing, Max.”  This statement has dominated most of my thoughts since that Thursday morning.

I recently wrote a blog post on the blessings of having a disease.  It’s so easy to look back on to something and try to pull the good out of it.  It’s hard to look forward and expect bad things to happen and to pull the good from it then simply because the definitions of the situations have yet to be set, it’s unknown.  The hardest thing to do is in the midst of pain, look at yourself, keep a straight face and tell yourself that you honestly believe that there is good in this.  The morphine didn’t do much for me in the ER.  Not much longer than fifteen minutes after my first injection I needed another.  The nurse told me that I had been given enough morphine to hold me over for two hours.

Allow me to give a context for my pain levels this past month.  I don’t quite know how to compare the actual physical pain to something more recognizable but I’ve always said it’s like digesting glass or someone reaching into your gut, squeezing intestines and twisting them around.  My mother has recently been diagnosed with Crohn’s (she was diagnosed this past month amidst all of this).  She has said the pain is similar to child-birth (and I’ve heard many people compare the pain to child-birth as well).  Anyways, the pain has progressively grown more in frequency and intensity in the last month.  Sometimes the day would be great with minimal problems–others a blur from coping with it.  I went through three bottles of [prescription] pain killers in one month trying to deal with this.  The last week leading up to this most recent hospital visit got so bad that I started to develop back pains.  I’ve had back pains in the past so I figured it was just another problem that could be treated with back rubs and Icy-Hot.  I soon came to learn that my back pain was from Crohn’s.

Well, to resume the story, I wasn’t in the ER very long at all and I never did get my [needed] injection of morphine.  While in the ER the pain got so bad again that I gave myself a fever.  I arrived at the hospital with a 98.6 degree temperature.  Modestly, I wasn’t in the ER for over an hour.  By the time I got to my room I developed a 100.4 degree fever.  My RN came into my room as I was being wheeled in and she promptly went to get me some morphine and made a comment to someone roughly similar to, “Why are they not giving him morphine? Do they not see how much pain he is in?” You couldn’t have played Bach’s Fugue in C-Sharp Minor and tell me that this nurse’s words weren’t sweeter music to my ears.  My nurse told me that my fever was developed by my attempts of dealing with the pain.  When I was being wheeled into my room that first time I noticed that I was on the oncology floor.  I asked the nurse if she knew something that I didn’t and why I was on the oncology floor.  She said that the oncology unit specializes in pain control and that it was the best place for me to be at the time.  She made me smile at that (which also helped remove oncology-related questions and concerns).

My mother-in-law came to visit me within the first few hours of my stay and while she was there I was wheeled out for my CT scan.  She stayed with Leah in the room while I made my way to X-Ray for the scans.  CT scans aren’t my favorite but they don’t last very long.  To help with imaging they inject a radioactive contrast moments prior to the scan.  While being scanned you get a metallic taste in your mouth, a sensation similar to wetting yourself (I don’t know what it is but if they hadn’t warned me about that the first time I would’ve thought I had actually wet myself…), and a feeling of intense heat running through your body.  Well, I got my results later that afternoon.  My intestines had become so inflamed that it had put pressure on and displaced my kidney.  My kidney was responsible for my back pain (lower right back) and the inflammation, directly or indirectly by the kidney, put pressure some nerves, which intensified the pain.

That first night in the hospital, Thursday, I was being taken well care of by the nurses and doctors.  I can honestly say that I’m very impressed with the Lynchburg General Hospital staff.  I had a fairly liberal amount of morphine at my will when needed.  My way of testing my pain levels was taking in a deep breath and trying to sit up.  Breathing in caused the rest of my organs to move around just enough for my intestines to be irritated and sitting up moved my back enough to cringe.  My last injection was at 10 PM Thursday night when I wasn’t feeling much pain any more.  I love my pain killers but I love getting rid of the pain over masking it and I became determined to get out of the hospital.  The rest of my stay was wait-and-see.  I was being pumped full of intense treatment, which was a couple different antibiotics and steroids.  The next day, Friday, the doctor was surprised to see how far I’ve come with all the pain.  He thought for sure I would be in the hospital until at least Monday.  I had an early discharge from the hospital Saturday morning–no surgery needed.

Leah has been such a blessing in my life.  I love my wife so much.  This was the second flare up in six months and she has been by my side every step of the way in prayer and support.  She slept over every night and the last night there she was so worn out from working a fourteen hour work day that while she was cuddling with me in my hospital bed she fell asleep with me in that tiny little bed the whole night.  The nurses thought it was the cutest thing ever.  My mother and her fiancé, Howie, visited me Saturday afternoon, which was quite pleasant and needed.  I love my family so much.

Well, though my physical pain has passed away for the time being, my emotional and spiritual pain has intensified.  I started putting my mind in the way of hard questions.  I don’t want to say I started doubting but I wanted to keep my mind balanced.  I needed to check my balance between my emotions and my academics/intellect.  I started asking questions like: “Is there a God?” and “Why would God allow this?”  Despite my situation, the questions weren’t too hard to deal with and I credit having a strong foundation in my faith to not waver in the trials.  That’s not to say I didn’t have hard questions because I did.  The hard questions and struggles came when I realized that I started living in fear of pain.  I didn’t want to eat anything because I was afraid of the pain.  I likened myself to Dr. House who always seeks a way out of his problems in efforts to avoid his own pain (both physical and non-physical pain). I was pleading with God to just give me a break.  “God, please, no more pain!” I pled with God to just let things going right for once.  I had an emotional break down that night and wept.  I wanted to be done with pain.  I wanted to not worry about finances and whether or not I can afford to have a sandwich with a buddy and not throw off the budget.  I wanted to be able to drive across town and not worry about the gas.  I wanted to have our two vehicles we once had instead of one.  I wanted to have a job with normal work hours or to not stretch for overtime because I know we need the extra money.  I wanted to not be on medicine and if I had to be on medicine, that it not have the side-effects that they do have (breaking out, bloating, digestive problems, mood problems, etc.).

There were so many problems running through my head that I just wanted a break from!  I then stopped and thought about my situation in the bigger scheme and got mad at myself for complaining about it.  I have a house that I can get mad at when the weather rips off the storms windows.  I have family that I can bicker with.  I have a car that I can curse at yell at when it stalls in the middle of an intersection almost causing an accident. I have a job with great employers and coworkers who bend over backwards for me and visit me in the hospital.  I have medicine to treat my problems.  I have a great argument for every problem I have as to why it shouldn’t be a problem to me.  But still… I asked God, in my context, I would like things to go smooth just for a while…

This is where I am right now.  I’m trying to work all this out, hoping for things to smooth for me.  To not have these stresses build up causing me to break down every once in a while.  My life is good, it’s real good.  God has been so great to me.  The hard thing is being okay with it in my own context.  I know that the prayers of family and friends are what God used to expedite my care this past hospital stay.  I thank all of you so much for it.  I love you all.  Please continue to pray for me as I deal with the questions and that I will be sensitive to God’s work in me, that I may have His perspective on things and that I not get too entangled in my own sight and contexts.  I said earlier that the hardest thing to do is in the midst of pain, look at yourself, keep a straight face and tell yourself that you honestly believe that there is good in this.  I’ve come to learn that in the midst of pain, it’s easier to not look at myself, but to look to my heavenly Father and tell him that I honestly believe that there is good in this… even if I can’t see it right now…

June 6th, 2011

The Blessings of Having a Disease

by Max Andrews

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.