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Posted on Saturday 18 August 2012 at 9:00 am

Month Meme - Day 16

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Ganked this from mrstater. Would love to see more people do it, if you've got any time at all!

Day 16: Your worst illness
I was about to say that I haven't had any really bad illnesses, because, well I haven't. I get some kind of cold / bronchitis thing at least once every winter, but I've never had any major illness requiring hospitalization or anything like that. Then I remembered the minor detail that I have a lifelong disorder requiring that I take 10 to 12 pills daily to keep it under control and me at something resembling normal health, a number that skyrockets when things go wrong as does sometimes happen. Oh yeah. It really is just such a part of who I am and my daily existence that I don't think about it all that much anymore unless it is seriously acting up. I certainly don't really think of it as an illness because it is part of me, but illness it technically is.

So, the correct answer is Crohn's Disease. What follows is not overly but somewhat disgusting details on Crohn's, so stop now if you don't want to know. I was diagnosed in the summer of 2004 after months of being sick. Crohn's is an autoimmune disorder, which basically means that my immune system is out of whack and rather than attacking things like bad bacteria and viruses, it attacks things like good bacteria and the rest of my body. Autoimmune disorders are largely characterized by what part of the body they attack and Crohn's focuses on any part of the digestive system but primarily the intestines. I've got it in both the small and large intestines and basically my body is constantly eating away at the walls of my intestines, causing swelling and inflammation and/or open, bleeding sores. This means my intestines don't work all that well and have serious problems digesting things that are high in fiber or refuse/roughage like vegetables, nuts, whole grains, seeds, etc. and sometimes my guts give me sharp pains, especially shortly after I've eaten. It also just takes up a lot of my energy and sometimes I'll be really tired and drained for no apparent reason. The main medications I take are immuno-suppressants to try to calm down my immune system and keep it from attacking me. They are somewhat targeted at my intestines, but it is impossible to completely target it so my immune system generally is slightly compromised making me more prone to catching minor illnesses and to getting infections from cuts and the like.

In most cases, the Crohn's can eventually cause so much scarring and damage that portions of the intestines become completely unusable and have to be surgically removed. In some but not all cases it can eat holes all the way through the intestines resulting in waste spilling into the internal cavity or little tubes called fistulas will form connecting the holes to nearby organs such as liver, kidneys, uterus, etc. and waste pumps into those. I've never had fistulas and my Crohn's largely stays under control so I don't yet have enough scarring that I've had to have surgery. I have a cousin who was diagnosed the year before me (Crohn's is genetic so it runs in families), and he has had fistulas and has had to have surgery around five times, I think. I've lost track. Crohn's is not considered fatal, but it does significantly increase the chances of developing colon cancer. Unfortunately, colon cancer is one of the deadliest cancers. Fortunately, colon cancer when caught early is one of the most treatable cancers and I am under routine monitoring for colon cancer due to the increased risk so even if I do get it, odds are it will be caught early enough and I'll be able to survive it. Most likely.

The Days of the Meme
1. Your name
2. All the places you've lived
3. Your first best friend
4. Your childhood fears
5. What you were like in high school
6. Your favourite and least favourite subjects at school
7. Your first boyfriend or girlfriend
8. Your oldest hobby
9. Your sexuality
10. What you look for in a partner
11. Your kids, or your feelings about having kids
12. Your pets, past and present
13. Foods you love and foods you hate
14. What your life was like ten years ago
15. How much alcohol you drink
16. Your worst illness
17. What you do at work
18. A question or comment people should never make to you
19. The style of clothing you feel most comfortable in
20. Whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert
21. Who you have a crush on
22. A friendship you lost
23. Three achievements you’re proud of
24. Your political views
25. Your religious beliefs
26. Your perfect night out
27. Whether you like to plan ahead or be spontaneous
28. What you look for in a friend
29. Whether you’re a night owl or a morning lark
30. How you would like people to remember you


Ms. J to the Diva
jadeddiva at 2:55 pm on 18 August 2012 (UTC) (Link)
One of my close friends as an ostomy due to IBD/Ulcertaive Colitis and does a TON of outreach on Facebook. She has a Crohn's/UC Community if you're ever interested. Good to hear that you've got it under control :)

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