by Dave C.
Hi, I'm posting my story on Crohn's forums. Frankly, I feel compelled to get word out about what's helped me with this disease.
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s in 1995. My colon was lined with ulcers and when it would flare up, there were times, my doctor would say, the inflammation was so severe my colon would be nearly blocked.
My symptoms were typical of anyone who has Crohn’s Disease:
unimaginable weight loss (as low as 112 lbs and I am 5’10”), severe abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, diarrhea (when I had a bowel movement, which was infrequent), difficulty sleeping because of the pain, general feeling of being tired (all the time!), ulcers in the mouth, and fistulas.
Because of the inflammation, my body was not able to absorb the nutrients from the little food I was able to digest.
Then the unthinkable but inevitable happened. Because of the inflammation, my colon ruptured in November 1996 and I was rushed to the hospital. The doctor confirmed the diagnosis: my colon had ruptured and the infection was spreading rapidly throughout my body. There was no choice but to have emergency surgery and hopefully catch the infection before it spread.
I vividly remember lying in that hospital bed, in the emergency room, not knowing what my future held or if I even had a future. For a brief moment, I contemplated not having the surgery even though the doctor gave me no choice. Have the surgery or in a week or two be put six feet under. Then I thought of my two precious daughters. What would they do without a father? I had NO choice!
The surgery that followed changed my life for years, even though the colostomy was only supposed to be temporary. The doctor resectioned the colon, connecting it to my stomach wall so I had to excrete into a bag (known as having a colostomy).
Now, not only did I have to deal with all the aforementioned symptoms of the Crohn’s, but also had the unduling task of dealing with “this bag” hanging from the outside of my stomach. Physically I was drained from the battle with Crohn’s and now, as I would soon find out, the mental battle would soon begin. When you have a medical condition like Crohn’s Disease, as well as others, it is one thing to be strong enough to fight the physical symptoms but you also have to be strong mentally to fight changes in your appearance. Going from 140 or 145 lbs. to as low as 112 and looking like, as my Mother says now, a POW, takes a mental toughness that I never realized I had. The battle was just beginning!
Many years passed, with little or no improvement and it was not easy coming to terms that I had to live with this illness the rest of my life. My medical doctor kept telling me the only relief from the disease was medication (or drugs). His answer, when the Crohn’s would have a severe flare up, was to put me on steroids. Sure, the Crohn’s would go into remission and I would feel good for the short time of being on them. I would gain some weight back but also look like the Pillsbury dough boy. Why only be on steroids for a short time frame? Because, as is typical with any drug, there are severe, life changing, sometimes life threatening side effects.
My life basically consisted of going to work (if I had the energy), coming home and lying on the couch or in bed, eating very little dinner, visiting the bathroom frequently, taking medication that provided very little if any relief and going to bed. Trying to sleep through the night was impossible. I would wake up frequently because of the abdominal pain, attempt to go to the bathroom and either not be able to or have diarrhea. My sleep was very interrupted and unpleasant...day after day, week after week, month after month. Basically, I had no life!
I had come to the realization that I would have to live with the pain, the weight loss, the not sleeping, all the other side effects of the Crohn’s. And of having to live with the agonizing and irritating colostomy bag the doctors had told me was only temporary.
A gentleman I was talking with about my condition told me about a product he was taking called I26 that might help me. He mentioned how much it improved his quality of life. Being extremely skeptical from trying many other things, I, nonetheless, did some due diligence and research.
This time I was pleasantly surprised. After all the research I started using Immune 26 in April 2001, and have been on it ever since. The results have been nothing short of phenomenal. I am without abdominal pain, sleep through the night, have a great appetite with steady weight gain (now weighing a healthy 170 lbs.), energy level is high, have resumed exercising again (which I had not done in years), and got back to my favorite game of golf.
But the extremely good news is the change in my medical condition. In past years my doctor had recommended against surgery to reconnect my colon because of the amount of active Crohn’s Disease present in the colon. After four months of being on Immune 26 I had surgery to reconnect my colon, and my surgeon advised me there is a 95% chance there will not be a recurrence of the disease.
Why was the surgery performed at that time? Because the last time the doctor scoped my colon in June 2001, he found very little active Crohn’s Disease. All previous years to that, he would never recommend the surgery because the disease was so active.
I am convinced that now my immune system is balanced and responding better then ever, better able to fight off the ravages of this disease.
• Mid 1995, diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease.
• Nov. 1996, colon ruptured and emergency surgery with resulting colostomy bag.
• Apr. 2001, started immune 26. This is the ONLY change in my diet.
• Jun. 2001, doctor scoped colon, found very little active Crohn’s. Previous to this he would not even think about reconnecting.
• Sep. 2001, colon reconnected, NO MORE BAG!!! (after five (5) years of suffering)
• Dec. 2003, a healthy 170 lbs (on a 5’10” frame) and life is good! Feeling 25, not 40 (like I am).
Dave C. Aiken, SC