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I believe everyone has a personal battle or two they fight daily. My battle is with Crohn’s disease. I am currently starting a round of prednisone to try to tame my latest flare. If you have ever been on prednisone, you’ll know I am not excited about it. Prednisone makes some people gain weight; it makes me a crazy dragon lady. However, it does the trick to keep the beast of Crohn’s at bay.
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory disorder of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It is an ongoing condition that can be quite capricious in how it affects each individual. Onset of the disease is usually in the early teens to early 30s. Doctors still scratch their heads a little when it comes to Crohn’s because it affects people in so many different ways. Because of the variety of the disease, there are numerous medications and treatments.
I grew up generally healthy, pursuing a career in dance and now in the fitness industry. In 2011, I fell ill with a flu virus and I never recovered. Instead, I got progressively worse. I kept telling myself I was simply having a tough time being a mom and kept my condition a secret until I was ultimately admitted to the hospital.
I spent the next six months feeling like a guinea pig as my GI doctor tried different medications to stabilize me. During those months, I could not work or care for my child. It was an extremely difficult, but humbling experience. We settled on Remicade® which was to be administered via IV every eight weeks. The following six months, I began to crawl my way back into daily life. I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. One thing I discovered was that I felt better if I made myself work out.
As my condition stabilized, I began to scrutinize my nutrition and decided to make some changes. I learned that if I removed certain foods from my diet, it made a difference in how I felt. My GI doctor did not believe me since traditional doctors lean more toward medications than holistic solutions. The $9,000 price tag on each treatment was also adding up for me. So I made the decision to take control.
I gave up alcohol and dairy completely, tweaking my daily diet in order to avoid specific foods. I added easily digested liquid nutrition in the form of protein shakes. I began to focus on my fitness as one of the most important anchors to my day. I started practicing daily meditation. All of this became my lifestyle, with the goal being to get off Remicade®.
I finally got off all my once-regular medications. I am a personal trainer, group instructor and fitness coach by profession. I live an active lifestyle. I have not cured myself; I sit here managing my Crohn’s with prednisone. This is the first flare I’ve had in a year. As far as I am concerned, I am winning this battle with Crohn’s.
I may have Crohn’s, but Crohn’s doesn’t have me.