Special Report: Coping With Crohn's

By: Brett Baldeck Email
By: Brett Baldeck Email

Despite years of research there is still no solid cure or answer as to why certain people are affected with Crohn's. The side affects are often painful. For one local woman it even meant frequent hospital visits.

Crohn's Disease affects more than 3 million people but often goes unnoticed. The most common form affects the colon. Many patients experience extreme abdominal pain sometimes to the point where they cannot move.

Margee Keoshian was diagnosed with Crohn's disease 9 years ago. She has had multiple hospital visits and surgeries to repair tears in her gastrointestinal tract.

"I have had a few hospital stays. My longest is I think I spent a week in the hospital and it even got to the point where my husband and I and our family had to move in with my parents because I couldn't take care of my kids so they took care of all of us," says Keoshian.

Margee says the frequent hospital visits combined with severe pain and fatigue took its toll early on. Her last hospital visit was in early July and she now says she is 100% thanks to the right medication.

"It's one of those things where you wake up in the morning going how do I feel? Is this going to be a good day? Is this going to be a bad day? The first few years are kinda the toughest because you are trying to find what medicine works for you," says Keoshian.

Dr. Robert Emslie, a Gastroenterologist at Graves Gilbert Health Clinic, says hospital visits are becoming less frequent for patients as advances in modern medicine have been made.

"We used to see people in the hospital all the time with treatment with high dose prednizone, which is not a fun drug to be on for an extended period of time, but with the modern drugs that they have developed over the last decade and a half things have gotten a lot better," says Emslie.

Common symptoms associated with Crohn's Disease include:
-Extreme abdominal cramps which prevent movement.
-A weight loss of 15 pounds or more within a months time.
-A change in bowel movements which can occur after every meal.

Dr. Emslie says he has seen many patients who suffer from mild symptoms without realizing a problem.

"These people will sometimes go 10 or 15 years with mild complaints and maybe if they don't have obstruction or bleeding they have intermediate problems and people just write it off," says Emslie.

Once the right treatment is received it's a life changing experience for many.

"Some people say once they are treated "I didn't know I could feel this good". I just didn't have any energy before and these pains in the abdominal, and life gets better," says Emslie.

Cronh's Disease has affected many including myself. After months of tests I was diagnosed my senior year of college. Although times got tough I graduated college feeling better than ever. I am now living my dream with no ill affects, working in a career I've always wanted.

Dr. Robert Emslie says if anyone feels a change in their body or just doesn't feel right they should visit their doctor immediately.

Crohn's Disease is a treatable medical condition as long as people are able to see the signs and receive the right help.

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