Every relationship must be built on transparency and I am going to be 100% open about this. I figure there are probably tens of thousands of Chron’s sufferers that have been through the same thing and have felt some of the same emotions that I have.
Chron’s Disease can impact you anywhere in your GI tract from the mouth to the anus. It’s just my luck that the central point of my Chron’s is in the anus. Around 1997 is when Chron’s decided to introduce itself to me and I was scared as hell when the symptoms hit me. It started with a lot of pain in the anal area that eventually led to what appeared to be freaking lacerations in my butt. From these “lacerations” large amounts of pus and blood was draining from them. Here I was an athletic sophmore in high school that played football, ran track, lifted weights, and was built like a brick wall but it looked like an animal had been slaughtered in the back of my boxer shorts. I always changed my clothes last in the locker room and was constantly trying to hide my condition from my mother. I knew something was wrong but I was scared to death to find out what was wrong. Eventually I could no longer hide it from my mother and she immediately took me to an Urgent Care. When I bent over and the doctor’s took a look their response made my heart jump through my chest. They started to panic and immediately rushed me over to a general surgeon. This doctor essentially had no clue what was going on but felt that since the “lacerations” were draining, everything would be okay. I went back to see this general surgeon and my conditions hadn’t improved so he sent me to a gastrointestinal specialist. At this point I went through the appropriate testing and at the age of 16 was diagnosed with Chron’s Disease. I learned that the “lacerations” that were giving me all of this drama were called fistula and were common in Chron’s patients. I was given flagyl, a steroid, and ordered to take a multivitamin and omega 3 supplements. My Chron’s eventually went into remission and everything was perfect once again.
Whats crazy about this is that between the ages of 18 and 27 I didn’t give a damn about health. I smoked cigarettes and weed, drank large amounts of liquor, had a horrible diet, and didn’t take care of myself at all. The crazy thing is that with all of the foolishness that I was doing I had zero issues with my Chron’s. I literally forgot that I had the freaking thing and could care less about further researching it.
Eventually I grew up and made my health a priority and dumped a lot of bad habits. I put down the alcohol and weed for some weights and a protein shake. I quit eating fried foods, dramatically increased my water intake, and started counting my calories. Everything was going well and I was losing weight and gaining lean muscle. A couple of years into this lifestyle change I would have random Chron’s issues. Usually it was an occasional stomach ache but the fistula didn’t return so the occasional aches and pains were okay.
All of a sudden BAM, damn fistula popped up from out of nowhere. By this time it was even more painful and bloody than when I was in high school. It hurt too bad to sit straight down and I would have to basically sit on my left hip. The left side of my lower extremeties would go numb from sitting so awkwardly. It was difficult to stand up for long periods of time because there was constant pain everywhere that a fistula was located. I was popping ibuprofen like gum and I learned that was a huge mistake. My days of wearing light colored pants were over because the drainage was so horribly significant. It’s a horrible feeling to stand up mortified because you can feel the drainage and you’re hoping that it’s not a show for the world to see. On the outside I was a model of great health. 6’2, 198 lbs of lean muscle and low body fat but I was a mess on the inside. Nobody could have imagined what I was going through because there were no outwardly signs that I was sick. That’s the world of autoimmune disease looking totally spectacular on the outside, but being a wreck on the inside. I’ve seen people on documentaries explain that physicians have told them that their ailments were all in their head. After realizing that this flare up would not go away and being tired of suffering, I decided to make an appointment with the GI.
My next post will focus on my experience with the GI and how much modern medicine has failed us. But I am interested to know if anyone else out there has had to deal with fistulas and how did they heal for you? Did you take the surgery route and if you did, how did it benefit you long term? Has anyone been able to treat there fistula with herbs and naturopathic remedies? Until the next post, GO GREEN!