This is one of the top 5 questions I am asked over and over again. It is also one of the top three search terms that show up for this blog. If you demand it, I guess I can take a shot at supplying you with an answer. However, these answers are based upon my experiences with Crohn’s disease. I discovered long ago that all cases of Crohn’s are not the same by a long shot. So, with that nestled in your mind… here goes.
Different characteristics fuse together to form the totality of any chronic illness; Crohn’s Disease is no exception. It’s a lot to handle because the effects are all daisy-chained together. Meaning that various effects of a disease join together forming a continuous chain of cause and effect.
This is my daisy-chain:
CROHN’S=Physical Affect=Mental Affect=Stress Affect=Relationships Affect
<> How does it physically feel to have Crohn’s Disease?
For me, ‘flares’, as they are called in the medical field, can start out feeling similar to an exceedingly bad case of menstrual cramps with abdomen pain and back pain. However, they can quickly get out of control and make you feel as if you are giving birth to a 2 ton elephant. Additionally, nausea, horrendous fatigue, rashes and an intermittent low grade fever, which, for me, would only appear outside of a flare and never during a flare. My symptoms always appeared within a few hours of eating. Before my diagnosis and subsequent bowel resection, as my Crohn’s disease worsened, the symptoms worsened until they became so unbearable I sought medical attention.
What a lot of people do not seem to absorb is Crohn’s Disease is a Progressive Disease. Once you have it- you have it for life. Crohn’s can go into remission- that is where I am in this moment. But, eventually it will come back. You never know when or where it will strike next. Crohn’s can present from your throat to your anus and anywhere in-between within the digestive tract. In my case, the small intestine was heavily involved. The Crohn’s was dreadfully close to my colon- I know that chances are it may hit my colon next time. But, I don’t fear it. It may never happen. I liken my familiarity with Crohn’s to that of a mother; her first child and she fears over every issue! By the time her second child arrives, she has the experience under her belt to not sweat the small things and to not worry about that which has not yet happened.
<> My Symptom Summery
- Skin Tags
- Mild to severe fatigue
- Intolerance to all solid foods
- Lower to mid-line back pain
- Moderate to severe diarrhea
- Intermittent low grade fevers
- Severe weight loss and the inability to eat; tolerating only liquids
- Cramping to severe pain in the abdomen- above and/or below the navel
- Intermittent and/or sustained rashes that itch, welt and may form clusters
- Upset stomach to moderate nausea to significant nausea leading to vomiting
- Small white spots or red mole-like bumps on the arms, legs, face or skin in general
Other popular questions I will address in upcoming posts:
How does Crohn’s Disease affect your relationships?
What do you do during a flare up?
What is it like recovering from small bowel resection?
Does remission from Crohn’s Disease mean you are symptom free?
Reminder: This web site does not give medical advice. All content is based upon personal experiences and links to news reports. If you feel you may have any health condition, I urge you to seek immediate medical attention. Please use this site responsibly.