Attack of the Crohn’s

Sorry I’ve been incommunicado for the last few days. I suffer from episodic Crohn’s disease, having been diagnosed at age 21 in 1998. Before then, it was chalked up to “Josh has a bad stomach” and I learned to just live with it.

Since my diagnosis, I’ve been managing the disease mainly with diet and have managed to keep the attacks down to once a year. When I’m going through an attack, I use a steroid to fight through it and occasionally a painkiller. Sometimes the pain is too much and the blockage in my intestines simply will not go away on its own. In those cases, I’ve been hospitalized for a week at a time. You might think you’re tough, but when your body is attacking itself and your system goes into shutdown, the true tough guy knows when it’s time to ask for help.

This time, I was determined to fight through it and stay out of the hospital. I hadn’t eaten much in the prior day, so I felt that I could handle this attack on my own.

Somehow I got through a day of work in NYC on Friday, but I can’t work on muscle relaxers or painkillers. The suffering was ridiculous. One of the hardest things about these attacks is that you cannot eat or drink anything – even water – because there’s nowhere for the liquid to go. You just end up spitting it back up. The dehydration that results is dangerous, which is why the hospital needs to feed you fluids through IV while they pump your stomach.

Fortunately, I’ve never gotten to the point where having surgery was necessary. The surgeon and my gastroenterologist have always said that, one day, I will need to have surgery, but it’s best to hold off as long as possible.

I was able to knock myself out Friday night and sleep for almost 30 straight hours. I’m sitting up now and I’ve gotten off all the drugs except for my steroid, Budesonide. Budesonide – better known as Entocort in pill form – is a “glucocorticoid steroid” and it has a lot less side effects versus the more commonly prescribed steroid, Prednisone (more on that here).

I’m able to drink water and Gatorade today, for the first time in a few days, so I think I’m recovering. I’ll try to go for a walk later this afternoon, in preparation to be back at work Monday. Hopefully the blog will be back in full effect by then too.

Thanks to everyone who’s emailed or called to see how I’m doing. Really means a lot to me to be missed.

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