I haven't posted a lot here about my twelve year old, and everything she has been going through with Crohn's Disease, but I thought I would put in a link to an update I posted to my blog this morning. Â I have always heard of Crohn's Disease, but never knew anyone who had it until she was diagnosed three years ago. Â Since then, I've talked personally with three different mothers who are going through it with their children. Â One just got a diagnosis for her ten year old son, and she is terrified.
Research says that the numbers are increasing, and it makes me wonder what is changing that is causing so many people to get hit with this disease. Â Our diet can cause the symptoms to improve or increase, but changing our diet can't cause it to go away. Â It isn't like irritable bowel syndrome which causes pain, but no damage. Â It can cause massive damage to the gastrointestinal system.
The doctor explained it to me when Kaleigh had her first flare. Â He said her colon was like a house fire, where only the outer walls remained. Â Steroids and antibiotics can be used to gain remission, and the inner walls can be rebuilt, but there is still damage (scarring). Â Over time, with more flares, those scars increase and will create blockages which require surgery. Â If the flare isn't stopped, and the outer walls are damaged, surgery will be required to remove the damaged organ, which, in Crohn's, can be any part of the gastrointestinal system. Â If the outer walls are damaged, and the symptoms aren't recognized, waste can leak into other organs, set up infection, and cause death.
It is an auto immune disease, like lupus, that causes the body to attack and destroy itself. Treatment consists of medications that suppress the immune system, which goes against everything we have ever been taught about treating illness. Â Because the patient's immune system is suppressed, they are susceptible to infection and many types of cancer.
If you have read all of this, thank you. Â If you meet someone with Crohn's or Ulcerative Colitis, understand that, while they may appear to be healthy, they are anything but healthy. Â And if you have an opportunity to help out with a Crohn's/Ulcerative Colitis fundraising event, jump in and do what you can. Â Research is being done for a cure, and doctors believe they are close to either a cure, or treatment that will greatly improve the quality of life for patients battling these diseases.