Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Story Begins...(Part II)

     After being diagnosed with Crohn's, I immediately began being sick all the time. The initial symptoms were chronic diarrhea (going to the bathroom between 10-20 times a day), severe abdominal pain and vomiting, but later progressed to include mouth ulcers, blurred and double vision, joint pain/swelling, hair loss, brittle nails, among others. I was prescribed Sulfasalazine in the beginning and also had to take Prednisone steroids to try to reduce the inflammation in my gut. I've also previously taken Asacol (24 pills a day), 6-MP, Entocort, Remicade, and Humira. I have even tried holistic approaches, AMP Molecure, and diet modifications including gluten and candida free foods. Some of these didn't work too well, some worked for a short while, but the Prednisone usually worked well to control my symptoms. The flip side is: Prednisone made me moody, ravenously hungry all the time, made my face moon shaped and puffy and made me hopelessly depressed. Right now, today as you read this post, I deal with the fact that the many years of Prednisone usage has worn away some of the cartilage in my knees. It hurts to kneel or bend at the knees for any prolonged period of time, but the way I see it is this: I’m alive and I thank God.
     Every year from 1999 to about 2005, I would spend at least 4-5 weeks a year in the hospital with Crohn’s flare ups. They would send me home on steroids, but as soon as I would start to taper off, I would begin having symptoms again. However, I did have short periods of remission in this time frame. In fact, the disease became less severe every time I went to the Caribbean on vacation. My mother and I went to St Thomas in the Virgin Islands in 2003. My sister Rochelle and I visited Jamaica (Montego Bay) in 2004. Both times, I left Philadelphia sick and after a week of sun-bathing and dipping in the ocean, I came back home well for weeks. There must be something to that clean blue/green water and unpolluted air! So if after reading this, these words prick your heart and you are led to send me away again; to that I’ll say, Bring It!! :)
     In 2005, I experienced a 1 year period of remission from all symptoms. This was after two ministers at my church, Temple of Refuge Evangelistic Church (where my mother is the founder and pastor) prayed for me. This was no ordinary prayer. They really prayed from the depths of their hearts and I prayed too. It was at this time that I also began to really believe in my healing. Not just saying the words that had become routine to repeat, but actually believing.

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