Over the last 17 years, I’ve been dealing with an issue many people would only imagine going through. All the doctors’ visits, countless medications and outlying stresses, wouldn’t be anything I’d wish on my worst enemies. The level of pain associated with it and multiple problems that stem from a compromised immune system plague my everyday life. So, with that said, I’m going to take this time to inform many on the affects and what worked for me dealing with Crohn’s Disease.
Irritable Bowel Disease or in short, “IBD”, is the constant inflammation of the digestive tract. It can affect partial or full areas of the tract depending on the severity of the disease and what type. It’s said that 1.6 million people in the U.S. alone suffers from IBD. With some 900,000 people dealing with Ulcerative Colitis and another 800,000 suffering from Crohn’s Disease.
Crohn’s Disease was discovered in 1932 by Dr. Burrill Bernard Crohn, a gastroenterologist at Mount Sinai Hospital (New York). Dr. Crohn had been receiving many patients all complaining of abdominal complications. He soon noticed that patients initial pain areas were in the same regions, near the terminal ileum of the small intestines. He then realized that it affects the lining of the tract, from mouth to anus.
Crohn’s complications include anemia, skin rashes, sudden mood changes, fevers and diarrhea to name a few. As of right now, there isn’t a clear cause for Crohn’s Disease. Some doctors believe things such as genetics, environmental factors (i.e. smoking, diet or stress), or rebel bacteria turning on the immune system are such contributors. There has been no discovery of a cure for Crohn’s Disease…yet.
For many sufferers dealing with IBD, they each understand the hardships that come from chronic illnesses. I’ve seen the effects on others who all have dealt with Crohn’s. I currently have relatives who have been affected by Crohn’s and it tends to generationally skip between members of my family.
It was believed the earliest known person who may have contracted Crohn’s was my grandfather, John C. Humphries. But due to it not being a widely known issue, there were no known diagnoses to date.
In 1983, my aunt, Betty Jo Gray, after months of excruciating abdominal pain and rapid loss of weight, was first diagnosed with phenylketonuria or PKU syndrome. PKU syndrome is where the body has increased phenylalanine in the blood and the body can’t process the protein. But two surgeries later, one when the diagnoses were first given and the second when the first surgery caused a bowel obstruction, the PKU was eventually discovered to be Crohn’s Disease. Being prescribed prednisone and multiple medications over the years that hadn’t done the trick, she found one that worked, Remicade. Now the disease has found itself in remission with a few minor aches here and there. She eats whatever she wants, still being mindful to certain food triggers and lives a normal life. She feels that early on, just like anyone else first diagnosed, it doesn’t seem all that serious until you realize this “stomach ache” won’t be going anywhere. Mrs. Gray understands that exercise and maintaining a healthier lifestyle are keys to keeping yourself healthy and flare up free.
July 2001. A 9-year-old boy is hospitalized with what seems to be abdominal pain and a weight drop of 46 lbs. in the course of a few months. Everything eaten seemed to never stay down and his symptoms varied from seeing spots, physical weakness and bloody diarrhea became tell tale signs of what I would be speaking of today. I was diagnosed a few days before my birthday. A tragic thing for a kid to be going through instead of being excited to turn 10 or home playing with his brothers.
I spent the next 7 years, taking monthly trips to the doctor, consuming countless medications, which caused me to have a severe seizure early on. I was on things such as asacol, mercaptopurine and prednisone (off and on), not including a few others. I missed countless days of class dealing with pain from consistent flare ups. I was given the medicine Remicade, but the medicine didn’t have the effect on me that it did others, instead making me more ill.
I played football and ran track, which seemingly kept my mind occupied, but I always knew that there was a chance a random flare would rear itself soon. I struggled to gain weight from my 8th grade year through my first couple years of high school. The summer of my senior year I had gotten fed up with always having to be in and out of hospitals and missing games. So, me and a friend started working out before and during track practice everyday until we graduated. That transition not only helped me physically but mentally. I was making gains that I never thought I would make, finding what worked for me and not letting it hinder me any longer.
Fast forward years later and I’ve done better, even after a serious bowel obstruction between November 2013 and January 2014 which hospitalized me multiple times. I was going through rough waters thinking things were taking a downward spiral until becoming a personal trainer. What disciplined me about getting into the health and fitness industry was what I needed to change pertaining to my diet and what stressors affected my life. I realized that if I kept going through debilitating times and never making a change with what I was doing, I would stay sick, down and out.
I started incorporating more vegetables and fruit into my diet and was always in the gym. I had a goal that every time I walked through the threshold of the gym, that I would out do myself every day. I started going to professional football tryouts and doing sports such as MMA just to challenge myself and prove I’m just as able as anyone else. My mindset became “whatever you can do, I can do too” and sometimes even better.
My hopes with training clients, let it be online or in person, is that when you’re pushed beyond your limits or dealing with pressing issues in life, to NEVER falter. I’ve been doubted a lot in my life, even to the point that everyday people can’t believe I’m really that sick and do the “superhero” things that I do. Sometimes I even believed it too, but still I press on. Things will get hard and out of our control more than we want, but having a killer desire, a grind to want to be better; clearing any doubts in our minds is what should drive us to reach anything we want.
This is Jordan Humphries, owner and trainer of Project FYT and I would like to say thank you for reading and your time.