DAY 29/160

Dear Baby Milline,

 

Today I visit my gastroenterologist for a Remicade appointment.  What’s Remicade you may ask? Well about 11 years ago I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease an inflammatory bowel disease characterized by inflammation of the digestive tract. I had never heard of Crohn’s before that year, but I need to inform you of some things.

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About 20% of people with Crohn’s disease have a blood relative who has inflammatory bowel disease. Which unfortunate for you would be 3 blood relatives Baby Milline, not only does your father have Crohn’s disease but also your two uncles both name John. Not I don’t know if this may increase your chances of also having Crohn’s, hopefully they have a cure by then, but it will be something that is on my mind at all times. Can it be prevented you may be wondering? Well one thing for certain with your three blood relatives with IBD, at one point in time we all ate things that probably irritated our digestive system, and chances are at times we still do. Crazy to think that we still eat items we know may cause a flare, but when you realize how many Doctor’s suggest you stay away from eating can get really boring.

Back to Remicade, though your uncles both name John have had more hospital visits and flares than I, Doctors have told me I have the most advanced case of Crohn’s since I had several abscess pockets to form in my body. The body is an amazing machine as anything foreign within the body, it attempts its best to fight it off. In the case of my first flare my body trapped what was basically a leak from my small intestine in my lower left abdominal cavity as well as right rear near my kidney. Because there was a foreign fluid in my body it created this hard shell around it basically to trap it in one place. Fortunately I made it to the doctor in enough time, because had that abscess exploded this foreign fluid was then free to go anyplace it wanted in my body possibly causing organs to shut down.  These are all the things the doctor told me, when all I thought I had was a pocket of gas that wouldn’t go anyplace. So because of these abscess pockets I had, doctors put me on what they considered the strongest medicine for treating the disease Remicade. At about $1000.00 a valve and 6 valves each time I visit, let’s just say I’m thankful for health insurance. Your father receives an infusion of Remicade every 8 weeks, and have been on that schedule for the past 11 years.

Crohn’s is a lot like Cancer in that there is a lot of research being done on the disease but there is no cure. However, unlike Cancer it is not quite as popular nor receives a lot of publicity unless you know of someone directly with Crohn’s.  Will there ever be a cure? I sure hope so, but I’ve yet to hear of any major break-through as I’ve recently heard of some new ways to treat and possibly cure Cancer. Some say if you change your diet to a strictly plant base diet it can prevent any future flares. Remember how I told you eating Doctor’s recommendations is boring, well here is one thing for certain. Typically Doctor’s tell Crohn’s patients to stay away from leafy greens as the roughage from those leafy greens irritate the walls of the intestines.  So if you ever see your father, or two uncles both name John, shying away from certain vegetables it’s not purely because we don’t like them. It varies for all of us though, what we can and cannot have. Sodas don’t bother me much, but your two uncles shy away from them. Milk is almost a no go for all of us, though Almond Milk seems to be okay. Meat apparently does not bother any of us, but a combination of meat and something else can. Your father and one uncle both love beer, but beer is something else we are told to shy away from. And finally your dad loves coffee, may even be a coffee addict, but also told to shy away from coffee as the acidity of coffee effects the digestive system.

At the end of the day Baby Milline, we all have to be cautious and this is just a heads up to you that not all diseases can be seen just by looking at someone. A perfectly healthy looking being on the outside could have a lot of complications going on within.  Chances are you’ll probably never experience any of this, but if you ever hear of your father, and two uncles both name John, having new treatments or doctors visit just know it may be related to Crohn’s disease. 

I hope this doesn’t frighten you any, but I don’t want you to be in the dark either…

Love,

Your Father

Ronald Milline