Saturday, November 5, 2011

Music Therapy

I was thinking about ways that I've dealt with the pain and day to day inconveniences of this disease and it occurred to me that one of the constants in my life that has always helped has been my love of music.

I remember being 15 and coming home from school with horrible pain and cramping, and doing nothing but putting on an LP, turning off the lights, and drifting away. What I understand now is that I was practicing self-taught meditation through music, and that the relaxation brought relief from the pain and stress of the day.

The Beatles, Beach Boys, and a myriad of other artists of the time did as much for me as many of the meds that I was on, and if I could I'd thank them all for the joy and release that they gave me.

As I write this I have music playing, coffee in hand, and can feel the tunes taking me away all these years on. Never underestimate the healing power of music.

My Crohn's Experience: Introduction

My Crohn's experience started when I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease at the age of 15, during a time when very little was known about this debilitating illness, and drug treatment options were few. In this blog I would like to recount my nearly 40 years of experiences with this illness; the good, the bad, and the ugly, and discuss current medications available to treat Crohn's Disease, such as Humira, Remicade, 6-MP, Prednisone, and others.

Crohn's Disease is classified as an inflammatory illness which is caused by the body's immune system attacking healthy cells in the intestinal tract, which can lead to intestinal blockage, rupture, sepsis and death if left untreated.

I have had three intestinal resections due to Crohn's Disease and the last nearly cost me my life. I say this not to be dramatic, but to raise awareness that ignoring symptoms can lead to serious consequences. In 1999, I had what I knew was a serious flareup, but instead of checking into the hospital for treatment, I tried to ignore my symptoms. I ended up in the ER with a 105 degree fever, semi-conscious from septic shock, with a heartbeat in lethal arrhythmia and requiring CPR. My intestine had broken open and the septic shock had set in. I spent four days in the ICU after having major surgery to repair my intestine, followed by IV medicines to fight infection. The doctors did not expect me to survive the night, but somehow I did, and I share all of this in order to tell you that if you suspect something is wrong, and you have a high fever and severe abdominal pain, RUN, do not walk, to your local ER. Call 911 if necessary, but definitely do not take chances. Get to a hospital pronto!