Adam was 18 years old when he received the diagnosis of Crohn’s. He remembers the very day—December 23, 2004. Today, Adam is 30 and counting, free of Crohn’s now for over 8 years (and counting). This is his story:
Prior to his diagnosis, Adam had been ill, off and on, for approximately 10 months—with the occasional bloody stool and adnominal cramping that came and went. And to the doctor he came and went, multiple times. He saw several different physicians, until one came to the realization “we better get to the bottom of things.” Of course, getting to the bottom of things meant a colonoscopy. Suspicions gave way to evidence; the diagnosis of Crohn’s was now an easy one to make.
With faithful use of prednisone and Asacol (and whatever), Adam soon returned to “normal.” Prednisone was tapered off, Asacol use continued, his health steadily improved . . . until it didn’t. Later in the year, 2005, Adam had a major flare up that landed him in the hospital. His Crohn’s had become complicated by abscess formation. But thanks to the miracle of modern medicine, Adam gradually improved—so much so that his health was stable enough to follow through on his plan to study abroad. He left for Mexico in August, 2005, at the age of 19.
Mexico is the land of abdominal cramping, and sure enough, while in Mexico, Adam’s symptoms again came and went. Overall, during his four month stay in Mexico, he described his health as “rocky.” Even though he faithfully continued his Asacol, Adam experienced two major “flares,” one of which landed him in the hospital. Yes, it was a struggle, and thanks to a much-awaited visit from Mom, and the supply of Asacol she brought, Adam was still able to complete his study abroad.
After returning from Mexico, Adam’s health generally stabilized. A year and a half after returning home, and a few flares later, he graduated from college with a degree in Business and a minor in Spanish. At this point in time, Adam was 21 years old. He was feeling pretty good about life and his health, and faithfully continued to take Asacol to control his symptoms . . . until six months after graduation.
In December, 2007, three years following his initial diagnosis, Adam found himself becoming rapidly ill over a period of two days. On the evening of day two, he lost consciousness. His mom rushed him to the hospital. He was admitted and appropriately treated.
Three days later, after multiple I.V.’s to correct his dehydration, along with aggressive steroid therapy to control his GI inflammation, Adam was once again on his feet. Feeling much better, he was well enough to be discharged from the hospital. But when he left, he left a changed man—determined to fight his disease in a different way.
While in the hospital, it donned on Adam that the conventional route was not healing him, it was only buying time until the next time. Somewhere along the line, either during or shortly after his hospitalization, Adam realized that help may have been within his reach for that past three years. He remembered that soon after he received his Crohn’s diagnosis, his aunt (certain to be his favorite aunt) had given him a book. It was The Maker’s Diet, by Jordan Rubin (we’ll meet him later). He decided it was time to read the book and began reading. The Maker’s Diet made sense to him, so a decision was made. He was going to put it to the test. Within a matter of weeks after starting the diet, he felt great, so much so that he began weaning himself off of Pentasa—a new medication given to him upon his recent discharge from the hospital. For Adam, “feeling great” became a way of life. His symptoms of Crohn’s have never returned. He credits it primarily to The Maker’s Diet. In addition to his diet makeover, Adam took dietary supplements and followed a healthy, physically active lifestyle.
During my interview with Adam, I learned several things that are clearly relevant to the story. I learned that Adam first started having GI symptoms at about age twelve, but nothing was persistent enough or severe enough to warrant medical attention—“they sorta just came and went.” This was probably the beginnings of what would develop into full-blown Crohn’s. I also learned that, at the time of diagnosis, he only weighed 108 pounds. For someone who was five foot ten, he was sooooo underweight. But after his Crohn’s was diagnosed and treatment began, Adam gained 25 pounds within a period of six months. During my interview with Adam I learned one more thing worth sharing: The Makers Diet was, in his own words, “difficult to follow,” and he ate a lot of chicken (that was two things). But he persevered. And the rest is history.
Adam is so proud of his accomplishment; so glad to be Crohn’s free. Today, Adam eats what he wants, but generally practices a “natural diet.”
Adam Dunlap tells his story on his website www.adamdunlap.com. Click on the image below and you can listen to Adam tell the story of Adam.
If you would like your story told in a forthcoming book entitled Crohn’s Disease Has Met its Match: Stories of Remission in the Battle against Crohn’s, contact the author at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Excerpt from More to Consider in the Battle Against Crohn’s
Copyright © 2016 Eugene L. Heyden, RN
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