Saturday, December 3, 2016

Dear NFL Don't Suspend Seantrel Henderson for 10 Games for Crohn's Disease



As someone who actually suffers from Crohn's disease I felt it was important to discuss the recent suspension of NFL player Seantrel Henderson (who suffers from Crohn's disease) for using marijuana. Henderson who has been playing in the NFL for 3 years has been battling Crohn's disease since 2015. Seantrel was 6'7 and 330 pounds and then lost 50 pounds and then during the 2015 season he lost 50 pounds and surgeons had to remove 2.6 feet from his small and large intestine and he had to wear an ileostomy bag (he ended up having to have two surgeries to reconnect his intestines). For a period of three months he had to eat food through a tube (have NFL committee members ever had to deal with something like this?)

Now I have previously written a post here about the use of marijuana on Crohn's here. What I explained in that post was this study showing 90% of patients who used marijuana saw a clinical response and 45% of patients were in remission (which is on par with Humira and other biologics). Another study found that 70% of patients that used marijuana had a positive effect and may have reduced the need for surgery. Also it is worth pointing out that 48% of Crohn's patients have used marijuana in their lifetime (which is only slightly higher than the 42% of Americans that have admitted to using it during their lifetime. What is even more interesting is that people complain about the side effects of marijuana when nearly every drug has some type of side effect.  I would be interested to see what 10 years of taking marijuana would do to a body vs. 10 years of prednisone. 

What is quite interesting is that many NFL players (historical suspensions can be found here) only get suspended one game for domestic violence-which by the way in the outside world can have a punishment of up to 1 year in prison. Jared Allen in 2007 was suspended for 2 games after he received 2 DUI arrests (you know the driving that can actually harm incident bystanders). What is even worse is the players of the New Orleans Saints were suspended less time for organizing a bounty program to injure players from other teams. Even when you look at players who have violated the substance abuse policies that have been put into place players typically only get suspended 4 games. 

When a player in the NFL gets suspended they are not paid either which could lead to some major cash flow problems. Henderson signed a 4 year contract for $2.2 million. For 2016 Henderson is suppose to earn about $292,000. Each NFL teams plays 16 games per year. By not being able to play for 10 games Henderson would only make $110,000 (losing $182,000!). 

The NFL should not suspend Seantrel Henderson for 10 games for using marijuana for Crohn's disease. Why would you suspend a player for 1) using a substance that has been shown in peer reviewed journals to benefit in Crohn's disease 2) using a substance that is currently legalized in 26 states 3) who is trying to control a chronic illness  when other NFL players do far worse things (receive DUIs, assault girlfriends, and organize bounty rings and end up getting suspended fewer games. Not only is Seantrel not able to play the game he loves but he is not able to earn a living as well. The NFL should consider allowing players to use certain substances but only if they truly have a medical issue. Crohn's is a chronic and painful illness that no one should have to live with. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

5 Year Crohn's Anniversary, Thanksgiving, Cramping, Feeling A Little Tired



So this past week I was on vacation from work and really enjoyed a break for once (I rarely take vacation-even when I do I only take a day or so which seems enough for me). In December I am due for another week vacation break however I have to prepare for a board exam in March 2017.  At any rate I was feeling pretty good and I had a review of my annual physical on Wednesday with my doctor and we were discussing how incredible it was that in that same week back in 2011 I was in terrible condition losing weight and very dehydrated. It was nice to look back and see how much progress I had made. Perhaps I spoke too soon...

When I woke up Thanksgiving morning around 7 a.m. I felt very tired and my whole stomach felt like it had a block of cement in it with some blunt pain. Now my bowel movements were perfectly normal however I just felt this major cramping and pain. I have my doctor's cell phone just in case and I felt that this pain warranted a call. I called him and he picked up immediately and asked me for my symptoms I told him I had some serious pain in my stomach, felt nauseated, and could barely move. He told me to see how things progress but call him back if I did vomit. I then returned to bed and slept a few more hours (I have mentioned in previous posts how I believe sleep can do wonders if you have Crohn's). Also he told me not to eat anything heavy like gravy and honestly I wasn't in the mood even to eat (more on eating later). After I got an extra few hours I felt much better (still some minor pain but a world of difference). Throughout Thanksgiving dinner I felt pretty good just tired but was able to eat everything that I wanted.

For the past couple of days I have been eating a bunch and got my appetite back. I have gained a few pounds but feel I can now shed some off (my weight is about 173 pounds-without clothes on). I  have been working out too which for some odd reason improves how my stomach feels.

Honestly, looking back I can't believe it has been 5 years since I was in the hospital. Sometimes I wonder what has changed if I were hospitalized today. My doctor told me when I saw him that sometimes Crohn's patients do exhibit joint pain when they have flares. Also he mentioned that usually you won' have an immediate flare with Crohn's (typically it takes a while for flare symptoms to come into affect. All I can say is that I am grateful everyday I am in great health. If someone 5 years ago told me I would not have any symptoms after being diagnosed I would have told them they were out of their mind.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

More Weight Loss Continues/Mild Cramping

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In my last blog post I had discussed how I was continuing to lose weight (by working out). The highest my weight got to be was 180 pounds and I have slowly been inching that down. As of this morning I was down to 170 pounds (without clothes on) which felt nice. These days I feel pretty good and have still been eating better too. My ideal weight would be about 165 pounds. Honestly, I would like to weight a little less for two reasons 1) to fit better into my pants and 2) to be able to eat an occasional dessert. Actually, I have been very good about not eating any sugar for the past month which I think has improved my sleep and my mood. I still am downing grapes like crazy (which are pretty good and decently healthy for you). Sometimes my weight comes down and then spikes up a half of pound or so. The general direction of my weight has been down which I am happy about.

Last night I went to the movies and had some serious cramping. I went to the bathroom to relieve myself and felt so much better after having a bowel movement. I felt somewhat warm during the movie and bought some bottled water (a small bottled water was $4!). During the movie I actually put it over my stomach which felt nice. When I came home I took a hot bath and put a ice wrap over my stomach which improved things. I will try to sleep well tonight so I can get oxygen to my stomach. Sleep to me seems to have a major impact on Crohn's and general health.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Weight Loss Continues

So in my last post I wrote how I was 180 pounds and had declined to 176 pounds. Well as I went I the scale tonight I was pushing only 173 pounds roughly which feels quite nice. As I mentioned in the previous post the weight gain came around my birthday-lots of desserts, cakes, and dinners plus work was pretty stressful and busy which leads to eating all types of things.

I honestly feel really good in many aspects. My diet has changed a little bit too. Before I wasn't very mindful of what I ate and basically said "whatever". These days I look at whatever I am about to eat and think "is it worth it". At night after my work out I may have a light dinner, along with some grapes, and my dessert is some cottage cheese and crackers (honestly it is pretty good!). When I home I munch on grapes to distract my stomach from getting something too rich. A big change I have made too is working out nearly every day. I honestly haven't done this since I was in graduate school. I honestly miss feeling that burn in my muscles the day after and pushing myself to be better.

The other thing I noticed is that I seem to have more energy. I honestly have really cut back on sugar so this may be a reason why. I feel as if I get more sleep even though I go to bed the same time as I did before too. This is of course another added benefit.

So I hope to continue my path down shedding weight. My ideal weight would probably be roughly 160-165 pounds which is odd because when I was there before I felt bloated. However, since I have been working out I feel in better shape then before and really am more defined.



Sunday, August 28, 2016

Recent Weight Gain/Loss



I apologize for not writing in quite some type. Work has been very busy and I have also been studying for a board exam as well. Also I have felt remission free as well so nothing really to blog about. One thing that has changed recently is my weight. No I haven't been losing weight but gaining weight. Most of my life I was always on the lean side maybe 150-165 pounds mostly and I am 5'11. When I was maybe in middle school I was heavier but then when I was about 16 I started working out. I really do love to work out. After working out I always like feeling that burn either from going on the elliptical or using weights. Unfortunately I have been so busy that I barely had time to work out. Also add in the fact that a couple of weeks ago it was my birthday which made it dessert galore (which I almost can never pass up). 

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My weight peaked out at 180 pounds which actually puts me in the near overweight category from a BMI metric. I honestly hadn't been paying attention to my weight. The only thing I noticed was it was harder to fit into my pants. I can't believe when I was in the hospital I weighed 125 pounds. When I last blogged about my weight gain was back in 2012 when I was only pushing 162 pounds (even my father made a comment about my weight gain). Something is different about then and now. When I look at myself in the mirror these days I actually look in good shape since I have been working out. Also over time I have spend more time toning my muscles which gives me a more defined physique making me looked more filled out compared to thin frame. 

I have been working out recently to bring down my weight from the 180 pounds to roughly now 176 pounds which isn't a lot but I want to still continue down the path of good health. Also I have been practicing eating healthier and have been buying grapes as a snack food to eat instead of my usual chips and cookies. I think in the long run paying attention to my health will make life easier down the road. Hopefully these small steps now will pay off in the long run. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Foltx (Vitamin B) Causing Nausea for Crohn's?


Well I haven't blogged in a while (primarily since  I have been feeling good). My Fourth of July weekend went fairly well (I ate well too with a burger and some tasty Fourth of July cookies). This morning when I woke up I was fine. However, the rest of the day seemed to be a pain. Let me go back to last night when I was in bed and really didn't sleep well. I had to do something for a client this morning and kept waking up every 3 hours thinking I forgot to do something (even though the task I had to do was fairly simple). Sleep and Crohn's never mix. I honestly believe that high quality sleep causes less stomach pain/fatigue/symptoms. When I woke up though I really didn't have any pain. Around 10 A.M. I went to the dentist for a usual cleaning and that was fine. I was still doing okay. Maybe around lunch time is when I really noticed it and started holding my hand over my stomach massaging it. 

By the time I left work I felt so exhausted (my bowel movements all say were normal-however they were green which I have seen before). I was thinking to what in my life changed and I realized that I had taken Foltx the night before. One of the side effects of Foltx is nausea which is pretty much what I felt towards the late afternoon. I got off work and ordered some chicken noodle soup and a grilled chicken sandwich. After dinner I sat in a hot bath for a while and that seems to help. In a little bit I might go to CVS for a cooling pad for my stomach. Just before I put some ice on my stomach and it felt pretty good. I think this should be a temporary issue since I don't have any loose bowel movements or anything else going on.

My life recently has been stressful due the company I work for making a transition which is a promotion for me but make me much more involved. Also I am studying for a board exam toward year end as well which gives me very little downtime/social time/resting which can be a tad depressing. I know over time this will go away after I pass the exam and once I get use to my usual work duties. 

Tonight I plan to go to bed early and relax. I actually won't study for once which is nice. Stress has seemed to be in my life lately and I am trying to reduce it. Although even though I have this minor pain I am still glad I am still in remission and always am thankful for each wonderful day I am given. 


Friday, May 20, 2016

Minor Pains This Week and A Little Blood Too


I actually haven't blogged in a while (because I have been feeling relatively well-which is always a good thing). Yesterday, when I woke up and went to the bathroom before work I noticed some blood (and had an o'crap moment-no pun intended!). This past week I have felt a little worn down and tired. Also I noticed I made a few mistakes at work that I don't usually make (I guess from being tired/some blood in my bowels). Last night I got a decent amount of sleep but still not bad to normal. Not only have I been working a lot but I have also been studying for a board exam later in the year (so lots of stress). This past week I also drank a little bit (some wine) which can lead to flare ups as well. To help the situation I have been doing my hot baths which do add some benefit (I still remember when I had many bowel movement in one day and sat in a hot bath I felt as if I was cured-for the day of course).

I take my Humira shot tomorrow night. I can't believe June 6, 2016 will mark 4 years I have been on it! I am really surprised and lucky for how great the drug has worked. Recently I heard a GI say that the longest he has seen a patient last on Humira is about 12 years. This would mean I could have another possible 8 years. These days there are more options for treating Crohn's which is always a good thing. Hopefully the FDA will continue to approve drugs to treat Crohn's which will help so many people who are struggling often times in silence.