This is a sponsored post, however, it is my own account of living with a chronic illness. Thanks to my sponsor Martin Stallone for sponsoring this post.
For those of you that don’t know, I struggle every day with a chronic illness that changes my life on a day by day basis. Back when I was 23 (10 years ago) I started having some symptoms that were bothersome, but I was able to get through the day with a straight face. I was struggling every day with bouts of unexplainable nause, stomach cramping, joint pain, nausea, fatigue, and loss of appetite. It wasn’t long before my symptoms became so severe that I took a trip to my primary care doctor to get to the root of the problem. First visit we did some basic blood work. Second visit we did some blood work that was a little more in depth than before. Third visit my doctor prescribed stool sample cultures (yuk!). After all of the tests my doctor ran, everything came back showing as normal. According to my primary care doctor, there were no issues that she could explain and gave me a general diagnosis of IBS. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a diagnosis that’s given when the doctor just can’t find the root of the problem, but acknowledges there is indeed a problem. I refused to settle with the general diagnosis I was given. I knew that my symptoms were much worse that what my doctor was understanding them to be, so I set out on a mission to see an internal medicine specialist.
Why did I want to seek out an internal specialist? Well, internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum. I knew if there was going to be anyone that could help me, it was going to be an internal medicine specialist. It took a little while to get a referral approved, but once it went through, the specialist wasted no time getting to the root cause of the issue. After just a couple of visits, I indeed did have a concrete diagnosis, something more than a general diagnosis of IBS. The verdict was in, and I was officially diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.
What is Crohn’s Disease? Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease characterized by inflammation of the digestive, or gastrointestinal tract. In fact, Crohn’s can affect any part of the GI tract, from the mouth to the rear end, but it is more commonly found at the end of the small intestine where it joins the beginning of the large intestine (or colon). It can also affect eyes, skin, and joints as well. I can tell you firsthand, living with Crohn’s disease every day can be a living hell, literally. My symptoms were always flaring at random and often inconvenient times, I was constantly laying curled up in a ball just praying for some sort of relief from the pain. My typically happy and outgoing demeanor turned me into a homebody. My anxiety would go through the roof whenever I had to go somewhere, wondering if my symptoms were going to flare, was I going to get home before it got to it’s worst? The anxiety just only made things worse and it was a snowball effect making everything just so, so much worse.
Thanks to the help of my internal medicine specialist, I have been able to regain a quality of life I had not had in a long time. Learning what to avoid eating or drinking combined with some carefully prescribed medications and other treatment options, I have gotten back to living a happy, full life, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the expertise of these miracle workers. If you’re finding yourself relating to my story, and you’ve also gotten a general diagnosis with no help, I really urge you to seek out your local internal medicine specialist and see how much better your quality of life can become!