Archive for the ‘C3Life Blog’ Category

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C3Life Blog: First year of PhD: Finished

May 8, 2012

My coursework is finished, and the grades for my classes are submitted: my first year of PhD school is over! While I would love to spend the next three months goofing off, as I did the summers of yesteryear, alas, the wheels of academia grind on. In two weeks I’ll start teaching classes and taking classes again.

This first year went really quick, and I learned very important lessons this year.

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Keep fighting,
~Dennis

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C3Life Blog: Understanding your treatment in light of today, not forever

April 25, 2012

When my doctor diagnosed me with autoimmune-associated pouchitis, a chronic condition that has not gone away, she prescribed me immunosuppressants. This wasn’t entirely surprising, as she had hinted before that this would be the likely treatment.

The question I had, and my family and friends had, was: how long would I have to remain on this medicine?

The answer: indefinitely. That’s the word my doctor used, and the more I’ve thought about it, the more I prefer that word. Indefinitely sounds less threatening than “forever,” which is usually the way we interpret our treatment plans in our heads. But the word choice is more than just semantic preference: indefinite is really the best word to describe treatment for IBD.

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Keep fighting,
~Dennis

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C3Life Blog: Would I consider ostomy surgery again?

April 19, 2012

This last month I’ve been talking about my recent diagnosis of autoimmune-associated pouchitis (see previous entries for more details). I know I’ve been talking about this a lot, but people have many questions and concerns about this.

One question I’ve been asked several times now is: would I consider ostomy surgery again instead of going back on medicine? I find this a fascinating question as usually surgery, especially ostomy surgery, is something people try everything to avoid.

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Keep fighting,
~Dennis

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C3Life Blog: Did my surgeon mislead me before my colectomy?

April 13, 2012

Since being diagnosed with autoimmune-associated pouchitis (see last two blog entries for more info), many people have been concerned, perhaps more concerned than I am. Some have asked me about the discrepancy between what I was told before surgery—that surgery would cure my ulcerative colitis and I no longer needed medicine—and what I am experiencing now—a return to IBD medicine.

Some have wondered, perhaps rightfully so, how I feel about this. Do I feel like my surgeon misled me? Do I feel betrayed? Am I angry that I was told one thing and now live another?

While I would rather not take medicine, truthfully I am not upset at all. Surgery always includes risks, and just because something didn’t work out the way we planned doesn’t mean it was a bad decision

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Keep fighting,
~Dennis

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C3Life Blog: Coping with the return to IBD medicine after surgery

April 10, 2012

Last week I wrote about my recent diagnosis of autoimmune-associated pouchitis. For those unfamiliar with this diagnosis, I suggest reading that blog first before this one. Basically, I’ve had chronic pouchitis (an infection of my J-pouch that causes symptoms similar to inflammatory bowel disease) for months, and am now treating it with IBD medicine.

People with Crohn’s disease often continue taking IBD meds after their colectomy: even if their disease was primarily in their colon, it can appear elsewhere in the digestive tract. IBD meds are necessary to keep the disease in remission.

However, people with ulcerative colitis often don’t need to take IBD meds after their colectomy. Ulcerative colitis only happens in the colon, and if the colon is removed, the disease is removed along with it. Thus, IBD meds are not necessary.

And yet, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis—not Crohn’s disease—and I am back on IBD meds, even though my colon is missing.

Several people have asked me how I feel about this. In this entry I hope to provide some perspective on coping with such an unexpected diagnosis.

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Keep fighting,
~Dennis

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C3Life Blog: The results are in: I now have autoimmune pouchitis

March 29, 2012

I’ve been writing the last few weeks about the various tests I’ve undergone to get to the bottom (haha) of my chronic pouchitis. This problem happens in patients with J-pouches (an internal reservoir) who have had their colons removed. My symptoms have been bleeding, increased frequency, and leaking at night. After two MRIs, an endoscopy, a pouchoscopy, and several blood tests, I now have a diagnosis: autoimmune pouchitis.

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Keep fighting,
~Dennis

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C3Life Blog: Tuesday Special: Two scopes at the same time

March 16, 2012

Last blog I wrote about my recent MRIs, tests I had undergone to get to the bottom of my pouchitis. Last Tuesday, I had the last of my tests: an endoscopy and pouchoscopy: the pouchoscopy to check the condition of my J-pouch; the endoscopy to check for Crohn’s. I haven’t talked to the doctor yet about the results, but I can tell you how the procedure went down.

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Keep fighting,
~Dennis

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C3Life Blog: Spending Friday night with Lady MRI

February 29, 2012

Last Friday night, after everybody was home from work and school, the streets barren, the city covered with the darkness of night, I did something I’ve never done before: had an MRI. Now let me qualify: I’ve had MRIs before, but always during normal business hours. This MRI was scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Not that I had anything planned for Friday night anyway, but it seemed strange to have an MRI so late. A good friend of mine joked about it through a text:

“What are you doing tonight?”

“I’ve got a hot date with an MRI. She is so attractive (if I wear metal). I lie in her curves. She knows me inside and out.”

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Keep fighting,
~Dennis

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C3Life Blog: Training for the Survival Race

February 24, 2012

Last November my United Colon Vlog co-host Nadia participated in a unique 5K/obstacle course called The Survival Race. The race was grueling but very rewarding after dealing with so many surgeries and illnesses. She had so much fun she invited me to the next one, this April, so now I’m training and preparing myself for this physical challenge.

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Keep fighting,
~Dennis

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C3Life Blog: Chronic illness is a family affair

February 21, 2012

Chronic and serious illness is difficult to live with in isolation. Living with inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, or another digestive disease people on this site commonly have is certainly tough on your own body, but it is also tough on those around you.

Embarrassing illnesses are embarrassing not because of how they make us feel personally, but because of how we feel when others know about the illness. The natural tendency of most people is to keep things to themselves, to share their struggles only when absolutely necessary.

I know from personal experience, and from talking to so many of you, that trying to fight your illness alone is often not good enough. It’s important that you enlist those around you to help you in your struggles.

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Keep fighting,
~Dennis

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