by Ed Kalski
I was diagnosed back in 1981. I know I had the disease longer than that, but was told I had a nervous stomach. I'm not a nervous person.
I had an operation in 1981 where part of my small intestines was removed. I was put on Sulfasalazine and have been on since then. I take two tablets in the morning and two at night (500 mg.). I'm lucky to be able to take a sulfur drug and not have problems with it. Many people can take sulfur drugs.
Compared to most people I've done pretty good. Some pain many days a week, but it is mild. I'm really pretty lucky.
My advice to people newly diagnosed is first, be comfortable with the doctor you've got. You have to feel comfortable talking about what is going on.
Secondly, learn to reduce stress. I've learned that stress doesn't cause Crohn's Disease, but it sure can make the symptoms more difficult to deal with. And it is so easy to get stressed with this disease.
Over the years, I've learned to meditate and relax each part of my body. I know that if my body is as relaxed as possible, the symptoms are easier to deal with. That's not an easy thing to do, but over time with practice, I've gotten quite good with it.
If I'm having an episode, I can think back to a time and place that was comfortable and relaxing and it helps. For instance, there is an island off the Georgia coast where I sit on the dock, watch people fishing or walking by and feel totally relaxed. When I'm back in Atlanta and am having some pain or problems, I allow myself to think to those days on the island and the pain subsides.
I also learned to relax my body by concentrating on each part of my body, take deep breaths and think about relaxing that particular part. Then I move to another part of my body. It works for me.
My doctor says I'm in the top 3% of people having the least amount of problems with the disease. I think learning how to relax and reduce stress is a major reason I'm doing so good.
I wish you all the best.