(Crohn's) disease of the week

rose.jpg After a half-hour fight with my gastroenterologist last night, he finally agreed to put me on short-term meds to try and control the too-earthly delights I'm currently housing in my 5'2", 106 lb. (and rapidly shrinking) frame.

While we argue a lot, a function of our positions on opposite ends of the Western Medicine Cures All spectrum, we really do love each other. He calls me stubborn, I call him Graham and, despite my refusal to march with him in pharmacological lockstep, we've always come to some kind of mutually satisfying compromise, usually involving my taking some incredibly toxic medication for less time than he'd like and more time than I'd like.

This time, however, we're running into some unusual problems. This flare I'm in now, which we both agree has its roots in an overly-long, overly-strong course of antibiotics I stupidly took after some minor skin surgery, is manifesting itself quite differently than previous Crohn's flares, so much so that I'm starting to question whether I have Crohn's colitis or ulcerative colitis.

There's a lot of overlap in the symptoms (blood and diarrhea and fever and weight loss and the scent-of-the-dead flatulence no one discusses), and the way my disease presented initially, there was some question as to which disease I had. Frankly, as far as end-user experience goes, pain, medications with dreadful side effects, an illness one will never actually be "cured" of, this rose is pretty stinky, no matter what name it goes by.

Several of the treatments are similar, too: steroids, immunosuppressants, anti-inflammatories. There are more medications approved for use in Crohn's disease, but finding the right one for either disease is hit or miss.

So now I'm on another, milder course of antibiotics, metronidazole, used to kill certain "bad" bacteria in the gut which are believed to be a contributing factor to Crohn's disease. And, oddly enough, I find myself hoping I have Crohn's disease (there's no known effectiveness for UC treatment), so this antibiotic will spare me the hair-shedding, liver-bashing nightmare of the big gun meds like 6MP.

Me. Hoping I have Crohn's disease.

The world changes by degree, except when it changes all at once...

xxx c

UPDATE: I realized after re-reading this with some sleep that the juxtaposition of paragraphs made it sound like a geyser of blood and poop is shooting out of my ass at regularly timed intervals. Alas, no. If it were, things would actually be easier because we'd know what to put me on. As it is, I'm having the regular bowel movements of a healthy, high school football player, with no blood whatsoever. Just fever, aches and endless fatigue. In fact, the only thing that makes me sure this isn't just fibromyalgia kicking in at a late date is the ungodly flatulence I'm still dealing with. Really. I could kill a puppy with one of my farts.

Photo by Ga Music Maker via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.