The My Story/Personal Page which is to entail your personal story about Crohn's and/or Ulcerative Colitis is a lot more difficult to fill then the Team Page.
My story is not exactly the first thing I discuss or introduce to others about myself. It is very long and detailed but it also does not make my challenge any more difficult or special than anyone else's story or bout with these terrible diseases. I know this is the 'my story' page, but my goal is not to have people "look at Aaron", it is to support and help any individual, any family, anyone that is battling these diseases and to do everything I can to help raise awareness and funds for research to find a cure for Crohn's Disease & Ulcerative Colitis.
So with the length of my story and how much was involved, I decided to make a list. This list is of what I can remember and contains all the illnesses and events that happened in our life that was brought on by Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease. Some events I have explained things further but I hope that I explain things well enough to understand.
My bout with Ulcerative Colitis & Crohn's Disease began in August 2007. I was 30 years old and had been married for just over a year to my best friend and wife Sharla. I played sports my whole life it seemed like and my athletic career was topped off when I ran track and played football in college. I was always in shape and loved to be active and run around. I was 6'2, weighed 225lbs and was at one point 3% body fat. I don't mention this to boast about me. Sharla told me that discussing what you used to do and looked like is not wrong and boasting of yourself. By telling what you were then and what you are now, shows the impact of the disease on your body.
So after being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, which a few years later was diagnosed as Crohn's Disease and the list began. I had 20+ Hospital Stays of 5 - 14 days, these included - 3 septic bouts of C-DIFF Bacteria, in one case lost 65lbs in 20 days, another bout included having ECOLI, H1N1 Virus and Pnuemonia in both lungs.
25+ ER visits, 10+ colonoscopies, 10+ blood transfusions, 3 Iron transfusions, 10+ Remicade infusions, 30+ Humira self injections, 30+ Cimzia self injections, 2 PICC lines for Intervenous Feeding, 3 blood clots (DVTs), dozens of X-RAYS, MRI's, Ultra Sounds, CT SCANS.
4+ years of Prednisone, which created onsets of Osteroarthritis, Osteoporosis and at one point caused my bone density (DEXA SCAN) to be equivilant of a 90+ year old. In June 2011, the prolonged usage of Prednisone caused my back to break in seven places. The results showed 7 vertebral compression fractures, 3 of which happened while bending over at the sink to wash my face one morning. I felt and heard a snap in my back and my legs collapsed completely. 4 others happened 30 hours after returning home from having a complete colectomy a week later, caused by the assistance I needed to get up & down out of a bed/chair.
My back alone resulted in months of Physical Therapy; learning how to walk again, first with a walker, then a cane, then without assistance and on my own again. During all this, I had to wear a customized hard shell brace that went from my upper chest to my lower waist. To make it worse, I had over 40 staples in my abdomen from my recent surgery! Before all this, my height was 6'2, I am now 5'11.
MAJOR SURGERIES Included: removal of appendix, removal of gall bladder (after 21 days of continuous vomiting), repair of an abdominal/umbilical hernia, complete colectomy - removal of colon / large intestine, permanent ileostomy, emergency abdominal surgery to remove 5+ adhessions - scar tissue build up on my small bowels.
MEDICATIONS: 50+ over 5 year period. Many causing severe side effects and a lot of other situations and memories I am not going to replay. Thank you for your understanding about this one. I also sought care from accupuncture, herbal medicines, special diets and anything else we thought might help.
During these 5 years there were more than just physical trials. The emotional can at times seem harder and more trying than the physical, especially on the one's who love & care for you. My wife Sharla is one that I will always be indebted to for her love and support she has continuously given to me.
Although I could go on, I feel that this is a good place to stop and not worry about me or my story. My goal now is to focus on others that are going through their story and provide any help and assistance I can give!
I do have one message that I have always tried to live by and would like to share with everyone and that is, "Never, Never, Never give up." Winston Churchill.
To all those that are struggling with these diseases, Please don't ever give up, no matter the situation, please don't ever give up!
Here is the link to join Team Peterson
A must Read from a friend of mine.2012 Take Steps, Be Heard for Crohn's and Colitisonline.ccfa.orgPlease support the 1.4 million people battling Crohn's and colitis! Help us take steps toward a cure - walk with us on 06/23/2012.