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I never shared my story.

Hello :smile:

My name is Natalie.

I never consistently used the bathroom as a kid.

I remember in the 4th grade being frustrated in the bathroom at recess because I couldn't poo. I was always constipated.

In the summer before 7th grade, I started having diarrhea. I felt really anxious at the time so I thought it was just simple anxiety.

At some point in high school, I started to always have a stomach ache. There was a lot of stress at home so, again, I just thought it was anxiety.

By this time, I was smoking cigarettes and at some point, I started using marijuana. I realized that whenever I smoked pot, my stomach pain would go away.

I smoked cigarettes and cannabis habitually from sometime in my teens up until I was about 25 or 26. At that age, I stopped using cannabis because I moved from my home in Mississippi to North Carolina to live with my boyfriend. He worked as an avionics contractor for the Marines so I just resigned myself to quit cannabis because I didn't want to go looking for it and get him and myself in trouble.

Quitting cannabis then--after using it every day for 10 years, I definitely had withdrawals but when they lasted longer than they should, I started to add things up in my head that something wasn't right with my body. I felt that I had some sort of disease but had no clue how to communicate that to others. I made myself believe that fatigue and intense stomach pain was just because I was a hysterical woman... or that I was just making excuses for myself (or I'm just an anxious person). Either way, I didn't give myself credit for what I thought about my health. I had constant diarrhea every day for months.

Finally, I went to some random family medical clinic in this little North Carolina town. I told them about the stomach aches and constant diarrhea. They took urine and x-rayed my abdomen. The doctor said it looks like I had a bunch of hard stool and that the liquid must be going around it. He asked me if I had a lot of stress or a history of anxiety. I said yes to both. He gave me an Rx for xanax.

The xanax calmed my nerves and actually helped a bit.

Looking back, I bet I was totally strictured.



My boyfriend and I moved to Pennsylvania because he got a job in New Jersey.

I still generally felt like crap all the time. Never had much energy and no amount of sleep could ever make me feel rested.

Upon moving to PA, my health suddenly got a lot worse. Probably the stress from the move. My chest always hurt, it was extremely painful to walk with bare feet and my feet always tingled. I started to see blood when I wiped my bottom. I was still having a wide, entertaining variety of bowel movements so I attributed it to my surprising bowel habits. It was never a ton of blood. Just enough so that I thought maybe I had a small tear in or around my anus.

I felt like crap a lot that year. I finally gave up smoking. I actually did it cold turkey after my mother suddenly passed away without warning. She wasn't sick. She just died. Anyway, that's when I gave up smoking. I just stopped doing it. I figured that I couldn't feel any worse than I did at that moment so I just said "eff it".

A couple of months later, one night at my job as a night auditor at a hotel, I went to the bathroom to have a BM. When I cleaned myself, the only thing I saw on the toilet paper was a ton of bright red blood. Nothing else. I looked in the toilet. Tons of bright red blood. There was no pain, there was no foul smell. Just the bright red blood. After work, I went to an ER and they didn't really tell me much. I did talk to a nurse that gave me the name of a colorectal surgeon. She said she had colon cancer and that the doctor did a great job of fixing her up so I got an appointment.

Before surgery, she did a colonoscopy and said that she couldn't see much at the terminal ileum and that she thinks I have Crohn's. I ignored it and went forward with the surgery to remove a perianal fistula. After the surgery, I took a course of antibiotics and that is it. She wanted me to use some nitroglycerine cream or something on the surgery site but that freaked me out so I didn't use the cream. It healed up fine on its own and I haven't heard a peep from it since.

About a year or two later (I suck with timelines) I started throwing up out of nowhere. I never vomit so I knew there was a problem and the pain that accompanied the emesis was so bizarre. I actually drove myself to the hospital.

They did a CT scan and saw where I was obstructed and admitted me. They told me they think I have Crohn's (again) and told me I could go home if I pooped. The only doctors I was communicating with were from my surgeons practice so I never actually spoke to any GI's.

I pooped and went home.

I went in for a follow-up with my surgeon and I told her I haven't been officially diagnosed with Crohn's so she recommended a doctor I go see. I finally got my diagnosis. I refused medication initially. I had just lost a lot of weight and stopped smoking and was having a bit of tunnelvision. My newfound "good health" and healthy living were all that was going to keep me well.

About six months later I end up going to the ER again and getting admitted for another obstruction. They begged me to take medication. I had different doctors coming in to talk to me to convince me. I finally said I would take the most benign medication there is for Crohn's. They gave me Pentasa.

When I got home, I started taking Pentasa and I researched safer ways to consume cannabis and purchased a vaporizer and found a way to get medical quality cannabis.

I've since realized that if I hadn't used cannabis so frequently growing up, that I probably would have had to have had some of my bowel removed by now. I know it is just a theory but if you look at the studies for cannabis, you'd think the same thing.

The rest is history.

I joined the forum because I wanted to read about people that I can relate to and because I wanted to learn more.

So, that's my story. I'm sorry that it is so long. I figure that if I waited over a year to tell my story I might as well start from as early as I can remember :biggrin:

I also suck at telling stories.
If you see a hole and want some answers, just lemme know.
I loved your story! I would disagree that you suck at telling stories. If anyone sucks at story-telling that would probably be me. Thanks so much for sharing it. I can relate to so much of what you said. The anxiety, the assumptions that what I was dealing with was just my own quirky way of pooping, the pot smoking, the never feeling rested even though I sleep plenty.

I've been a lurker here for a few months and just joined yesterday. I've been wondering how to tell my story, but am afraid I'll be much too long-winded and bore people beyond belief. haha But I'll get to it soon.

Thanks Natalie.
Thank you!

I'm really glad you could relate.

Don't be afraid to tell your story! Just do it :)

I'm glad I finally got all that out there. :rosette1:
I just joined a few days ago and I'm so glad I did. After years of suffering, it's about time I get some support from people that understand. I also enjoyed reading your story. I kept mine pretty brief and current. I may go back some day and tell the whole story like you did, from the beginning. The pot smoking really made me think. My 20year old son always tells me that it would help me. Maybe he's smarter then I thought. I was never a pot smoker but all my friends and brother were. I was a drinker, one of the worse things for stomach problems. But the booze always helped my anxiety. But anyway I hope you are feeling better. Are you still just taking the Pentasa? Because I know that Asacol worked for years for me. I now have been on pred I weened off that after 9 long months. I now use Humira. It seemed to work at first, but I think I need to up my dose. Please keep us all up to date.

Thank you! If you have access to cannabis, you should definitely try it out. It really turns things around for me. I am still taking Pentasa but now I've added LDN and some other supplements.