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Newbie - My Experiences w/ CD

Hi everyone! Thanks for taking the time to read my post :)

My name is Lauren and I was finally diagnosed with CD in April 2011. I worked as a pharmacy technician for 7 years before "retiring" in January. I am a full-time pre-med student at the University of Central FL, work occasionally as a medical assistant, volunteer at my local hospital, and I am working on a Crohns-based observation study with my GI. Now that you know a little about me, here's my story:

I started having severe symptoms starting in May/June 2011, living on Phenergan and Vicoprofen for severe abdominal pain. I ended up in the ER several times - all they did was run tests, give me Dilaudid and sent me home, blaming it on a previous history of ovarian cysts. I knew the pain was bowel related and I saw a GI who told me it was probably constipation and to take some laxatives. (I knew better! lol) Luckily, my OBGYN who knew the pain wasn't GYN related said she was going to find the problem if no one else would, and performed a laparoscopy Sept 2010. My appendix was inflamed and abnormal, and the general surgeon who came in to remove it diagnosed me with "chronic appendicitis" when pathology came back with bacteria present. I was obviously skeptical, but once the incision healed I really didn't have anymore pain so I thought I was cured.

Then, a few months later I started having abdominal pain again and a new symptom large amounts of blood in my BM. It scared me to death and I went to the ER, this time they said colitis/hemorrhoids. The GI from before once again told me to take laxatives, but I harassed him until he gave in to giving me colonoscopy in April 2011. The pathology came back with IBD, and he started me on Asacol, Flagyl and Levaquin. After those and a couple other antibiotics for several weeks, I found out I was pregnant.

When I called the GI for advice he told me to discontinue all medications, and he would no longer be able to treat me. In a panic, I called my OBGYN who got me in right away and sent me to a high-risk OB for monitoring. I was having a difficult time finding a new GI, and as my pregnancy progressed I was more and more symptomatic with CD. After another episode of blood in my BM, my OB made some calls and found a GI about 70 miles away who specializes in CD and UC, and would take me on while pregnant.

When I finally got to see the new GI I was immediately put as ease, and they told me there were many treatment options, and started me on Lialda and Prednisone. I was still miserable, but able to manage with the new meds. I still struggled with severe pain, and took Percocet occasionally. I ended up being induced at 38+ weeks due to low amniotic fluid, and my son was born Jan 4, 2012 <3

Post-partum was terrible due to a 4th degree perianal tear, and problems with nursing and depression. When I stopped nursing at 3 months, I began the process of getting involved in a clinical trail or study through my GI. In July I entered an observational study of Cimzia on small bowel CD which was awesome because I received a series of 4 capsule endoscopies and got to see my disease first-hand. It completely legitimized all my problems, and I finally had evidence that there really was something wrong with me. The study was 6 months long, and I will have been on Cimzia for a year in July.

I am very very lucky to have had mild-moderate CD as of last year, and bad days isolated to a couple days in a row every couple months. While progessively getting better with the Cimzia, I have been able to stop taking Prednisone, Lialda, Celexa, and Lyrica, and only occasionally take Bentyl or Donnatal for cramping and spasms. My family is amazed with my turn around, and I feel like I'm a new person. My son started daycare in February, which has led to the only problem I've had with the Cimzia... recurrent sinus infections :( But, I'll take that over the CD issues any day! lol

My husband and I are going to start trying for another baby in July, and I've been told I'm safe to stay on the Cimzia during the next pregnancy and nursing, thank goodness! And, since my new GI is awesome and interested in helping me further my medical career, I am compiling data for a new observational study of CD patients in the practice looking for common threads in successes and failures in diagnosis and treatment.

I know there are alot of experts on here, but I would love to help anyone I can to find answers to their CD problems :)
Wow! You went through a lot! I think many of us have here. I'm glad your OBGYN was so persistent! Sounds like you have great doctors in your corner. Good luck with trying for another baby and hope your next pregnancy goes easier for you! Would love to hear some of your findings from the study you're doing. Welcome!