IS THIS THE BREAKTHROUGH FOR CROHN"S DISEASE SUFFERERS ?
AN UNPLEASANT DISEASE
Back in 1985, I was diagnosed as suffering from CEOLIAC DISEASE. At the diagnosis initial meeting, my Consultant told me that he needed to put a camera down my throat to confirm which of 2 conditions I was suffering from. He added that he hoped I had one condition and not the other, as one was a much more difficult condition to suffer than the other.
At the time, having suffered dramatic weight loss, diarrhea, sickness and general lethargy, I thought he was referring to Cancer as the worse of the two and spent a restless night before having the camera investigation undertaken. The camera revealed to the Consultant that I was a suffer from Celiac Disease, a condition, I was to learn, meant that I was unable to digest GLUTEN. Gluten is found chiefly, but not exclusively in Wheat, and when undigested causes serious inflammation of the bowel, causing the symptoms I had suffered from.
The Consultant explained that my condition was the less difficult of the two he had considered and required only a change of diet to avoid the Gluten and the debilitating effects on my system.Being curious, I inquired of the second possibility and thus, for the first time ,learned of CROHN"S DISEASE. Subsequently, I witnessed at first hand the effects of Crohn's on two people. The first was my wife's Aunt and the second, a young lady employee. I was able to see how closely the symptoms mirrored those of Celiac Disease.
However, whereas, the undertaking of a Gluten Free diet soon reestablished my general health, things are not so easy for those suffering from Crohn's. Crohn's sufferers often have to have large sections of diseased ridden bowel removed by surgery. Most of us have over 16 feet of bowel, but surgery , over years of suffering can see this reduced to less than 3 feet in severe cases. As a result of this, liver damage can often occur leading to the need for liver transplant and likewise for double bowel. Both are risky operations but through them has now developed a new operation, that whilst also carrying risks, can lead to a whole new life for sufferers of this ghastly condition.
WE ARE ALL CONVERSANT THESE DAYS WITH THE MIRACLE OF HEART TRANSPLANTS, BUT NOW THERE IS ALSO HOPE TO BE FOUND FOR CROHN"S SUFFERERS IN HAVING A BOWEL TRANSPLANT.,
This new treatment was finally approved in the UK in 2010 for use on the NHS. Not surprisingly, the two centres for it are located in Oxford and Cambridge. These respected seats of learning include some of the best research facilities in their hinterland, such as the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
It was there that one sufferer of Crohn's for 30 years, had his world changed for the better by undergoing a bowel transplant. The patient, aged 43 ,has now commenced a blog story of his surgery and recovery, plotting the full detail of his condition, previous operations to remove diseased sections of bowel and also the detail of the transplant operation.
This has 3 distinct stages commencing with the total removal of the original bowel. This requires that all scar tissue from previous operations is separated from the diseased parts of bowel. Secondly, the blood supply has to be reconnected to the replacement organ and steps taken to ensure the new bowel is leak-proof. Finally, unscarred tissue is located with which to sew the abdominal wall in place and to close up the patient. Throughout the constant concern is that of rejection of the newly placed bowel. As a precaution there is always left a bit of original bowel at both ends in case the patient has to return to receiving food by tubes, as occurs for many sufferers prior to this key surgery.
The patient in question , Michael Seres, is now slowly and surely being able to bring home produced food into his diet and digesting it without need for a stoma bag. He admits to a tough post surgery period and was kept in Hospital for 12 weeks to assist the rebuilding of his immune system. Now , back with his family, he continues his recovery with his wife and children able to take part fully in family activities free from the disease that haunted him for 30 years. A heartening story and just another example, of the way medical science is advancing to improve both the quality and length of life for so many of us.
My own Hubs, starting with my own perforated bowel and the discovery of my cancer have aroused considerable interest over 2 full years now. Thus, readers may wish to follow the events of Mr Steres Crohn's disease and his bowel replacement. If so, go to beingapatient.blogspot.com where he details his surgery and recovery to inspire others faced with this distressing disease.