Thursday, March 31, 2011
NEW: John Bradley's Inspiring Story
As soon as I posted my blog John responded immediately. Thank you for this! I feel very very lucky and grateful to have this priveledge to connect with others with IBD. I am very proud of you for having written your book: Foul Bowel ( http://www.foulbowel.com/ ). It is nice to see the support that is out there and learning more and discovering more and more of this support! Thank you so much for letting me post your story - it has touched me and I hope it touches others.
I became ill at age 18 and got progressively worse until finally diagnosed aged 25 in 1983 after multiple false diagnoses. I was straight in for surgery having a resection and 3 strictureplasties (the 3rd person in the world to have them done - my surgeon invented it). I thought that would be it, problem solved, but ohhh no. My symptoms started coming back while I was still on sick leave from the op! I was put onto steroids which made me feel superficially better but did nothing to alter the course of the illness. In 1985 I was back in for more surgery – 9 strictureplasties this time. For the next 8 years – rinse and repeat. Felt permanently dreadful, couldn’t eat, constant pain, 3 more surgeries of resections and multiple strictureplasties (24 in total). At that stage I really felt that the illness was out of control and that I would be dead by the time I was 40. While all this was going on I still had a career to build in brand marketing, and I did so by being very strategic about which jobs I went for, making sure that I could still deliver expected results while I was feeling terrible, so I was doing jobs that were well within my capabilities. I also got married after the first op. Just when things seemed to be getting worse and worse – my 5th op was only 18 months after the 4th – my symptoms finally began to settle down, probably due to being put on Imuran combined with steroids. After years of trying, my wife got pregnant and gave birth to our beautiful daughter. In 1996, 3 years after the 5th op, I felt well enough to push for an international role and moved to Canada with my employer on a 2-year assignment, which kept being extended and I ended up as Snr Vice President of Marketing, perhaps a bit later than some of my original peers managed, but I got there all the same. I still had health issues as much from all the surgeries as the Crohn’s. I started on Remicade in 2003 and that meant I could finally get of steroids after having been on them for 10 years. While Remicade made me feel almost normal again, I was aware I had a couple of old strictures still in the system so in 2008 I signed up to have them widened. Unfortunately, that procedure ruptured my small bowel so I had emergency surgery that day removing another chunk of small bowel, leaving me with only 20% of the original length. Even worse, that op did not go well as I bled internally afterwards and was rushing into another emergency op the next morning. Since then I have been mostly symptom free and feeling as well as I have ever done in my adult life. In 2003 I retired early from the corporate world and fulfilled an ambition to write, having 2 books published. The second one, The Foul Bowel, is my Crohn’s story but with a lot more humour and insight than in this very short Crohn’s resume! So, I have had a successful career, enjoyed a successful and enduring marriage, delighted in seeing my daughter, now 17, grow and develop into a wonderful and talented person, all the while having a long and complex set of Crohn’s problems. Although Crohn’s has been a big part of my life, I have never let it define me or deflect me from the goal of having a full and enjoyable life. I am not complaining about my lot in life.
I hope that is of interest!