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Crohn's?
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Crohn's?

A little back story first... I've had pain in my lower/mid back along my spine for years and mostly on the right side. I generally have very low energy and trouble putting on weight. I'm 5'8" 130lbs or so.

Over the past few months or so I've been having some sharp crampy pains on the right side of my abdomen right below my rib cage. I never took notice before but it may have been after I ate. Also the back pain has increased so much that I went to an urgent care center to get it looked at about 3 weeks ago, until I realized I couldn't afford it and went back home.

2 Weeks ago I started to get what I thought was the flu. Body aches, nausea, vomiting...

Last Friday, even though I felt a little run down I went out with friends for a birthday get together. I had a a beer or two and ate a Ruben. I started to feel really tired and sick so I went home. I walked in my house and threw up the sandwich and went to lie down and watch tv. About 15 minutes later I started having the abdomen pains again like I had so many times but it quickly escalated into to worst pain I ever had. I can only imagine that it felt like labor contractions. It got so bad I called my girlfriend to take me to the emergency room even though I don't have any money, no insurance, and I've only been to a doctor a few times in my life (and never hospitalized) I had the shakes and was freezing waiting for them to get to me in the waiting room. I must have looked like I was dying because the rushed me in prety quick.

They took my vitals, drew blood and gave me a cat scan of my abdomen. The doctor came back in and said my scan was abnormal (abnormal is a crappy word btw) and that I had elevated white blood cells. I spent the next three days in the hospital getting more blood tests, hooked up to an IV and given a steroid, antibiotics, and morphine. I wasn't allowed to eat anything but jello. An GI doctor came in and said he believed I had Crohn's. He had 3 patients that weekend with Crohn's also and said I fit the bill perfectly. I was released that Monday, even before the GI doctor thought I would be. He actually tried to come back to see me the day I was discharged and was surprised I was allowed to go. I'm scheduled for a colonoscopy next month. I asked the GI doctor how sure he was that it was Crohns and he told me about 95 to 98% sure.

And now my questions...

Does any of this sound familiar?

Do you think I have Crohn's

I read up on the subject and a lot of the symptoms fit except it seems like everyone had really bad bathroom problems... I've had diarrhea and constipation from time to time but didn't seem excessive, and rarely blood in the stool. Does everyone have severe problems in that area?

What do I do now?

Thanks a bunch for any help anyone can give me. I've been a little depressed about all this and worried. I haven't gone to work in the last week (doctors orders) and I've put school on hold. I've just been too exhausted to do much of anything.


Right now as I write this I am worn out, have the pains in my back and abdomen, and my kidneys have hurt (I had a UTI test in the hospital and it was negative)

Oh and btw, while I was in the hospital I started having chest pains and shortness of breath. They did an Echo cardiogram. My GI doctor got the results and said I had a lot of irregular heartbeats for someone my age (even with crohn's) and I'm scheduled for a visit with a cardiologist next week. Just what I needed, more to worry about.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi  - to answer your questions:

Yes, your current history does sound familiar - except for not having diarrhea and severe weight loss, but Crohn's can atypically present with no diarrhea.

Yes, you probably have Crohn's, especially if your gastro is 95-98% sure. He probably has a number of Crohn's patients and is the best person to know what is going on.

What you do now is have a colonoscopy where the gastro will take biopsies of the tissue in your intestine - this is the only conclusive way to get a proper diagnosis. If it is Crohn's your gastro will prescribe appropriate medication - which you must take to get into remission, and even then, still take them!

I was dx with Crohn's at age 24 in 1970, but still here 37 yrs later, so it is not a death sentence.
If you don't take the prescribed medication the inflammation in your colon could get very much worse and lead to surgical resection of those parts that have ulcers and crypt abscesses. Surgery is to be avoided at all costs as the shorter the intestine, the worse diarrhea can become, with malabsorption.

I have never heard of irregular heartbeats being connected to Crohn's, it may be a coincidence, or due to anxiety. The flu like symptoms are also indicative of a Crohn's "flare" where your white cells have increased dramatically and signify inflammation in your colon. Meds can bring the level of white cells down to a normal level.

Go for the colonoscopy, wait for the biopsy results and then come back to see if we can help you further. There are a lot of new medications now to keep Crohn's in remission, so don't despair, but you do need to get this sorted out.

Take care,
Liz.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for the reply! It helps to know there is someone out there listening. I think I am almost more worried that I don't have crohn's because that would mean I'm back at square one. I keep thinking I'm going to get the colonoscopy and they tell me they can't find anything wrong. If that's the case then I still have unexplainable symptoms and have spent all my money for nothing. Crohn's I can deal with, not knowing is the killer.

Right now I'm taking Pentasa, Levoquin, and finishing up a Methylprenisolone pack and due to go back to work tommorow (which I'm not looking forward to).

If it wasn't for the cramping and constant fatigue I'd be ok now. Oh and I've been on a soft diet for the past week but I did have some chicken strips last night. You never know what foods you'll miss until you can't eat it lol.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi - glad to be able to help.  If the colonoscopy is clear, I would respectfully suggest you get an endoscopy of the small intestine or an upper GI series barium x-ray.  My  Crohn;s started in the small intestine, but I had no pain at all for the 9 months I was being tested - I just had diarrhea and severe weight loss. It was only when I was an in-patient for further testing, that I had pain - like a "stitch" in my right side abdomen and this alerted my physician to that fact I may have Crohn's. The pain got worse, my abdomen was grossly swollen and hard - they called it toxic megacolon. I had a laparotomy as they were not sure if it was an inflamed appendix (terminal ileum is right next to the appendix) or inflammatory bowel disease. There were no colonoscopy or endoscopy tests in those days. The surgeon found 15 places of inflammation in my small intestine (Crohn's "skips", whereas ulcerative colitits, which is only found in the large intestine is prevalent throughout the large colon) and decided there were too many areas to resect so they closed me up and put me on 60 mg of prednisone a day.  

I had many flares over the years, sometimes hospitalisation for severe rectal haemorrhaging, which were solved with IV steroids.  Since I have been on methotrexate (a chemo drug) for the last 6-7 years, I have only had one flare, and that was when I had to stop the mtx to have FEC chemo for breast cancer. I am currently doing okay, but my gastro found a stricture in my small intestine recently through endoscopy and I had an MRI of the pelvis a week ago to determine its' length and how narrow it is as surgery is the only option.

Crohn's can be kept in remission with an immuno-suppressant, methotrexate is only one of this class of drugs.  I hope you get a proper diagnosis soon.

Liz.
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Avatar_f_tn
My 21 yr old son, was just diagnosed with Chron's after being hospitilized for 3 weeks and 1/3 of his stomach and uppper portion of his small intestines were removed.  It all started the end of August where he started having "stomach aches" the the end of Sept. started not being able to keep a lot of food/drinks down.  Finally went to the ER after a week in a row couldn't keep anything down and lost 40 lbs. since Aug.  They hydrated him and took bloodwork and sent him on his way (no insurance).  Followed up at a clinic (said was stress) and sent us to a GI doctor.  Went there and he scheduled an upper gi and lower bowel series.  Well 3 days later, before appt, he started throwing up blood.  Went back to ER and they finally did a cat scan which showed he had a perforated ulcer and blockage where the stomach and small intestines meet.   After the surgery he did have elevated heartrate and was kept in ICU for a while until it went back to normal.  After biopsy and bloodwork (and fact that his biological father has chron's disease) the said he has chron's.  Now on Pantesa and doing better.  Having a hard time gaining weight but eating better now.  Please pursue your tests and find out what is wrong so you can get treated.  My son never had any symptoms prior to August to suggest anything like this would happen.  Dr's say it is very rare to have the chron's affect the stomach like this.
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