‘Intestinal Fortitude: A Survivor’s Guide to IBD’

‘Intestinal Fortitude: A Survivor’s Guide to IBD’
Welcome to "Intestinal Fortitude: A Survivor’s Guide to IBD." My name is Emmeline Olson, and I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease almost 13 years ago. My health journey actually began more than 20 years ago and nearly ended in 2017 when I had a life-saving liver transplant. The transplant wasn't due to Crohn’s, but rather an autoimmune liver disease called primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). This condition seemingly is connected to IBD, though doctors don’t understand why. It’s a chicken-and-egg thing: Most people with PSC also have ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s. My story started the moment I received my PSC diagnosis. Although details are fuzzy, I remember it was 1996 because I was in graduate school. I don’t recall if I was having gastrointestinal issues or irregular bowel movements. As a 23-year-old grad student, I probably didn’t have the healthiest diet, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I attributed diarrhea to my regular diet of fast food, caffeine, and alcohol. Also, because I pulled all-nighters and had to be at my part-time job at 7 a.m. before heading to class, fatigue was regular, and I blamed any upset or acidic stomach problems on stress. I sought medical help when I started running high fevers without any other symptoms besides malaise. The fevers would last a few days, but my temperature would normalize after I took Tylenol. I knew something was wrong when my neck's lymph nodes became swollen and at times painful. After the third or fourth episode, I made a
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