Following in My Father’s Footsteps as a Crohn’s Survivor

Following in My Father’s Footsteps as a Crohn’s Survivor
I inherited many traits from my dad: my need for organization and order, love of math, problem-solving abilities, and powers of deduction. I also received his sensitive skin and delicate digestive tract. I became aware of my dad’s gastrointestinal issues in 1987 when I was 14 and he was 49. I woke up in the middle of the night to my mother calling an ambulance because my dad had collapsed when he got up to use the bathroom. At the hospital, doctors discovered a pinhole in his colon where the contents had leaked out and caused an infection. The surgeon performed a partial colectomy, removing an 8-inch section of his infected colon. The surgeon was surprised that my dad hadn’t experienced any pain before ending up in the emergency room. “Prior to the attack,” my dad said, “I was experiencing bloating and distension of my belly, but no pain.” He was released from the hospital with no follow-up gastroenterology appointment. In 2005, my dad had gastrointestinal symptoms again. “I was bloated and could not pass gas,” he said. “A common aftereffect of a colectomy is a tendency toward intestinal blockage or constriction.” My two sisters and I traveled to Oklahoma City to be with our dad as he underwent surgery to remove 6 inches of obstructed colon, and our family spent Christmas Day in his hospital room. When my mother had called to tell me that my dad was sick, I prayed to God to take away his pain and give it to me because I was younger and stronger. Ironically, I received my diagnosis of Crohn’s disease the following year. In 2012, routine b
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