Tuesday, February 21, 2012

First Run-In with Pouchitis

Yuck. Got pouchitis. I am not sure how or why, but I began showing symptoms about 12 days ago. Pouchitis is an inflammation of the ileal pouch (or j-pouch) and presents with urgency, bloody diarrehea and an increase in frequency. I first noticed urgency, then blood. As I have mentioned before, frequency is an ongoing issue for me, pouchitis or not. Pouchitis becomes a chronic issue for about 10% of pouch owners, so I am just hoping I am not one of them.

After ten years of suffering from UC and spending the last year in a seemingly infinite state of convelescence, I'm sure you can understand why I am not too psyched about having pouchitis. Antibiotics seem to be helping and I have also been taking the potent probiotic, VSL #3. For now I am feeling much better, but I am concerned that I may need long-term antibiotics to keep the pouchitis at bay. Hopefully not. But in reality, if that were the case I would be lucky. Worst case scenario is "bye bye pouch" (ie permanet ileostomy). Still not terrible. Perhaps living with an ileostomy bag or pouchitis is not ideal, but one thing I am sure of is it is better than the alternative.

On Thursday the bank I work for will be hosting a bone marrow drive to see if we can find a match for a six year-old Acute Lymphocytic Leukema patient. The boy, Colin, was diagnosed shortly before Christmas and spent the holidays and the entire month of January hospitalized undergoing intensive chemotherapy treatments. Reading about this was the equivalent of ripping my heart out and stomping on it, and I truly hope that I or one of my coworkers will be able to make a life-saving donation to this truly heroic child. Colin refuses to tell his younger brother of his disease because he does not want him to worry.

Why do I bring this heartwrenching story up in a UC blog? Mostly to provide persepective. If six year-old Colin can hold on to hope and exhibit such selfless dignity in such deeply dire times, I just have to feel lucky, extremely lucky, that my worst case scenario would be a life-enhancing bag that would allow me to live. Colin might not be so lucky.

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