Some of you may know this already but Jeremy recently spent Thanksgiving week in the hospital. The Monday before Thanksgiving he was having severe stomach pain so one of his roommates took him to the local hospital in Spokane (where he currently attends University). The doctors initially thought it was appendicitis, so at 10:30 PM they admitted him into the hospital and prepped him for surgery.
At this time our nuclear family (Aunt Terry, Jaime & Steven, and myself) were all working together to make sure that someone was there when he woke up from surgery! All of us certainly understand the importance of having someone there when you wake up from anesthesia! So Aunt Terry and Jaime jumped in the car and headed over the pass. I’m still not sure how they stayed awake, I understand Jaime knitted an entire sweater on the way, and I know Aunt Terry loves Christmas tunes so much and I’m guessing that might’ve been enough to keep her going.
They made it in time to see Jeremy when he came out of surgery. The surgeon came out and told them that when they got in and began looking at the appendix they noticed
that it was not a problem, but while they were in there they did notice that his intestines were severely inflamed. I imagine that the conversation went something like this – hey Bill, this thing looks fine, I am poking at it right now but… whoa, this over here looks severely jacked up. They removed 4 inches of the small intestine and 4 inches of his cecum. All of this is consistent with Crohn’s disease.
Jeremy was tired and sore but started recovering nicely. Wednesday, Aunt Terry and Jaime headed back and I tagged in to spend Thursday through Sunday there. Thanksgiving consisted of Carl’s Jr. for me, and ice chips and the Hawks game for Jer. Can you believe Carl’s Jr. is open on Thanksgiving!? Don’t worry, we are doing a make up Thanksgiving later. Jeremy continued to recover slowly, for a few days he had trouble keeping any liquids down but his body became strong enough to walk laps around the nurses station.
Something my mom has always said about Jeremy is that he is an impeccable judge of character. This really showed through in a few ways during that week. The first is that he had a revolving door of friends willing to come visit him in the hospital. For most of the visits he just slept and his buddies sat by his side for a bit and silently and stoically let him know that they were there for him. As he began feeling better he was able to sit up and joke with them, he got many cards of well wishes, and his sweet little “basically a” sister made him a Seahawks blanket so he didn’t have to use the hospital stuff. All of his friends were gracious, kind to all the staff, and super respectful of everything that was going on. If you are Jeremy’s friend, you can sleep safe knowing that you have a kind heart because he chooses his friends carefully.
The other thing that really demonstrated Jeremy’s character through this is how he treated all the doctors and nurses. Even in pain, he always said please and thank you, he definitely advocated for himself when he needed something but was thoughtful about the timing. As a hospital veteran I find this such a wonderful thing because if you can believe it…there were times in the hospital when I definitely was not using please and thank you in my vocabulary! Hard to believe, I know!
Many people have given us lots of advice on Crohn’s, we appreciate all the knowledge and are putting it in our memory banks. However, what Jeremy has decided to do is focus his treatment plan decisions with his doctor. It is nice to have information, but it gets confusing when some people say wheat, other people say no wheat, some say medicine, some don’t, some say fly like a bird, some people say walk like a dog :-) It’s super confusing. Here is what we do know:
Crohn’s belongs to a group of conditions called inflammatory bowel disease (IFB). It is a chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Under normal circumstances our immune system attacks and kills foreign viruses, bacteria, fungus, and other microorganisms; our bodies are usually able to distinguish the difference between the good bacteria and bad bacteria. In people with Crohn’s the good bacteria is mistaken for harmful invaders and the immune system prepares to attack! Cells come out of the blood and into the intestines to create inflammation and build a wall of defense against the enemy. In Crohn’s, the body’s defense system remains up and the inflamed bowel continues to stay vigilant against the attackers. Unfortunately, science has not discovered what causes Crohn’s, but have determined that various stimuli may trigger it (which is why he is working so closely with his doctor), affecting all individuals differently. For instance, it might be bacteria, something in your intestines, or family history. Most likely it is a combination of all three. Crohn’s is a chronic disease, which means he will have it for life. However, sometimes the disease can be in remission, with no symptoms at all (fingers crossed).
You will be happy to know that Jer is home and in Bothell, relaxing, and is back to his little brother antics again. His professors have been super understanding, and he is finishing up the last of his schoolwork before the quarter ends.
And, as always, thank you so much for supporting our family! It is crazy just how much love we have. Your comments, and little gestures of acknowledgment mean so much to all of us :-).
Keep on, keeping on!