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“Why I am Almost as Cool as Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready”

If living with inflammatory bowel disease makes one cool, then Mike, myself, and millions of other people are very cool.  (All kidding aside, I think that everyone is cool in his or her own unique way.)  FYI – Mike McCready lives with Crohn’s disease and I live with Crohn’s brother/sister disease, Ulcerative Colitis.

The short version of what these illnesses are is — A medical condition that when active causes a nasty inflammation of the colon. Both UC and Crohn’s can make one’s life suck if you allow them too. (For a more detailed description of these illnesses, please see the Crohn’s and Colitis headline further down the page.)

On my better days now, I believe that I live in the presence of a rain shower, not a hurricane. Just as a thunderstorm can cause damage, at times living with UC has been painful and inconvenient. Still, I don’t believe that rain showers and thunderstorms are as deadly as hurricanes, and I don’t think that living with the inconveniences of Ulcerative Colitis compares with living with a disease that is fatal. In my speech, “It’s a Rain Shower Not a Hurricane,” I discuss living with IBD.  Please go here for more info about all my speeches.

If you live with IBD and want someone to speak with about living with IBD, please contact me.

If you would like to learn more about Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, and other forms of IBD, here are some useful links:

Crohn’s and Colitis, A Fairly Complete Definition

(From http://www.ccfa.org/info/about/ucp)
“Ulcerative colitis is a chronic (ongoing) disease of the colon, or large intestine. The disease is marked by inflammation and ulceration of the colon mucosa, or innermost lining. Tiny open sores, or ulcers, form on the surface of the lining, where they bleed and produce pus and mucus. Because the inflammation makes the colon empty frequently, symptoms typically include diarrhea (sometimes bloody) and often crampy abdominal pain.

The inflammation usually begins in the rectum and lower colon, but it may also involve the entire colon. When ulcerative colitis affects only the lowest part of the colon — the rectum — it is called ulcerative proctitis. If the disease affects only the left side of the colon, it is called limited or distal colitis. If it involves the entire colon, it is termed pancolitis.Ulcerative colitis differs from another inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s can affect any area of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, including the small intestine and colon. Ulcerative colitis, on the other hand, affects only the colon. The inflammation involves the entire rectum and extends up the colon in a continuous manner. There are no areas of normal intestine between the areas of diseased intestine. In contrast, such so-called “skip” areas may occur in Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis affects only the innermost lining of the colon, whereas Crohn’s disease can affect the entire thickness of the bowel wall.

Both illnesses do have one strong feature in common. They are marked by an abnormal response by the body’s immune system. The immune system is composed of various cells and proteins. Normally, these protect the body from infection. In people with IBD, however, the immune system reacts inappropriately. Mistaking food, bacteria, and other materials in the intestine for foreign or invading substances, it launches an attack. In the process, the body sends white blood cells into the lining of the intestines, where they produce chronic inflammation. These cells then generate harmful products that ultimately lead to ulcerations and bowel injury. When this happens, the patient experiences the symptoms of IBD.”