How I Live with Crohn’s Disease as a Creative

During a time where a pandemic is occurring, health is the main topic of discussion on social media. The current virus we are all discussing does affect everybody, but certain populations are affected much more: the elderly ages sixty-five and over and people with preexisting health complications such as cancer, congestive heart failure, and autoimmune diseases to name some preexisting health conditions. One of those preexisting diseases I would like to give light on is Crohn’s Disease.

What is Crohn’s Disease? Crohn’s disease is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) that weakens the immune system, which helps us fight off viruses that attack our bodies. It affects the colon and the ileum, which is the last part of the small intestine.

To expound on some of the general symptoms, they are:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Blood in the stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Mouth sores
  • Night sweats

The severe symptoms of Crohn’s disease are:

  • Fissures- tears in the lining of the anus that can cause bleeding during bowel movements and pain.
  • Inflammation of the liver and bile ducts.
  • In children, delay of sexual development or growth

Here are some causes of the disease *albeit that many studies hadn’t really confirmed a certain cause of Crohn’s disease*:

  • Genetics
  • A high-fat diet is a risk factor
  • Overuse of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen and birth control can affect your immune system and can cause bleeding.
  • An abnormal reaction to the immune system fighting off foreign cells that entered the system.

I myself, have Crohn’s disease. I’m in the same population of people that has an IBD such as NBA Player Larry Nance Jr and comedian Pete Davidson who has Crohn’s. I found out about Crohn’s through my undergrad years at VCU studying health and exercise science. While I learned more about certain diseases, I started becoming more and more aware of my past and current health issues. Rather than jumping to conclusions and thinking I have every single disease I learned about, which is common as a health student, I went and got checked after learning about being aware of the symptoms.

Jay Guevara shot by Gr8 Britt at Jay Bordeaux Mural

People know how energetic I can get at music/art/battle rap events where I’m the guy to check in on everybody, shake hands, and kissing babies’ foreheads. However, in plenty of those events since 2017, I would go through severe flare-ups in the middle of those. I would leave events early because of how chronic my fatigue as compared to the normal feeling of being tired from staying up late. For years, I hid this not just from friends and family, but also from myself because in the earlier years of my undergrad. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I would find myself feeling even worse than normal the next day I would go out. There are a variety of ways to treat it, which you can read more about here, but how I treat my symptoms is getting rest and reducing fat intake in my diet along with avoiding taking ibuprofen as medication. Ibuprofen is a common blood thinner that has a side effect of excessive bleeding if used too much. Another thing I do, especially in a time where there’s great caution of illness due to COVID-19 is that I supplement with Ginger and Elderberry to strengthen my immune system and digestive tract. To read more information about Crohn’s disease, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation is a useful tool to educate yourself more about it.

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