Cheating Death

Over the past few weeks I’ve had lots of time to reflect about some serious events that have taken place over the course of my 39 years, and it has reminded me of the fact that I am very lucky to be alive. 

As an infant in the early 70’s, I contracted a severe case of chicken pox . At my worst, I had a fever of 105 and was unresponsive.  Given my age at that time I of course didn’t recall this at all, but I have a keepsake scar on my forehead that my parents like to point out everytime they tell the story.

At the age of 17 I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease.  I remember a few vivid details prior to and after my hospital admission, but the rest is a blur.  I was admitted to the hospital at the start of my senior year in high school with a temp of 106 and severe dehydration.  Once I was diagnosed and prescribed a multitude of medications, it wasn’t long before I bounced back.  A few years later during my junior year in college I had no choice but to quit my education and part-time job because the disease became so active I was no longer responding to any oral medication.  The following year my entire large intestine was removed–I was so ill that death was the only alternative.   

However since then, I’ve only had to deal with some extra-intestinal manifestations, like pyoderma gangrenosum.  Fortunately, I am one of the lucky ones who respond well to drugs like Remicade, or infliximab. It has kept the disease very manageable for the last 8 years.  

I realized that at any of those times I could’ve succumbed but for whatever reason, I am still here.  I am eternally grateful to the all medical professionals who were, and still are involved in my care; they’ve had a profound impact on the way I view life– and death.


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