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You merely exist.
I was diagnosed with UC when I was 18. The early flare-ups caused my spleen to malfunction. I developed severe anemia. It was removed. Following surgery, doctors began treating the UC with medications and yearly check-ups. I was told by the time I turned 40, there would, most likely, be a cure.
I began to live my life in pursuit of my dreams.
After graduating from the Cal State University at Northridge with a degree in Speech Communications, I became a successful Night Club DJ working clubs all over Southern California. Later, I began living my dream as a Television Sportscaster. They eventually over-lapped. Both careers can be quite stressful revolving around timely deadlines.
Not a good recipe if you live with UC.
My first order of business when working, be it at a Night Club or a Football Stadium, was to find the nearest restroom……just in case of a sudden emergency.
Moving ahead some 20 years, my 40th birthday rolled around with no cure. I turned 43 and the UC began to spiral out of control. Working for CBS affiliates in Idaho, I began to lose weight quickly. One day, I began experiencing severe pain in my left foot. Thinking it was broken, I went to a doctor who, instead of a broken bone, found a blood clot in the artery next to my left calf limiting blood-flow to my foot causing the pain.
That’s when I stopped living and began merely existing.
The UC became so severe I suffered from malnutrition and dehydration. This caused my blood to coagulate, or thicken, causing the blood clot. Capillaries in the toes were so severely damaged, all of them were amputated. I was in the hospital for two months.
That was just the beginning of my nightmare.
The next two years, I was in and out of the hospital every four months. The UC was so bad, I needed high doses of prednisone to survive. Some of the side effects of the steroid. My weight fluctuated between 210 pounds at its highest down to 130 pounds at its lowest. I developed severe osteoperosis in my hips. I couldn’t walk up stairs without help.
Even though I had won some prestigious journalism awards as the state’s Best Sportscaster three out of five years, I lost my job.
The only way to begin living again was to remove my toxic colon.
At 45, I returned to Los Angeles where the first of three procedures in J-Pouch surgery was performed. The complete removal of my toxic colon. I lived with a temporary ileostomy for four years. In November of 2012 the second surgery was performed to re-connect my digestive system by making the J-Pouch. The ileostomy was still there until the pouch and other parts of my intestine affected by the procedure healed.
In the meantime, my Mother, Suzanne, had been diagnosed with a rare and terminal form of cancer called High-Grade Myxo-Fibro Sarcoma. She was under hospice care beginning a month prior to my second surgery.
She was waiting to die.
This is completely heart-breaking for me because she had been at my side supporting me from the moment my nightmare began in 2006 fighting every step of the way with me.
Unfortunately, painfully, there was nothing I could do for her except be by her side when I could to support and comfort her. The cancer that had stricken her forced the removal of part of her small intestine and, ironically, she would live the last few months of her life with an ileostomy bag.
Life works mysteriously. My wife, Heather, surmised that if a higher power was at work here, I might have been forced to live with an ileostomy for a period of time so I could help and comfort my Mother during her last few months living with her ileostomy. It was my pleasure and honor.
Suzanne passed away December 21st, 2012. Before she passed she urged me to finish the procedure.
The new year came and I was scheduled for the final surgery in early February. The ileostomy was removed.
I’m back to normal. The only part of me that aches is my heart because my Mother wasn’t at my side to see the end of my…..our journey.
The pain is gone. I feel great. Those of you who follow me on various social media sites know I’m back to work. I lost organs and toes to live again. That’s my remedy. Not a cure. I’m back on my way to pursuing my dreams. I married my high school sweetheart and love of my life, Heather.
Everything I accomplish will be dedicated to my Mother, Suzanne.
Anyone can suffer from Ulceritive Colitis or Crohn’s Disease.
President John F. Kennedy had UC. So does former San Diego Chargers kicker Rolf Benirschke as well as Hockey stars Theoren Fleury and Shayne Corson. Ex-NFL quarterback David Garrard and actress Shannen Doherty suffer from Crohn’s.
Someone close to you suffers from one or the other.
Between 2009-’13, I raised $6000.00 walking for the cause! Thank you so much for the support and for your generosity!!
We’re not done. There’s still no cure! Please remember my story. I want to help find a cure. Please sponsor me, make a donation and/or join me for the LOS ANGELES TAKE STEPS! BE HEARD WALK FOR CROHN’S & COLITIS Sunday, June 15th, 2014 at Crescent Bay Park in Santa Monica Registration & Festival 3:00PM, Walk 4:00PM.
Any amount you can afford is a blessing because every amount helps find a cure. Let’s help those afflicted, and merely existing, not have to settle for a remedy as I had to.
All donations will be made in the memory of my Mother, Suzanne.
Let’s help find the cure.
Maybe, together, we can find a cure to eradicate both Ulceritive Colitis & Crohn’s Disease. Click here and go to my page at www.CCFA.org for more information and to sponsor me.
AGAIN, Thank You so much for your generous donation……So, others can start living instead of merely existing.