Teen Girl Diagnosis Her Own Crohn’s Disease!

// June 12th, 2009 // Other

Here is an amazing article I read today on CNN.com. It’s about a girl that diagnosed her own Crohn’s disease. The full story can be read by clicking here but a quick rundown is this:

A teenage girl named Jessica Terry spent 8 years suffering from extreme stomach pain and other symptoms such as diarrhea and fevers. Doctors tried really hard to find a cause for her pain but were never able to diagnose her. Then one day in her high school science class Jessica was looking at a slide of her own intestinal tissue. Under the microscope she spotted what she believed to be a granuloma. This single observation immediately led to her diagnosis of Crohn’s.

This article brings to light the serious lack of understanding and regard for the presence of intestinal disorders by doctors in American today. The body is so complex that I don’t blame doctors for not getting things right all the time. I mean seriously, no doctor, no matter how smart or experienced, ever could. But at this point in history with intestinal disorders becoming almost epidemically rampant, I have no choice but to blame every doctor that saw Jessica responsible for not diagnosing her disorder sooner. Not to mention they had 8 years to figure this one out!

I am not a doctor, I never plan to be one, and I have the utmost respect for doctors because of their hard work, study, and dedication to helping us diagnose our illnesses and prescribe drugs to help us get better (it most cases I really don’t think they do much else, but that is another issue entirely of which towards my mother would say I am “callous.”). Nevertheless, although I do have respect for doctors and give them the benefit of the doubt, my respect for Jessica’s doctors has bottomed out after reading this article. All you would have had to do was tell me the symptoms that Jessica was suffering from (extreme stomach pain, diarrhea, fever etc.) and I would have immediately and innocently, said, “Well it could be Crohn’s. Have you thought about that?” Apparently, even though this problem persisted for 8 years, this thought never even entered the minds of any of Jessica’s physicians. All I have to say is, “Wow.”

My circumstances four and a half years ago were quite similar to Jessica’s although not as drawn out (not to mention I didn’t have to diagnose myself – thankfully). I spent 10 months suffering daily from excruciating stomach pain and other complications such as diarrhea and fevers just like Jessica. After about nine months of doctors continually testing blood and stool samples and giving me an array of antibiotics that they hoped would heal me, my primary physician finally had the idea to send me to a specialist. The gastroenterologist’s very first suspicion upon hearing my tale was that I had either Crohn’s or Colitis. He immediately recommended a colonoscopy and, boom!, I was diagnosed the day of the procedure.

This story about Jessica brings to light the still rampant lack of recognition by the medical community for the prevalence of intestinal disorders in the United States. Even though disorders like Crohn’s and Colitis are literally plaguing millions of people in the U.S. and around the world, doctors still have not grasped this reality. I have no idea why this is, but it is one of the reasons I run the website Crohnies.net. Hopefully this CNN article about Jessica will help bring the prominence of intestinal disorders into the limelight for the public and for doctors around the country so that no one else will have to suffer as long as Jessica did without a diagnosis.

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