New Here? — Read This First

To anyone who has Crohn’s disease or knows someone with Crohn’s disease:

Hi, I’m Eric Shefferman. I have Crohn’s disease.

I’ve had Crohn’s problems worse than many people and not as bad as many people.

In a quick rundown:

I’ve been hospitalized with Crohn’s disease four times. I’ve spent a few years barely able to walk. I’ve spent most of a year with a drain in me and on IV antibiotics — which only turned out to be good in the sense that I was too ill for them to risk surgery and thus I’ve never had any of my intestines removed.

I’ve been on many different drugs at different times: prednisone, Pentasa, Entocort (I think), Tylenol with codeine, 6-mp, and Remicade. Plus more (though a lot of the worst I was way too ill to know what was going on).

Since starting on Remicade in 2002 (after hitting near-death several times), I have made a lot of other adjustments to my life in the areas of thinking, diet, nutritional supplementation, lifestyle, and exercise.

I think that a lot of what I’ve done has been relatively unique. I set my goal as being healthy and fit and strong and I’ve looked at what people who are those things do and tried to apply their methods to my life.

Though I wouldn’t say that my doctors have been against any of what I’ve done, I would say that they haven’t been extremely supportive. “You could take that if you want to.” “You could try exercise if you want to.” There’s been no procactive stance like what I’m looking for, no “Let’s make you strong and healthy.” That I had to do on my own.

The purpose of this site is to share my insights with other so that they might have a head start on dealing with their own Crohn’s disease.

What I’ve done might not be right for you, but I’ve presented it here for the people that it may help. I’ll try to present things as clearly as I can — both what I do and why I do it.

I suppose I’ll put up a formal “Disclaimer” on this site, but the informal one is this:

You have to take charge of your current condition and decide what you want your condition to be. Then you have to come up with the plan to do it. Discuss what you plan to do with your family, your doctors, whoever it is prudent for you to consult with.

But ultimately, wanting more out of your life is up to you.

My doctor was content for me to have survived having an enormous abscess. That seemed to be as far as he was concerned — that I was alive. Everything past that was on me.

Crohn’s is a particularly freaky disease — so many of the clinical trials show that the placebo gives the patients nearly the same remission rate as the drug being tested! Why is that? Because mindset matters.

That’s why this site leads with the Napoleon Hill quote:

“Every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or a greater benefit.” — Napoleon Hill

It’s darn difficult for me to find the benefit of Crohn’s disease.

I’ve spent years in extreme pain. I’ve faced all manner of public embarassment. I’ve gotten ill to the point that it ruined my business. I’ve been near death multiple times and faced all sorts of medical procedures. Crohn’s was one of the many stressors on my (now failed) marriage. I still, even on my best days, revolve everything around Crohn’s.

So I’m looking for the benefit. Where is it? It better be darn good if it’s going to be equivalent to all that!

Well, I’ve learned a LOT about keeping myself healthy. I’ve made permanent diet and lifestyle changes that I might never have had the incentive to do if I was adequately healthy.

There was a point in 2005 (before I was in a car accident) when I was full of energy and strong in way that most of my healthy friends are not. At a gathering with old friends in September 2005, I was able to tirelessly run around in the yard with their kids.

I had a realistic goal back in 2005 of being able to do a 400 pound deadlift by the time I was 40 and I was well on my way . While that might not be a huge number for a healthy weightlifter — for a guy who back in 2002 was unable to walk from the bed to the bathroom, that was a lot of progress.

Another benefit I can think of is that I can share my insights with others. That’s what this site is all about. I encourage you to look around, sign up for the email newsletter to stay updated, and post your comments on the site to share what you’ve learned.

I’ve always wanted to be able to help people, and I’m hoping that my insights here will encourage a lot of people with Crohn’s to seek more out of life than just barely surviving.

Wishing you the best of health and happiness,
Eric (RiseAboveCrohns)

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