http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/310093

Casey Abrams raising awareness about Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Posted Aug 8, 2011 by KJ Mullins
One of the favourite contestants on American Idol this year was jazzy Casey Abrams. He was the one singer who the judges wanted to keep on the show, despite him not getting enough votes from America to stay. He is also a sufferer of ulcerative colitis.
Casey Abrams
Casey Abrams
American Idol
During this season of American Idol, Abrams was hospitalized for ulcerative colitis, a disease he was been dealing with since college.
"When I was diagnosed with UC in college, I was scared that I wouldn't be able to balance my health and my music. I could barely find the energy to walk to class, let alone carry a bass around campus," said Casey in a press release. "But I decided UC was just an obstacle I had to rise above in order to pursue making music. I want to let people know that if you stay positive and have the courage to ask for the help you need early on, anyone can live beyond this disease."
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) affects 1.4 million Americans. IBD strikes at any age affecting men and women equally. Those who suffer deal with diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, and fatigue. There is no medical cure for ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease.
Abrams is launching a national disease awareness campaign, IBD Icons, letting sufferers know that they can live a normal live and pursue their dreams.
It's not an easy disease to live with. I know this personally having grown up with Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS, or spastic colon) and later dealing with Diverticulosis. As a child, I missed days of school because of "tummy aches." Those tummy aches had me cramping so badly that it so painful to move that I was often in tears.
I also grew up dealing with doctors who put me through many tests to find the cause.
In the case of IBS the diagnosis comes when everything else is ruled out. It's not a life-threatening condition but is considered a chronic illness.
Living with the disease for me is second nature. I always know where the closest washrooms are, as it can hit without warning. I try to watch what I eat when the symptoms flare up.
In my late 30's I had a Cardiac catheterization. Because I am allergic to shellfish I had to have massive steroids to combat a possible reaction to the dyes used. What the doctors didn't say was that sometimes those who have diverticulitis will have their first symptoms after such a high steroid dosage.
Days later, cramping, diarrhea and bleeding sent me terrified to the doctor's office. I was scared that I had cancer after having watched my mother die of anal cancer in 1991. I didn't thankfully but was told that I had diverticulitis.
Since then I have altered my diet again to deal with the disease. I can't eat seeds or nuts, although many can, or I will bleed.
Most of the time I am very active but there are days where it takes everything I have to just be able to run to the bathroom.
The disease may be chronic but I refuse to let it get me down. You learn to deal with the condition and manage it.
Always knowing where the nearest washroom is makes you a hit with tourists in a fix!