Hi folks. Let me bring you up to speed and explain what we're doing here. This blog is my daily Crohn's Disease journal. For those of you who've never heard of Crohn's Disease, allow me. Crohn's is an inflammatory Bowel Disease that affects 600,000 Americans. Incidence in Europe and the rest of the world is even rarer. It is an auto-immune disorder, which means it originates somewhere in a malfunction of our white blood cells. Symptoms include stomach pain, diarrhea, weight loss, intestinal obstruction, as well as a host of complications, most of which involve the anus or bowels. Treatment for Crohn's ranges from oral pills (immune suppressants, steroids, antibiotics) to biological therapies (Humira, Remicade) to bowel resection.
OK. The bullshit is out of the way.
I have been living with severe Crohn's Disease for almost 20 years. I was diagnosed at 19-years old. Despite what doctors and counselors and self-help books may tell me, I am 100% defined by my disease. It plucked me out of a normal teenage existence and set me aside from everyone else. It is the main focus of my life; anyone who argues with that must not recognize health as a primary concern. My Crohn's Disease either looms over or lurks behind every waking decision I make. It dictates what I eat. It tells me if I can go out and for how long. It forces me to inspect my bowel movements, to measure their frequency and examine their consistency (which in turn dictates where I can go and whether or not I should a) bring Glade or b) identify alternate bathrooms in that given area. It stands beside me every time I look at myself in the mirror. It tags along on every date. It is both ghost and brutal reality. Every time I get a stomachache or a gas pain, every time I have a loose stool, lower-than-normal appetite or the slightest bit of fatigue, I have to wonder. Is it my Crohn's? Every time my stomach makes a gargling, squealing, rumbling sound after a meal, I have a mild anxiety. Is it time for the snake to rise up in its hooded fury? Technically my Crohn's is in remission. But even in remission, I am not safe. I am a slave to my disease. Powerless.
More bullshit out of the way.
Here's the recent backstory. In 2012 I had a major flare-up of the disease and after five hospitalizations, two major surgeries and a temporary colostomy (sexy!) I got better. Then I got hooked on painkillers, which I abused for the ensuing 13 months, landing me in rehab and now, by the Grace of God, Alcoholics Anonymous. Of course, once I got clean (I also had to quit weed, my true love since I was 18) my Crohn's flared up again and had to be dealt with. Now I'm back (Fist pump!). I'm clean and sober. I have roughly 11 inches of colon left, and when that goes...it's permanent colostomy time. If I think I have a hard time getting laid now...yikes.
Every day is a fucking adventure. I have a demanding job in advertising (or what's left of advertising, I should say). When I'm not making videos or writing copy I'm either a) at an AA meeting, learning to deal with my debilitating shyness problem and listening to endless drunkalogs, b) at a doctor's office getting my anus probed, c) at the dental school where I'm currently spending 17K for five implants, to be installed by a 28-year old Korean kid that dresses like Tom Ford, d) getting a tattoo, e) at the gym, where I have to workout like a prison inmate in order to maintain a reasonable body weight and not look like some hipster skin-popper, or f) trying to publish my recently-completed memoirs, Half-Assed: A Journey Through the American Colon in a Time of Bowel Disease (ahem, plug). That is my life, folks. And I fucking love every minute of it.
I invite you to join me on this adventure, you and I. It'll be fun. Whenever you're feeling down in the dumps, like a loser, worthless, trivial, ugly or whatever, just come to satanhasagreatass.com and we'll smile together. At its heart, Crohn's Disease is just another way of saying "you're not like anyone else and you never will be. So suck it up, roll with it, and fucking laugh." And I have a good feeling that when most of us are hitting the pillow at night, whether alone or next to someone, we all have a very similar thought.
Let's dance, America. I may shit my brains out on a regular basis, but I've got a few moves you haven't yet seen.
Daniel Pellegrini is a recovering drug addict with an aggressive form of chronic bowel disease. That means he can't take painkillers after undergoing rectal surgery. He's here to show you just how beautiful life is.
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