(OPENPRESS) February 19, 2010 -- "Staying Alive Until 1975" My Story of Growing Up a Jehovah Witness With Severe Ulcerative Colitis.
I remember where I was when I heard that President John Kennedy was assassinated.With the same vivid recall I also remember exactly where I was in 1967 at age 10 when I heard the Watchtower (Jehovah's Witnesses) announce the end of the world was coming in 1975.
Young Jehovah's Witness men were being sent to prison for refusing to serve in the Vietnam war and I would just miss my destiny by a few months. All I had to do was trust and serve Jehovah God and the Watchtower organization with all my heart and I "would stay alive till 75".
Little did I know the catastrophic cascade of events that were to befall me when in the fall of 1970 my first symptoms of devastating ulcerative colitis was to appear. Ulcerative colitis like crohn's disease is IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease).
Little was known about the pathology back then and most of it was wrong. I was told that it was caused by stress and I attributed my dysfunctional difficult life as a young Jehovah's Witness as the source.
The origin of this thinking was that stomach ulcers were caused by stress induced stimulation of hydrochloric acid which ate holes in the mucosa wall. Now we know that stomach ulcers are actually caused by a little bacterium bug called H.pylori and stress has little to do with it.Think about this, there are millions of people everywhere with life's of stressed induced hardships and they DON'T get ulcers.
The worst thing you an tell a patient who is already stressed out is that their illness is caused my stress and put them on a self imposed guilt trip for it.
Now we know that it's almost certainly an auto-immune disorder like rheumatoid arthritis and stress,strength or defects of character have little bearing on the course of the disease. It's an idiopathic disorder which is a big doctor word meaning;'it comes and goes when it wants to and no one knows what causes it.'
I do know this for certain, because of the Watchtower organization's promise of a 'new world' in 1975 my disease was woefully mismanaged. I neglected my health care believing in the bogus false promise that 'any day' I would be in the 'new system' and Jehovah God would cure me forever.
1975 came and went and the Watchtower has now denied LIED ever making that end of the world prediction.
The disease was to continue to ravage me for another 23 years until my bowel finally gave out and I had to have a total proctocolectomy with an ileostomy appliance (colostomy bag).
Ulcerative colitis because it is confined only to the large intestine can be cured with this surgery, remember from high school anatomy class the large bowel is a storage hold and not essential for life so it can be taken out you just have to wear a bag. Unfortunately poor folks with crohn's disease which can involve the entire digestive tract don't usually have this straightforward option.
It is now well into the 21st century and i have a life now that is second to none. The devout are growing old and dying in the Jehovah's Witnesses just like everyone else and I now have had to come to terms with my own eventual mortality.
If you have IBD don't be intimidated please seek out a crohn's and colitis or ostomy support group and if there is none in your area go online, same goes if your still a Jehovah's Witness. There is much better treatment today and there is a good life after surgery.
Hey,ostomates like me can never get colon cancer because we don't have a colon anymore, or for that matter we don't have any of the other 'problems' associated with that part of the anatomy.