“The Crohn’s Ranger:” raising awareness about Crohn’s disease

More than 20 years ago Lindsay Washburn was dealt a hand she wasn’t expecting. 

She was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease; an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of the digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition.

"We think there’s a genetic predisposition, sometimes an autoimmune component possibly and then usually a trigger that gets the ball start going or the body causes some inflammation to the GI tract that is somewhat normal appearing," said Dr. Jeff Michalak, gastroenterologist with Midlands Clinic and Mercy Medical Center.

Once her doctors found out what medication to put her on, Washburn was in remission for nearly ten years — until things went south. 

"I went into a four year flare pretty much," said Lindsay Washburn, "The Crohn’s Ranger."

Washburn was hospitalized over 20 times and got down to just 82 pounds.

Then, a last ditch effort was made.

"I had to have surgery and had an ileostomy put in place," said Washburn. 

Thankfully, the surgery helped and doctors were able to get Washburn on the correct medicine to treat her Crohn’s.

But rather than dwell on the cards she’s been dealt, she’s decided to not let it define her.  

"After I was diagnosed I went to college, I got my degree. I’m married. I’ve very happy with my life," said Washburn.

Washburn started a Facebook page, Twitter and blog entitled "The Crohn’s Ranger" to document her experiences living with Crohn’s.

"My biggest message to other people that have this is that you’re not alone. It may feel like you are many many times but there’s a huge community out there that knows exactly what you’re going through."

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