Crohn’s Disease Won’t Stop This Teen
Haley Malcore was 16 years old when she started having severe abdominal pain. After ruling out appendicitis, her primary care physician diagnosed constipation and put her on a high fiber diet. Three weeks later, she landed in the emergency room at Aurora BayCare Medical Center where doctors came to a much different conclusion: Haley had Crohn's disease.
In Crohn’s disease, the immune system attacks cells in the digestive tract. People with Crohn’s disease commonly experience symptoms like abdominal pain, cramps, diarrhea, poor appetite, and fatigue.
“When I was in school, it was hard to concentrate,” says Haley, remembering the pain. “Sometimes I had to hunch over just to walk. But I thought it would blow over because one day it would be good and then another day it’d be really bad.”
When Haley’s condition was diagnosed, doctors discovered that the space between her small and large intestine had almost completely closed. But Dr. Bogdan Cristescu, a specialist in Crohn’s disease, said Haley could try medical treatment first, instead of surgery.
Still, it took a bit to find the right medication. She had two serious flare-ups within the first year, spending a total of eight days in the hospital. At one point, she lost 15-pounds off her already slender frame.
From Bad…To Better
After Haley’s first hospitalization, Dr. Cristescu recommended an aggressive treatment regime of Remicade infusions, administered in the hospital every eight weeks. After the second flare-up, he added another drug designed to keep Remicade active in her system longer.
Under the new treatment plan, Haley has managed to keep flare-ups at bay for six months and counting and is considered to be in remission.