ARE YOU OR DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE LIVING WITH CROHN’S OR COLITIS THAT STRIVES TO LIVE WELL DESPITE THEIR DIAGNOSIS? This can mean a whole lot of things to different people. We want to create a space where we can meet, connect with, follow and support those living well with IBD and learn from each other 🙂 . Seeing how other’s can live well inspires us to also bring courage and strength to live well too (as best that we possibly can with where we currently are in our journey right now).
You’ve got to meet Troy! He knows a lot about health, nutrition and fitness related to Crohn’s Disease and has a great website where he openly shares everything that he’s learned! He’s also thriving while living with Crohn’s Disease and he’s got some GREAT tips to share! See below.
- Troy’s Crohn’s story
- Learn how Troy has been living well with Crohn’s
- Troy’s 3 tips for living well with Crohn’s or colitis
- Connect with Troy!
We have been following Troy Parsons for a few months now and he is ONE INSPIRATIONAL GUY! Troy has undergone an incredible health transformation that is truly inspirational! He just competed in a men’s physique competition, has put on a lot of solid, lean muscle (something that can be especially difficult to do when living with Crohn’s), and he’s showing us everyday what’s possible while living with Crohn’s. Click here to check out pictures! He’s passionate about nutrition, health and fitness related to Crohn’s Disease and he regularly updates his website with some of the best content, recipes and workouts we’ve seen! A big ‘thank you’ to Troy for letting us share his journey and tips! 🙂
Troy’s Crohn’s Story:
“My name is Troy Parsons, I’m 23 years old and a 4th year BSc student majoring in Geology at the University of Calgary.
I run a blog highlighting health, nutrition and fitness related to Crohn’s disease called FlaredupFitness.com.
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2009 at the age of 17. I currently reside in Calgary, Alberta but I grew up on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.
“I want to show people with my disease what can be possible while pushing the limits of their body and mind even with a debilitating chronic disease.”
All I can hope for is to make a difference in someone’s life,
big or small.
My goal is to inform and motivate others by showing what has helped me deal with my unusual situation.
I have been dealing with Crohn’s disease for 7 years.
My Crohn’s story is long and complex so I’ll try to give you the summarized version. The two months before I got diagnosed with Crohn’s was the worst time of my life.
In 2009, and senior year of high school, I started getting severe stomach cramps and getting sick a lot. I went on a family trip to Mexico for spring break and got really sick after returning home. After a visit to the emergency room due to extreme stomach cramps the doctors concluded I had a bacterial infection I got from Mexico.
I suffered on and off for the next few months taking different antibiotics trying to kill the infection.
I managed to graduate high school and that’s when I started to get really sick.
My immune system was so run down I also got C-Difficile, a superbug that sends hospitals into quarantine.
I lost 30 pounds, I couldn’t eat without severe pain due to the ulcers that lined my mouth and throat and I considered a good day to be less than 20 bowel movements.
I couldn’t leave the house and honestly thought I was going to die.
Bowel Obstructions & Extraintestinal Crohn’s Symptoms
I finally got referred to a general surgeon who specialized in gastrointestinal problems and he put me on prednisone, an anti-inflammatory steroid. Within 3 days I started to eat again and had significantly fewer bowel movements. I had a very difficult time trying to gain back all the muscle and weight I lost. I was consistent and patient and did my best to exercise even when I may not have been feeling great.
Over the past 7 years, I have been in and out of the hospital with partial bowel obstructions and had to deal with many Crohn’s related side effects.
I did my best to attend university despite the frequent hospital visits and a broken leg caused by mild osteoporosis (a Crohn’s related side effect).
In 2013 alone, I was admitted 11 separate times for partial bowel obstructions.
Unexpected Finding During Surgery
In April 2013, I had a small bowel resection surgery to remove the diseased areas. The surgery was not a success as they found more diseased sections than expected and the sections were too long to remove.
The surgeon sewed me up and sent me home and finally put me on Humira, a biologic medication. I transferred universities in Fall of 2013 to University of Calgary to finish my Geology degree.
My symptoms have been relatively well managed since moving to Calgary except for a few episodes.
Ruptured Quadriceps Tendon
In March 2014, I ruptured my quadriceps tendon, likely caused by large dose of prednisone that I was on a few months prior to the injury.
Prednisone, like other steroids dry out your tendons making them brittle and prone to snapping. This was by far the biggest injury of my life, leaving me on crutches for 2 months.
16 months later I still cannot run or jump.
Never Giving Up
I’ve had many setbacks due to Crohn’s disease causing me to delay finishing my degree but I’ve kept working at it.
Most recently, I competed in the Southern Alberta Bodybuilding Championships in the Men’s Physique Class.
“This was a huge accomplishment for me because I wanted to show others that it is possible to push your body mentally and physically, even with a chronic disease.”
I competed for a personal accomplishment I can be proud of while motivating others and showing what has helped me deal with my disease!
Overall, I’ve had a long journey with Crohn’s and gained a lot of experience finding out how my body works.
I hope my story and experiences can help others who suffer from similar situations.
I know it definitely helps me knowing there are others out there dealing with the same disease.”
Living Well with Crohn’s
I’ve found the best way to live well with Crohn’s is to try and make the most of the days you feel good.
Enjoy your time when you can get out and do the things you love.
I may not feel great sometimes but I always try to enjoy myself during those days I may not feel 100%.
The best recommendation I can give for anyone suffering from IBD is find out what works for you.
I had to find out through trial and error what worked for me.
Everyone is different.
Somethings that work well for me may not work for others.
Get to know your body and how certain foods affect it.
Also I have found that being assertive and in control of your health is very important.
Don’t always rely on your doctor for him/her to tell you what to do.
You need to build a relationship with your doctor and talk through your health concerns to improve your care.
Be proactive, make suggestions and most of all be informed and do your research before your appointment.
3 Tips to Live Well with IBD
1. Watch what you eat!
The best advice I can give anyone who is recently diagnosed or looking to better manage your symptoms is to listen to your body.
You know your body better than anyone else, how it reacts to certain foods, how you feel energy-wise, and know when to give yourself a break.
I can only speak for myself, but the biggest thing that has helped me is creating a food journal, a list of everything you have ate and how you feel that day. By creating a food journal you can effectively create a list of foods that cause you discomfort and problems and eliminate them from your diet.
It has taken 7 years but I usually know what foods I can and cannot eat.
My disease is easily affected by the foods I eat, if I eat the wrong thing I will end up in the hospital.
I do my best to stick to the foods I know work for me and I’ve been feeling better than ever.
2. Make the most out of the days you DO feel good.
Most people have good days and bad days but try your best to still do the things you enjoy even on bad days.
This has helped me mentally.
Even on my worst days I would still try to go for a walk, go to hockey practice, or go to the gym.
I wouldn’t let Crohn’s take away from the things that I love doing.
Definitely listen to your body but sometimes you just have to get yourself up out of bed for your mental health.
3 Recipes from Troy:
Connect with Troy:
Jump over to his website FlaredUpFitness.com to follow his journey and subscribe to his blog updates!