Voices of Crohn’s Disease – The New York Times

The faces of Crohn’s disease. (Ben Garvin, Alex di Suvero, Brendan Smialowski and Jeffrey Sauger for The New York Times)

Crohn’s disease is one of those illnesses that many people have heard of but often don’t understand.

Caneka McNeil of Washington, DC, 23, laughs at the time she told her boyfriend she had Crohn’s disease. He thought it was a foot disease, she said.

Crohn’s disease is a chronic disease that causes inflammation of the digestive tract. It most often affects the lower part of the small intestine and can cause severe pain, diarrhea, and other symptoms.

Today, “Patient Voices,” created by my colleague Karen Barrow, gives a voice to Crohn’s disease, featuring the stories of seven men and women who talk about living with the disease.

As Ms. McNeil says, the symptoms of Crohn’s disease are not the kind of thing you want to discuss with your friends. “You don’t want to talk about the fact that you have to go to the bathroom all the time,” she says. “Or you might have to run through the middle of the mall to the bathroom.”

But Norm Calfin, 61, of Ann Arbor, Mich., Has lived with Crohn’s disease for three decades. “I think living with Crohn’s disease teaches you a big lesson,” he says. “You can’t fool your body. You have to be careful. “

To hear all the voices of Crohn’s disease, Click here. And please, share your comments below.

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