My name is Ghassan, I’m 33 years old and have been suffering from UC since 2006.
I have been trying different medications, and the past month has been the worst for me. You will read more in my story.
Some more about me:
I’m very friendly and light hearted, I like reading and being with my family :)
Very bad flare.. visiting the bathroom at least 5 times a day, with cramps, diarrhea, fresh red blood! Sometimes there is no stool, just blood!
Worst Flare Yet
I have been suffering from Ulcerative Colitis since 2006, I was at first prescribed Pentasa, then Imuran with it, and everytime I had a flare, I was prescribed steroids (Entocort).
A few months ago, my situation worsened, and although I was taking Pentasa, Imuran AND Entocort all at the same time, nothing seemed to work.
My doctor then decided to put me on Humira and to leave Imuran because according to what he said, they recently found out that taking Imuran for a long period of time causes cancer.
So for the past 4 months I have been on Humira and Pentasa, with which I recovered for 3 months, but the past month I was back to square one, with a really realy bad flare of passing diarrhea and blood 10+ times a day (which lasted for approximately 7days), the doctor then prescribed for me along with Pentasa tablets and Humira, Entocort AND Pentasa Suppositories to stop the flare, but although the number of times I have to go to the bathroom have decreased to four – six times a day, the bleeding has not stopped! I went to see the doctor yesterday and he prescribed Imuran for only a few months to stop the flare, but I am hesitant, I read on a few websites that Imuran can cause cancer to patients with UC. Do you have an opinion on this? Should I take Imuran for a few months or stay away?
Also, I travel occasionally for work, and it seems that everytime I travel, my UC flares up just like this time, although this is the worst and longest flare I ever got! Has any of you experienced this? If yes, what could be the trigger? and how should I avoid this next time I travel?
Thank you and looking forward to your responses!
Would like to also hear from you on Imuran’s connection to cancer and whether your UC flared up whenever you had to travel, as happens with me? Causes? How to avoid? ASAP please as I’m really suffering as I have mentioned in my story! Thanks heaps!”
Hi Ghassan, I did some research on PubMed (definitely go and check out that site when you get a moment as there’s TONS of great research studies you can read all about.)
In my research, I came across a few bits and pieces of info related to your question about Imuran:
Here’s a direct quote from a study:
“There was no significant association between the exposure to immunosuppressants and the risk of new or recurrent cancer.”
The title of that study is: Risk of new or recurrent cancer under immunosuppressive therapy in patients with IBD and previous cancer
Also, there was some interesting info within the “conclusion” section of another study: “Past exposure to thiopurines increases the risk of myeloid disorders 7-fold among patients with IBD. This finding should be considered when initiating thiopurine therapy, so risks and benefits can be calculated.”
You had another question about traveling and if I flared up. I have had both good and not so good experiences with traveling since being diagnosed. Exactly what the deal is will be hard to say conclusively, however I for sure have some ideas.
For example, we were in Europe last year and for no good reason, I thought I could start eating breads again. HEAPS and HEAPERS of that stuff too. Well…let’s just say that was an awful idea. After years with no bread…I’m not sure what I was thinking. But, as you probably know, keeping a strict diet while on the road is not very easy to do and takes alot of will-power and planning. And…sometimes going hungry.
As you know, I’m big into diet and how it affects UC, so food is always a big part of travel. And by taking some time to search out foods that are within the limits I set for my stomach…its paid off and kept the flares away (when I follow the rules…:)
And another topic that we just don’t talk about enough with regards to travel (and the rest of life…) is SLEEP. I’m doing a much better job the past few years of getting some good quality sleep, and like diet…it’s paying off bigtime. So, if you’re out traveling (especially if its work related which is often stressful…) make sure to give yourself a chance at getting some good sleep. I believe it works wonders for our immune system.
Thanks for sharing and I wish you the best Ghassan,