Mike Stark StarkStrong

First post: Nov 27, 2018 Latest post: Mar 14, 2020
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

Welcome to my CaringBridge Site.   This isn't a place I expected to be however, as I have visited this site before for other friends and family, I've seen it as a useful tool and a way to stay connected with others through challenging times.  So my hope is this will be a place for us to stay connected, as I move forward in my journey with Crohn's disease.  

I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease 18 years ago, at the age of 28.   Since that time, I have been  on several medications, had two surgeries, and then was in  "Deep Remission" for over four years.   But, in March of 2017, new symptoms I hadn't experienced before began to surface.    My lower lip swelled so big and I had mouth sores so significant, that it was incredibly painful to eat and drink.  After several tests, and many doctor visits, it was determined my Crohn's disease was rearing it's ugly head again in a new and different way.  

Over the last twenty months, with this Crohn's flare I have lost over 60 pounds, experienced  significant fatigue, abdominal pain, bouts of diarrhea and several emergency room visits.  In early November,  I started on the last FDA approved  biologic drug that is available to me.  Doctors say there is about a 20 percent chance this drug will help, but I am hopeful that I will be one of the lucky ones that reacts positively.   In addition, I have recently had multiple doctor visits, scans and blood work, and it has been determined that I will need another surgery, but doctors say if I were to do it now, it would be too risky.  

So now I'm working to improve my health for surgery.  In addition to the recent medication I started, one week ago I began the "Elemental Diet."  I will be drinking 4-6 nutritional shakes each day and not eating any food for 1-6 months.  The hope with this diet is to give my gut a rest, and to be able to more easily absorb nutrients.  

These last several months have been very difficult for my wife Suzy and I, as Crohn's affects every aspect of my life.   I'm taking life day by day, focusing on what I can control, and constantly remembering all of the things I have to be grateful for.   I strongly believe in the power of positive thoughts and prayers, and I'm so grateful for all of the support I have received.

Thank you for your words of hope, friendship and love, it really helps with my healing.  
With love,


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