With the advent of Facebook and the associated phenomenon of re-connecting with High School, College and Camp friends whom I lost touch with years ago, it was very difficult to explain to them how I became a “Professional Hospital Patient.” Therefore, a few months ago, prior to gaining 40 pounds from Prednisone in my battle against the Lung Condition, “Bronchiolitis Obliterans Organizing Pneumonia,” better known by the acronym, “BOOP,” I recorded the Video above to better explain how 25 years of having Crohn’s Disease, 200 related-hospitalizations and 20 related-surgeries have made me a Professional Hospital Patient. (As I recorded this prior to being diagnosed with BOOP, please note that I have no explanation for why I keep getting diseases which are difficult to spell and pronounce!!)
In all seriousness, this Video also describes the motivation behind the Book I wrote entitled, “Confessions of a Professional Hospital Patient.” More specifically, my candid and positive approach in handling all the adversity I was born into has seemingly attracted the most thoughtful, compassionate and genuine friends and also brings out the best in family members such that I can also call them “friends.” Not only do they all help me cope with what is at times overwhelming adversity from the various pervasive components which make up Crohn’s Disease (i.e., the physical, mental, emotional, social, psychological, financial, familial and professional effects) but they’ve taught me how to be a better friend and better person, and for that, I am grateful. Moreover, I truly believe that Friendship is the universal “Currency” in Life and therefore I go to sleep every night comforted by the thought that I am one of the wealthiest people in the world. Granted, American Express and MasterCard may not accept this “Currency” as payment for my monthly bill, the quality of my Friendships is the one characteristic about my Life which I am most proud of and, ironically, I have Crohn’s Disease to thank for that.
My good fortune in having such a strong Support System of Friends and Family made me feel obligated to share my experiences to help other less fortunate patients who did not have the “Support Team” I did to help them cope with the often cruel manifestations of Crohn’s Disease and its side effects and complications. In that regard and through my various intense and diverse interactions with the Healthcare system, I had accumulated valuable instructive information and experiences which I was now going to share with other patients to help them live, love and laugh with ALL chronic illnesses. Accordingly, utilizing a written format seemed to be the most efficient method. With that, the Book project was launched.
As Career accomplishments go, I am as proud of “Confessions of a Professional Hospital Patient” as anything I have ever achieved because I have been told by a diverse sampling of readers that the Book uniquely captures the plight of the chronically ill and does so in an inspiring and entertaining fashion. When it was first published, these unique attributes of the Book landed me on NBC’s “Today Show” and what followed was an intense schedule of National, Regional and Local Radio and TV appearances which more than made up for the lonely nights in crowded and hectic emergency rooms. Just as I take great pride in the quality of my friendships and the thoughtfulness and compassion of my friends and certain family members, I am very proud of my apparent ability to help people see their Crohn’s Disease and other Chronic Illnesses in such a different and almost inspiring manner. To that point, reviews of the Book continue to say that it is “laugh out loud funny” and “hilarious.” Given the often harsh realities of Crohn’s Disease and that “laughing” is not something one typically thinks about when discussing Crohn’s Disease, I’m thrilled that the Book is considered informative yet capable of providing a much-needed “laughing escape” for my fellow Crohn’s Disease patients and their friends/family.
When the cure for an illness like Crohn’s Disease is often as troublesome as the disease itself (and I am living proof of that “Catch-22” ever since I started Chemotherapy a few weeks ago for treatment of the aforementioned lung condition, BOOP, for which I was diagnosed in May, 2011, as a result of taking the “Anti-TNF Agent” drugs for Crohn’s Disease such as “Cimzia” and “Humira”), it creates a story which needs to be told so I tried to tell it, as I live it. People who’ve read the Book tell me I have been successful in accomplishing this goal and not a day goes by when I don’t receive a note in the form of an email, a letter or a tweet telling me that something I wrote brought a smile to the face of a Crohn’s Disease patient, child or parent who never thought such a Book about Crohn’s Disease could do that. Nothing I will ever accomplish in my Life, short of becoming a parent, can compete with receiving a note like that because it makes me feel like what I am doing with my Life is making such a profound and positive difference in the life of others. If THAT isn’t “Success,” I don’t know what is.
Enjoy the Video and enjoy the Book – if you choose to purchase it. Thank you.