Thursday, August 28, 2008

Obby Khan - Candian Football League Star with Crohn's

Guys, came across this interesting story in the Montreal Gazette of Obby Khan, a CFL (Canadian Football League) Blue Bombers Player with Crohns. Looks like he is the northern version of the Jacksonville Jaguars David Garrard. Looks like this guy had exteme pain from Crohn's. Remember football season is coming up, so be sure to follow along the story of David Garrard.

WINNIPEG - Ibrahim (Obby) Khan, a grown man of 27 who has played professional football for five years, can't describe the sheer joy he experienced last winter, when he dug into his first cheese pizza. Or when he dove into a bowl of Doritos.

"It was simply awesome," the Winnipeg offensive-lineman said this week. "Now I eat them all the time - four or five days a week."

Ah, the staples of a healthy diet.

But Khan can be excused for his indulgences. There was a time last year when his diet consisted of boiled rice and salmon exclusively. He couldn't eat fried, fatty or spicy food, chocolate, sweets or anything with seasoning. He couldn't eat fruits or vegetables. He had to take 50 pills daily and had nearly as many trips to the bathroom. There was a time he received daily morphine injections, directly into his heart, to ease the stomach pain he felt 24/7. He saw his weight fluctuate nearly 100 pounds.

"It's tough to explain," he said. "Take the worst aches, cramps and gas. Magnify it by 10 and then amplify that 24/7."

Khan was diagnosed with Chron's disease five years ago. The autoimmune condition can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to anus. Its main symptoms are pain, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting and weight loss or gain.

Khan continued playing through it - he broke into the CFL with Ottawa in 2004 before joining the Blue Bombers two years later in a dispersal draft after the Renegades folded - for more than three years, taking medication that kept the disease in remission.

But things began to change last season, forcing the 6-foot-3 centre to miss 10 regular-season games, along with the Bombers' post-season run to the Grey Cup final. He took medicinal steroids, anti-inflammatory and anti-diarrhea pills. There was a pill to curb his nausea. He tried yoga, chiropractic treatments, even acupuncture. He underwent chemotherapy for six weeks after developing a virus he caught from taking all the medication. He was taking eight Percozets daily for back pain before advancing to morphine. This once healthy 300 pounder was now a shadow of himself, weighing about 205.

"I had serious cramping and bleeding,"he explained. "And the urges to go to the bathroom - there were two or three months I couldn't leave my apartment. There was a time I almost slept in the bathroom."

He has a 13- or 14-inch scar - it took 40 stitches to close the wound - he proudly displays, like a badge of honour, from the surgery he underwent to remove his large intestine, and another smaller incision from the removal of the colostomy bag. Khan said he endured three weeks of hell following the surgery.

"My whole body - I couldn't sit up. It was tough walking, coughing and breathing," he explained. "Even taking a deep breath hurt."

Jacksonville quarterback David Garrard had a foot removed from his large intestine. But Khan is the first pro athlete to have it entirely expunged and return to his career - ahead of schedule, we might add. He started practising in June and returned two weeks ago, against Calgary. It marked Khan's first game since the regular-season finale in 2007. He received a standing ovation from the crowd at Canad Inns Stadium when he was introduced, although he didn't start. He now weighs about 290 pounds.

"He's coming along, and his health's about 100 per cent," Winnipeg head coach Doug Berry said. "He's got to improve his game. We'll keep working him in, but he's not ready to play an entire game at centre. I just don't know if he'd last in this heat.

"He's a good athlete. He's tough and a motivational leader. We want him back."
Khan's diet must remain regulated, and there are still many things he can,t eat, including some fruits and vegetables. He hasn't enjoyed a salad in two years.

"I've learned I can get through anything," he said. "If you have heart, support, determination and desire, you can do anything. I've been through hell. Whatever else can happen, bring it on. I can take on anything."

Friday, August 22, 2008

US Olympic Athetes with Crohn's - Carrie Johnson and Tairia Flowers

It just dawned on me that after reading about two olympic athletes with Crohn's in Sports Illustrated, that I never created a blog post. So sorry if I am a bit late to the game keeping my peeps in the Crohn's loop on this one. Carrie Johnson of the women's kayaking team and Tairia Flowers US Softball infielder are the two US Olympic Athlets with Crohn's Disease. As a soccer player, runner and athlete I have a lot of respect for these two women and their accomplishments. It's hard enough to make it to the olympics in any sport. Anyone up for some new sports? I think I can take anyone in Speed Pooping! I heard they are considering adding "Hovering" at the 2012 Olympic Games in London!

So about the athletes:

Tairia Flowers
is representing the United States at the Olympics for the second time in her career this summer in Beijing, where she will play first base and catcher for the gold medal favorites. Flowers, who married a former UCLA basketball player, was limited in Athens by a Crohn's disease.

Carrie Johnson recently placed fifth in the 2007 World Championships of Kayaking. She was also the first U.S. kayaker to qualify for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Carrie Johnson also makes no secret about the fact she lives with Crohn's disease.

Carrie's Crohn's symptoms began while she was training for the Athens Olympic Games in 2004. While she was training for the Games, Carrie began suffering from extreme fatigue, severe weight loss and anemia. Carrie is a proud advocate for people living with Crohn's disease. She is actively involved in the CrohnsAndMe website (, a site dedicated to people whose lives are affected by Crohn's disease. The website contains useful links to Crohn's disease resources, a tracking feature to help keep records of Crohn's symptoms, and information about the treatment available for Crohn's disease. Johnson, a native of California, is now 24 years old, and will compete in Beijing in a 26 pound single kayak.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Osiris Prochymal First Phase Complete

Well, I am definitely feeling a bit different. I think better?? All of the stress i am going through would normally propel me like a rocket, straight into (or is it ass backwards into) a flare up. I believe the fact that my Crohn's is not flaring, despite the fact that I am not on ANY other medication (aside from the Osiris Prochymal) looks good. I am still having pain and all of that good stuff but it is just "different." I wish I could be more descriptive, but words fail me. I have never been too good at being in tune with my Crohn's...I kind of just deal. On the negative side, my body is a wreck from sports and the stem cells should theoretically be helping me out a bit with muscle soreness and issues. My knee is shredded and I need to have surgery, and my back is still giving me fits. Every day I play soccer (injuries have kept me out a full week as of tomorrow) I have another strain or pull. Maybe its just the old age. At any rate, I have a follow up docs appt next Thursday and we'll see where we go from here!


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Osiris Prochymal Infusion Number 3

Infusion #3 is today. Hopefully the old veins cooperate, because the big thick IV is the worst part. I swear, they are trying to insert a drinking straw into my vein. That and the benadryl that gurantees me a nice little 45 minute power nap. I do actually think I am feeling a little bit better. Different at the very least. I think the side effect of muscle weakness is kicking in, as evidenced by personal worsts at the gym and lots of soreness after soccer. For the 3rd time in 3 trys I will be playing soccer within hours after the infusion. I still have pretty severe stomach pains, and haven't taken any meds for that in a long time. Just dealing with it.

I am trying very hard to minimize stress. Add a tough economy, divorce, no AC in the house and plenty of work related issues and it is a tough mix. I got some peace based on a legal decision last week that has helped reduce my stress level immesaurably. Thank god. Sorry these posts aren't very exciting but I know alot of you are anxious to know how these treatment works. I do recommend that if you have moderate to severe chron's, that you talk to your doctor about Osiris' Prochymal Clinical Research Study to see if it can help you out.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Prochymal Infusion Two Complete

Well, not much to say here. Two infusions as part of the Osiris Prochymal study are now complete. Each one took a couple of hours per appointment. Show up, get an IV, pump that with a steroid and some benadryl (gooodnight), and then get an hour long infusion of the actual stem cells (or placebo). I go back Thursday for another infusion. Lets see what this does to my Crohn's Disease Symtoms


Crohn's Disease Blog