Monday, October 13, 2008

Ayr United Scottish Soccer Player (David Gillies) from Battles Crohn's

Being a soccer player with Crohn's Disease myself, I can appreciate the story of David Gillies, below. It is hard enough watching playing local co-ed soccer with stomach cramps, dehydration, malnourishment, lack of iron, etc...So I have allot of respect for professional atletes with Crohn's disease. Most of my followers know that based on my man-crush on David Garrard. Other Athletes with Crohn's - Obby Khan, Tairia Flowers, Carrie Johnson, Theo Fleury, Shane Corson.

Ayr Utd star David Gillies' battle to beat pain of Crohn's Disease
By Maria Croce, Daily Record

AYR United striker David Gillies was warned he might never play football again after being diagnosed with bowel disease Crohn's. But he vowed to prove doctors wrong and now he wants to inspire other sufferers to follow their dreams rather than give in to the condition.

David, 25, and girlfriend Leanne Robbie, 23, live in Ayr with their four-year-old son Brandon.
They're expecting another child and have much to celebrate now David's fit again. But last year it was a different story with David facing the prospect of losing his footballing career just as it was about to take off.

Last June he began suffering crippling cramps in his stomach. "It felt like a really sharp pain - like a knife being twisted in my stomach," he said. "It would last a couple of seconds and take my breath away. Sometimes it would happen when I was training - but it was most days."
But he battled through his football training while doctors were baffled by his condition.
"It took forever to find out what was wrong with me," explained David.

"Doctors said it went against me because I was so fit and played football - that made it difficult to diagnose because I continued to train even though I was in pain.

"I pushed myself through. And when I went to the doctor they'd say, 'On a scale of one to 10, what's the pain like?' And I'd say, '10'. But he'd look at my notes and say, 'It can't be a10 because you're training every day'. When you play sports you just get used to playing with injuries. I was enjoying it so I kept doing it and tried to ignore the pain.

"I can remember the day it started in June. One evening I just threw up at home but I felt fine the next day and went training. "I was with Airdrie and although I trained fine, I started getting stomach cramps and could hear my stomach gurgling. I thought it was because I'd changed my diet and started eating more healthily.

"But then four weeks into the season it got worse. I went to the doctors but they told me it was a stomach bug. But the pain kept returning."
Over the next six months David went to hospital six times for investigations including a barium X-ray.

"I'd been playing with Auchinleck juniors and this was my big move to Airdrie," he explained. "Before I'd been scoring lots of goals. But I went to Airdrie and ended up on the subs' bench. I felt I was so much better than I was showing. I couldn't make excuses for feeling terrible, so I'd just try to train. But I knew I wouldn't be able to last 90 minutes playing because I felt so bad."
Then in December he underwent an endoscopy. A tiny telescope was used to look inside his intestine - where doctors discovered a blockage.

"I remember hearing the doctor saying, 'What's that?' during the procedure. They weren't expecting a blockage, but the camera couldn't get through.
"Even after that, they still didn't know what it was at first. I found out afterwards doctors had thought it could be cancer.

"I must admit when I heard their reaction to the blockage I feared the worst and assumed it must be cancer. I was told to stay at home for a week. But I'm optimistic and told myself no matter what was wrong I'd get through it.

"Then a few days later when they told me it was Chron's it was a relief in a way to finally know what was wrong and know it wasn't cancer. But I didn't know that much about the condition - although I knew there was no real cure. And I was warned I'd probably need an operation.

"My first question was whether I'd have a colostomy bag. Doctors said I might need one as a temporary measure - but luckily that didn't happen.
"Then doctors told me I wouldn't be able to play football again. They said it was hard to believe I'd ever be fit enough to play any football again.

"But I refused to believe them and vowed to play again. Looking back I can see why they thought I'd never play again.
But then I felt they didn't know what I was capable of doing.
"I thought nothing can be worse than what I've already been through. But I did wonder a few times whether it was all worth it to keep pushing myself to play.

"I'm also a qualified plumber and have my own plumbing business so at least I knew I had another job to do.
"My girlfriend Leanne would watch me in pain and question why I was putting myself through it just to play football.

"But I always wanted to be a footballer and I love playing. When I got the chance to play for Airdrie last summer it was a massive step because it was full-time. But then it took the shine off it because I started to feel really ill. I couldn't enjoy it as much as I should have."
David underwent an operation on December 23 to remove part of his intestine and got home on Christmas day.

He discovered his heart had momentarily stopped during the procedure. "They under-estimated how slow my heartbeat was because I was fit. I told the boys at football afterwards and they nicknamed me 'Death'."

He has to take special drinks, is free of pain and was back playing two months later for Airdrie.
David feels he's finally fit again and has signed for Ayr United. He jumped at the chance to talk to youngsters with Crohn's (chrones, chron's, chrones, crones).

He spoke at the Glasgow Science Centre at an event by the Catherine McEwan Foundation - set up by Scot Derek McEwan in memory of his late mother, who suffered from Crohn's.
The foundation's aim is to help young Scots with the condition and work with the charity the National Association for Colitis and Crohn's.
Inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's and ulcerative colitis affect about one in 400 people in the UK.

Diagnosis is usually made between the age of 10 and 40 and you have a higher chance of developing either illness if you have a close relative with the condition.
Crohn's causes inflammation of any part of the gut - the oesophagus, stomach and small and large intestine. Typical symptoms can include pain, ulcers, diarrhoea and feeling unwell.
The outlook depends on which part of the gut that's affected and the severity and frequency of symptoms. But most people will require surgery at some point.

For David the future is bright. "It doesn't hold me back at all now," he explained.
"And when I spoke to the young people it was good to hear I'd given them hope. I heard that a lot of kids think that once they've got it they can't do much - but that's really not the case. There are lots of different medications you can take to help you lead a normal life. I got this at 24 - but
I felt for the kids who were so much younger finding out they've got it.

"But gold medalist rower Steve Redgrave has got it too. He's an inspiration - I just play for Ayr United. I wanted to say to the kids with Crohn's not to give up their dreams."

1 comment:

jcnemecek said...

Good on him, for continuing to play. I don't follow professional soccer--so I'm glad you posted this, I doubt I would have seen it elsewhere.

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