Friday, 3 November 2017


CROHN'S DISEASE is a serious, potentially fatal disease that is very common in the Western World.

I was diagnosed with it in 1987/88 but thankfully have been in a good remission for a very long time.

Some of the young people who were diagnosed with it when I was are now dead!


Crohn’s Disease is a condition that causes inflammation of the digestive system or gut. Crohn’s can affect any part of the gut, though the most common area affected  is the end of the ileum (the last part of the small intestine), or the colon.
The areas of inflammation are often patchy with sections of normal gut in between. A patch of inflammation may be small, only a few centimetres, or extend quite a distance along part of the gut. As well as affecting the lining of the bowel, Crohn’s may also go deeper into the bowel wall. It’s one of the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The other is Ulcerative Colitis.
Crohn’s is a chronic condition. This means that it is ongoing and life-long, although you may have periods of good health (remission), as well as times when symptoms are more active (relapses or flare-ups).


Crohn’s is a very individual condition – the symptoms vary from person to person, and may depend on where in the gut the disease is active.
The symptoms range from mild to severe and can change over time, too. However, the most common are:
  • Abdominal pain and diarrhoea
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Feeling generally unwell or feverish
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Anaemia (a reduced level of red blood cells)
Find out more about the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease.


We think Crohn’s Disease affects at least 115,000 people in the UK and millions more worldwide.
The condition is more common in urban areas and in northern developed countries – although it’s on the increase in developing nations.
Crohn’s is also more likely to appear in white people of European descent, especially those descended from Ashkenazi Jews (who lived in Eastern Europe and Russia).
The disease can start at any age, but usually appears for the first time between 10 and 40. Surveys suggest that new cases of Crohn’s are being diagnosed more often, particularly among teenagers and children.
It’s slightly more common in women than in men, and also in smokers.


Despite a lot of research, we still don’t know exactly what causes Crohn’s Disease.
However, over the past few years major advances have been made, particularly in genetics. We now believe that Crohn’s is caused by a combination of factors;
  • the genes you are born with,
  • plus an abnormal reaction of your immune system to certain bacteria in your intestines,
  • along with an unknown trigger that could include viruses, bacteria, diet, smoking, stress or something else in the environment.
There isn’t a cure at the moment, but drug treatment and sometimes surgery can do a lot to give long periods of relief from symptoms.
Read about the research we’re funding into the causes and treatment of Crohn’s Disease


Treatments may be medical, surgical or a combination of both. If your condition is mild, not having any treatment might even be an option. Some people may also find relief from their symptoms by altering their diet or going on a special liquid diet.
But your treatment will ultimately depend on the type of Crohn’s you have and the choices you make in discussion with your doctor.
Find out what treatments are available for Crohn’s Disease


Crohn’s sometimes causes additional health problems, which may be in the gut itself or can involve other parts of the body.
Complications in the gut may include stricturesperforations and fistulas
A variety of other health conditions can be associated with Crohn’s Disease, including:
  • skin problems, such as mouth ulcers, blisters and ulcers on the skin, and painful red swellings, usually on the legs
  • inflammation of the eyes
  • thinner and weaker bones
  • liver inflammation
  • blood clots (including deep vein thrombosis)
  • anaemia (a reduced level of red blood cells)
Around one in three people with IBD experience inflammation of the joints, usually their elbows, wrists, knees and ankles.  More rarely, the joints in the spine and pelvis become inflamed – a condition called ankylosing spondylitis.  This can cause stiffness and pain of the spine.  Drugs and physiotherapy are used to treat these symptoms.


Living with a chronic condition like Crohn’s can have both an emotional and practical impact on your life.  There may be times when you have to make adjustments and take time to recuperate, for example, if you are having a flare-up.  On the other hand, when you are well you may be able to live life to the full. 
Most obviously, you are likely to see your GP and perhaps also your hospital IBD team quite regularly. It’s good to build up a good relationship with them, as that can make seeking and receiving treatment a less stressful process.  My Crohn’s and Colitis Care has more information about how to work with your IBD team to get the best out of your care.
Flare-ups can be disruptive to relationships and work – sometimes you may need to cancel engagements and take time off when you are feeling unwell.   It can be very helpful if you feel you can open up about your condition to those around you – your family, friends, work colleagues and employers.  Telling particularly family and friends at least something about your illness may make them feel reassured and more able to give you the support you need.
Diet is considered a factor in Crohn’s Disease by many people with the condition. Although there’s no clear evidence that any food directly causes or improves Crohn’s, some people have found that certain foods seem to trigger symptoms or make them worse.
Generally, the most important thing is to eat a nutritious and balanced diet to maintain your weight and strength, and to drink sufficient fluids to stop you getting dehydrated. 
Women with inactive Crohn’s usually have no more difficulty becoming pregnant than women without IBD. Also, for most women, having a baby does not make their Crohn’s worse.
If your Crohn’s is active, there is a slightly lower chance of conceiving.  Your doctor should be able to help you to control your symptoms as much as possible, so it is important that you discuss your options with them if you are thinking of having a baby.
Crohn’s Disease can start at any age, including childhood.  As many as one in three people with Crohn’s were under 21 when first diagnosed. Inflammation in the bowel can affect growth patterns and can lead to delayed puberty.  Growth may also be affected by poor nutrition and prolonged use of steroids.

I believe that there is a BIG connection between stress and CD. I developed mine within 18 months of my big row and separation with Cahal Daly and the institutional Catholic Church.
I struggled along from 1987/88 to 1991 and then had to have surgery - a bowel resection.
It looked like I was going to have to have regular surgery and eventually end up with a stoma.
To avoid that I looked around the world for an alternative and found Professor John Hermon Taylor in London. He believes that CD is caused by a small TB bug that is common in milk and water. He blasted me with very heavy TB drugs and put me into remission for nearly 30 years.  

Recently I have begun to have bother again and am back with the medics. Thankfully at present, my bother is on the medium scale.
I'm back on the research trail again and hope to blast CD out of my life again.
Nearly everyone I meet knows someone with CD. Anybody who wants more info is welcome to contact me on 0044 7488 374364 or


  1. Please God you will recover. And soon.

    1. Thank you MC. I am actually reasonably well.

      CD is a chronic condition and is really managed rather than cured.

  2. Pat sorry to hear about your ordeal with Chrone's. I think you may be onto something with the link to stress which it seems also cancer CAN be linked at times to stress. I don't think stress, nor our modern day diet helps with combating these illnesses and diseases.

    1. Head, stress is involved in so many health issues. It is a modern day scourge.

  3. Thank you for today's Blog. My 22 year old son is suffering badly from Crohns and the doctors are finding it difficult to bring under control. Do you think that your professor could help? We are desperate.

  4. Best wishes to you, Pat, as you search for a successful management of CD and a remembrance in prayer that you will have courage and patience in the process.

    Is blog monitoring a source of stress or the opposite?

    1. The Blog is no stress at all :-)

      Just to clarify - I am very well at the moment - but just keeping on top of things.

  5. Keep well Pat and Prayers and good wishes to all who suffer from ills or stress.

  6. Hoping and praying that your CD will be manageable again very soon.

    1. A very interesting blog today. I suffer from colitis.

  7. I have googled Professor John Hermon Taylor. A fascinating man.

  8. Pat, I am not surprised that all you have gone through has affected your health. A lesser man would be dead. Armagh PP.

    1. "Life breaks us all. But some get strong at the broken places".

  9. Pat, I can stand with you for once. All these illnesses, crohn's, irritalble bowel syndrome & diverticulitis are very debilitating and can cause huge anxiety as initially with weight loss, tiredness and fatigue, you imagine the worse. But thankfully with early diagnosis, complete diet change, exercise and medication, it's easier to manage. Stress, anxieties, unreasonable work expectations, vicarious trauma from the past, unresolved personal issues, poor diet - are all contributory factors. I have readjusted my approach through good therapy/counselling which has lessened the factors which trigger attacks. I wish you well in coping with so nasty a medical problem. All the best Pat.

    1. Thank you very much.

      When I was first diagnosed Prof HT helped as a medic.

      I also engaged in stress management and therapy.

      You are right.

      The approach has to be holistic.

      Good luck and blessings with your life.

  10. You are in my prayers Pat. CD is a irritating and frustrating illness.

    The great thing about catholicism is that suffering can be offered up as a selfless act of love for others.

    God bless Pat.

    1. I agree.

      It also teaches you how much you need God.

  11. Pat, my sister Ethna from Ballymena was in hospital with you in 1991 when you had your surgery. You were very kind to her and to us her family. I am sad to tell you that she died nine years ago with Crohns and other complications. Your blog today brought back a lot of memories. We are happy to know that you are doing good and will not forget your kindness to Ethna and ourselves all those years ago.

    1. I remember Ethna in the next room to me at The Royal Victoria in Belfast. I am so sorry to hear that she did not make it :-(

      I hope your hurt is healing a little - although I know it will never heal fully.

      RIP - Ethna.

  12. Pat, I do not always agree with you. But unlike so many other clergy you do not speak down to the rest of us and you share your various struggles with us openly. In my eyes that counts for a lot.

  13. Many conditions are influenced by environment. I wonder how much illness parish institutions and Bishops have contributed to over the years

    1. Buckley, you deserve to suffer all you get.

    2. Sean, explain your comment at 15.24. What's your question meant to imply? Illnesses come to us for a variety of reasons. Clear the confusion of your question.

    3. There is very likely a strong clue to the answer to your question re/Sean's meaning if you read back through the post at 11.49
      It is pretty obvious really.

    4. "Anonymous4 November 2017 at 16:13

      Buckley, you deserve to suffer all you get."

      Seriously? How can you call yourself a Catholic or Christan, or indeed a human being and wish that upon anyone?

      I dispair, sometimes.

    5. 16,24 People can make the home or workplace horrible for someone to live or work in if they choose. An easy example is bullying. Bishops or Parish Priests or Parish institutions who treat other priests or named individuals like sh*te contribute to stress levels which can have negative effects on the victim including escalating some physical or mental health conditions-hope this helps.

    6. 17.04, in your "cleverness" explain to me Sean's comment at 15.24. To suggest for a moment that Bishops and Church caused illnesses in some undefined "environments" created by them is utter and arrant nonsense. I guess they're also responsible for tsunamis, volcanoes, climate change!!!!! etc...Illnesses of all descriptions and types are with us since the beginning of time and will be with us always. On a more serious note thankfully science and medicine are advancing and finding solutions for many of our illnesses. Thankfully too psychology and neuro science are understanding more fully the interaction between the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimension of our psyche. (None of these specialist academics don't blame Bishops or the Church for modern psychosis or illnesses/diseases). So, a little clarity from Sean and 17.04. And be intelligent. Finally, a little "self care & self compassion" - in the best understanding of these attitudes - is both necessary and worthwhile. All the best Pat.

    7. Very nasty and "devillishly frightening" that 16.13 would think like this. No matter how much I disagree with many of Pat's comments and how distasteful they may be at times, I would never wish suffering or illnesses on Pat or any person. I've been through too many llnesses and much grief to never wish a suffering on another human being. Just wonder about the stability/instability of contributor at 16.13?

    8. The contributor at 16.13 is obviously a person who is holding a strong residue of anger towards Pat and unresolved anger (as we have on occasion discussed here -) is extremely longlasting and corrosive in its effects. This probably relates to something that occurred in the past but there's ńot much point in me speculating on what that was. The poster might like to elaborate further on why he/she feels such strong animosity. I think Pat deserves an explanation.

    9. The poster who couldn't understand Sezn Page's perfectly reasonable and wise comments lectures Sean and the other poster(who obviously was correctly understanding Sean's point) that they should "be intelligent"!!
      With such a display of arrogance as he shows,it hardly comes as a surprise that his reply to Sean shows him/her to be a person totally lacking in empathy towards the life experiences of others.
      Perhaps only another person who has lived through one of those abusive boss/employee situations can immediately grasp the nuances without having to have them spelt out.
      The poster at 17.04 who intervened to give "a hint" is very likely to be such a person as he/she understood perfectly.

  14. Sending my best wishes that relief and remission may once again Grace you +Pat. Im sure God has more work for you.


    1. Thank you CR. I am still DANGEROUSLY WELL :-)

    2. I wonder what motivated Pat to write about Chrohn's Disease today. Not that he shouldn't!
      I just wondered, that's all..

    3. Motivation?

      I've always written about CD when I have had newspaper columns.

      I am undergoing some treatments and tests at the moment.

      I met a 19 year old young man a few days ago with CD.

      So, it was just in my thinking.

  15. I understand. Thanks Pat. I wish you well and that you continue to manage your condition well.