Understanding Crohn's Disease
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Raj: In a lot of ways, I’m just like most kids! I love soccer...I love fencing...On guard!...and, I guess, school’s not so bad either.
So, y equals -3, right?
Teacher: You got it, Raj!
Raj: Except...I’ve got this thing called Crohn’s disease, which can get in the way sometimes.
Kid: Victory is mine!
Raj: So tired.
So, x equals--er, gotta go!
Girl 1: X equals gotta go--wait, what?!
What’s up with Raj?
Girl 2: Beats me! I thought x equaled 5.
Raj: This is so embarrassing! Why does this happen to me?
Abacus: MEDIKIDZ ALERT! MEDIKIDZ ALERT! Child in need of medical education.
Raj: Okay, let’s hope that never happens again, but because of my stupid Crohn’s thing, I know it will. I just wish i
Pump: Don’t worry, Raj, we can help with that!
Raj: Woah! The MEDIKIDZ!
Skindy: We're going to teach you everything you need to know about Crohn’s disease!
Pump: Okay, team, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get to it. Axon, get us down to Mediland.
Axon: Coordinates set, activating teleporter.
Raj: Psst, What’s Mediland?
Gastro: Oh, it’s a giant planet that’s shaped and works like your own body. You’re going to love it!
Narrator: In the stomach...
Chi: Welcome to the stomach!
Raj: Whoa, this place is crazy! But what does the stomach have to do with Crohn’s?
Gastro: Everything! See, Crohn’s disease can affect any part of your digestive system, also known as your gut.
Axon: All the food that you eat is mashed up in the stomach, then it’s ready to go to your small and large bowels.
Raj: If we don’t move, I think we’re going to be mashed up food bits...and though I’m sure I’d taste delicious, I still think we should get out of here!
Pump: This way to the small bowel.
Raj: I don’t want to be food mush!
Skindy: Oh come on, this is the fun part!
Raj: The small bowel is surprisingly roomy! What happens here?
Abacus: The main job of your small bowel is to take the nutrients from your food.
Gastro: Your body needs nutrients to work properly, and to grow.
Okay, next stop, the large bowel!
Axon: After all the good stuff is taken out, the food moves into the large bowel.
Skindy: The cells in the large bowel squeeze all the water out of the food.
Chi: Once that’s done, everything left is squished together to make poop!
Pump: The muscle walls move your poop towards your bottom.
Gut Cell: Ah, they grow up so fast! I remember when he was just a tiny bit of dehydrated food mush.
Raj: Err, does that cell know that heуs crying over poop?!
Whoa, what’s happening now?
Gastro: That’s a white blood cell. White blood cells are part of your immune system. They protect you from infections by fighting germs and other harmful invaders.
Raj: Hey! I thought the immune system were the good guys!
Gastro: Normally, yes, but in Crohn’s disease, your immune system gets confused and attacks your gut instead of the germs...and that causes inflammation in your gut which makes it sore, red, and swollen.
Skindy: The swelling can happen anywhere between the mouth and the anus, but mainly affects the small and large bowels.
White Blood Cell: Get the gut!
Gut Cell: This used to be such a nice place to live!
Chi: These attacks can lead to symptoms. One symptom is diarrhea. It happens because the gut can’t absorb water, so the water stays in your poop and makes it runny.
Gut Cell: I can’t work under these conditions! It’s like everything’s been turned upside down!
Axon: The diarrhea can cause cramps and make going to the toilet painful.
Raj: You know, I’m not surprised, seeing what’s going on in here!
Pump: You might also feel sick and not want to eat.
Things are getting pretty busy down here. Let’s retreat to the small bowel.
Narrator: Back in the small bowel...
Raj: Oh no! It’s not looking too good here either.
Gastro: When the small bowel is damaged, it can’t take in the nutrients from your food.
Abacus: This means that your body doesn’t get all the energy it needs so you feel tired and might lose weight.
White Blood Cell: Outta my way!
Skindy: Whoa there! Also, because you don’t get the nutrients you need, your body can’t grow as quickly.
This is why you may be smaller than your friends.
Raj: I take it that’s not a problem for you!
Pump: There are too many of them, we need to regroup. Axon, get us back to HQ!
Axon: Affirmative! We’re out of here!
Raj: Intense! Is that what’s happening in my body? Like, all the time?!
Gastro: Nah, it’s not like that all the time. It’s only that bad when you have a flare. A flare is when the immune system attacks the gut.
Chi: When the attack stops, it’s called remission. During remission, the body starts to heal.
Raj: Okay, I definitely do not like flares and I love remissions, though I feel like I’ve been getting a lot of flares recently.
Abacus: Flares can happen a few times or lots of times. They can be triggered by stopping your medication, by smoking, or feeling stressed.
Pump: But sometimes they happen on their own without any triggers. It’s different for everybody.
Raj: So it’s hopeless! So the flares will come and go as they please and I’ll have to keep running to the bathroom all the time!
Pump: Hey, don’t give up, Raj! We’ve got...treatments! Treatments are usually given as pills, liquids, or injections, but it’s a bit different on Mediland! Lock and load, Raj!
We’re going to split into teams and take back the bowels.
Narrator: Back in the large bowel...
Chi: Medicines can help reduce the immune system attacks so the gut is less red, sore, and swollen.
Gastro: Hey team, we’ve got them on the run here. How’s it going in the small bowel?
Raj: Things are looking a lot more chilled.
Gut Cell: Hooray!
Pump: Some medicines stop damage happening to the gut, and others reduce the number of flares.
Skindy: Because each medicine works differently, your doctor will decide which one is best for you.
Be sure to take your medicines exactly the way the doctor tells you.
Axon: There’s another form of treatment called Exclusive Enteral Nutrition...or EEN for short. EEN is a liquid that you take in place of your normal food for 6-8 weeks. While you’re taking EEN, which gives you all the nutrients your body needs, your gut has a chance to recover from flares.
Abacus: Sometimes, if the bowel is too badly damaged, surgery is the best option.
The piece of the gut that is swollen is cut out and the two healthier ends are attached together.
Narrator: A short while later...
Axon: The medicine is working! We have entered remission and the body is already beginning repairs.
Pump: Awesome job!
Raj: Glad Mediland is on the mend, but one thing I still don’t understand is why I got Crohn’s disease in the first place.
Axon: An excellent question, one super geniuses like myself are still struggling to answer! We aren’t sure why some people get Crohn’s disease.
Abacus: The only thing we know for sure is that you’re more likely to get it if someone else in your family has it too.
Raj: Sometimes I feel really down, but now that I understand what’s happening inside of me I am feeling much better.
Chi: Hey, if you ever feel worried or sad, don’t be scared to talk to your parents, doctors, or teachers. They’re all there for you!
Pump: Remember, you are not alone. Especially now that you’re...an honorary Medikid! This is a Medichron. It’s a wrist computer and has everything you learned about Crohn’s disease on it.
Raj: This is awesome!
Axon: We shall now send you back...
Skindy: ...and it will be your job to help others understand all about Crohn’s disease too.
Raj: Thanks, Medikidz!
Teacher: Raj has been gone a long time. I’m going to ask the school nurse to go check.
Boy: Maybe he got teleported away by aliens to learn some sort of life lesson!
Girl 1: That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.
Teacher: Raj! There you are. Are you okay? We were getting worried.
Raj: Yeah, I’m okay. It’s just--well, I have this thing called Crohn’s disease.
Boy: Crohn’s, what’s that?
Girl 1: My mom has that! But--err--I don’t really know what it is.
Teacher: Over to you Raj, you’re the expert!
Raj: So, Crohn’s disease affects your gut.
Pump: I’d call that mission accomplished!
Gastro: Yeah, good thing, too. I’m totally exhausted!
Abacus: MEDIKIDZ ALERT! MEDIKIDZ ALERT! I’m detecting another child in need.
Gastro: Of course there is! Oh well, as the old saying goes: no rest for the super-powered, and educationally-driven teen!
Pump: Medikidz go!