Health Check: Inflammatory Bowel Disease
“It’s embarrassing,” said Karen Purvis of Franklin, who is speaking out in hopes of raising awareness and understanding.
”I go to the soccer field and no one knows what type of day I just had," she said of ulcerative colitis, an IBD she’s been living with for almost 10 years. "I was diagnosed after the birth of my daughter in 2009."
The wife and mother of two said the symptoms came out of nowhere.
"The symptoms were urgency and pain along with the typical GI symptoms that go along with ulcerative colitis,” Purvis said.
Persistent diarrhea is also a symptom.
"The mornings are really hard, so I would say when you wake up expect that I would have to go about 14 times a day before 9 a.m.,” said Purvis.
"You have to plan everything in advance, so going on a field trip or going to a concert I basically had to starve myself for 24 hours before. I eat small portion meals, not full-size meals.”
Purvis is now on a new class of medication -- a biologic -- that, so far, she said is making a difference.
"It's been pretty amazing,” she said.
But, for how long? And then there are her children.
"Biggest fear is passing this disease on to them. My son came home from school with a stomach ache and he thought that he had IBD,” Purvis said.
That’s why she is speaking out and is getting others involved, too.
"So, I worked with Governor (Charlie) Baker and we worked on a proclamation for IBD awareness week. It's December 1st through the 7th,” she said.