Jewish Health

Harvey - Interview 9

Male
Age at interview: 63
Age at diagnosis: 56

Brief outline: Harvey was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease aged 17 and had three resections on his intestine. At 56 he was diagnosed with bowel cancer and had the lower part of his bowel removed in a major operation. Harvey would like more support to manage his condition.

Background: Harvey is a retired primary school teacher (and continues to do some supply work). He is married and has had two children. Ethnic background/nationality: British Jewish

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Harvey, a primary school teacher, and his wife, also a teacher, live in the West country. Harvey describes a childhood suffering from stomach pains and was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at the age of 17. In his thirties he had a gall bladder operation followed by a series of resections on his intestine. For several years after each resection he felt very well. In 2001, after Crohn’s had ‘reared its ugly head’ again, Harvey had a radioactive breath test followed by a six week course of different antibiotics. A few months after this treatment, Harvey experienced anal bleeding and was diagnosed with bowel cancer. His lower bowel was removed in a major operation and he now has a colostomy bag. It took Harvey a year to recover from the operation and while he has grown accustomed to living with a stoma, he does not like it. The Crohn’s remained after the operation and Harvey now takes Budesonide, a steroid, and has regular B12 injections. Since his operation, Harvey has had a few acute intestinal blockages and has needed hospital treatment.
 
Harvey talks about the indignities involved with having Crohn’s; always needing a toilet nearby, invasive tests like barium enemas, sigmoidoscopes and colonoscopies, the smells and leakages. Having a colostomy has lessened the impact of some of these indignities. For example, he is now able to travel abroad more easily as the bag has reduced the need for always being near toilet facilities. There have been other side effects to the operation that Harvey would like more support to manage. He says he now watches what he eats and enjoys what he can, while he can with his wife who has been very supportive. 

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