Voices of Crohn’s Disease

Around the world with Crohn’s

Crohn hit Erron Maxey suddenly in 2009, roughly halfway through his 18-year career playing professional basketball abroad. An episode of food poisoning in Argentina seemed to trigger it.

“The whole team actually got food poisoning,” says Maxey, who has also played in Australia, Finland, China and other countries. But only her symptoms seemed to persist and worsen.

Later that year, Maxey had his first surgery in Uruguay to repair infected wounds in his intestines and to remove fistulas – tunnel-like passages that redirect waste to the wrong places.

But it took 5 more years and several more surgeries before doctors officially diagnosed Maxey with Crohn’s disease.

It was a difficult time for Maxey. “I would have an upset stomach, chronic diarrhea, constant pain.”

“There were days when my energy level was really low, and, you know, I would just say to my coaching team, ‘Hey, you know what? I ate something bad. I just don’t have it today. ‘”

For a traveler from all over the world, getting the right treatment hasn’t always been easy. It was often difficult to get his meds on the road.

Even when Maxey managed to get him to ship the drugs, a complex web of laws and regulations in other countries sometimes prevented him from taking delivery. Once, a customs officer destroyed $ 4,500 worth of medicine right in front of him.

After so many years with Crohn’s disease and numerous surgeries, including a major at Emory University in Atlanta in 2018, Maxey says he’s learned to be very clear with loved ones about his needs.

“As graphic and vulgar as it sounds, you have to go through it so that your loved ones will know how to take care of you. You can’t coat it with sugar. Otherwise, you are going to have serious problems when you need help. “

But it’s also important, he says, to reassure those who care about you the most.

“I mean, you’re really nervous because you know this stuff can get you out,” Maxey said. “But at the same time, hey, you know what?” We will go through this. We will find out. You know, it’s not my first rodeo.

For now, Maxey is waiting in limbo in Atlanta for the pandemic to pass. He hopes to play professional basketball for at least 2 more years.

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Jothi Venkat

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