For most of Allison Parker’s adult life, the goals that most people take for granted were complicated by her own body.
Parker has suffered from Crohn’s disease, an autoimmune, chronic inflammatory disease of the digestive tract, since she was 12 years old. At that time, she says, “no one would listen” to her parents’ concern about the severity of her condition.“Finally, my dad just carried me into the clinic and waited for us to get a referral.” After that, says Parker, she was diagnosed with Crohn’s, which was initially kept under control with oral medication. “I was fairly stable through my teens and early twenties,” says Parker, by this time a registered nurse. “Then I had a major flare-up and the Crohn’s got very much worse.” So, Parker and her physician worked together to determine the most effective long-term treatment for her condition.
“For any patient with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, the treating physician, in conjunction with the patient, makes a very careful decision as to which therapy may be best suited for the individual,” says Dr. Cynthia Seow of the University of Calgary’s Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in the Department of Medicine.
Once the treatment has been determined, “the primary goal is to optimize that treatment,” she adds. “There should be only two reasons for stopping a therapy,” emphasizes Dr. Seow. “They are, if there is no response despite optimization of the initial agent or if the patient has a significant adverse effect [to the medication].”
In Parker’s case, there was a good medical reason for changing her treatment, as theoriginal had not been effective.
“I was on the first therapy for a year but it didn’t really help,” says Parker, who was conscious of the effects the disease was having on her body, and how that would affect her own personal goals.
In Allison Parker’s case, her plans were complicated by the fact that the disease was in an active state at the time. Therefore, it was extremely important to Dr. Seow and Parker to work together in finding a treatment effective in controlling the disease.
Life’s plans are as unique and varied as any other experience, ranging from travel to family to professional advancement. Illness complicates those dreams
Through ongoing advancement, many conditions have multiple approved therapies, each with their own set of considerations. It’s important for patients and doctors to have an open dialog about what success means for the patient, what their goals are, and what their treatment preferences may be. That way, both doctor and patient can work together to determine the most effective treatment course.
“I was on the new therapy for only four months to see an improvement,” says Parker, adding that she is extremely grateful for all the support she received from Dr. Seow through her journey in treating Crohn’s.
From here on, the news remained good. She continued to respond well to the new treatment. With her Crohn’s under control, Parker can focus on attaining her life’s goals.
This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of a research based pharmaceutical company