The need for more options: Lynn James' story

Lynn James
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is conducting a nationwide education campaign underscoring that treatments for Crohn’s and colitis are not one-size-fits-all, and that Canadians living with the chronic diseases need more options. Lynn James resides in London, Ontario and has lived with ulcerative colitis for over 20 years. This is her perspective.
I’ve never been one to complain about life with colitis. My last specialist used to tell me that he couldn’t tell if I was sick because there was always a smile on my face. But I can attest that life with colitis can be a rollercoaster ride.

There is no cure for colitis and it can be a long process to find a treatment that works. What works for one, might not work for another, and patients can plateau on an effective drug after a period of time. As people with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease know, specialists are always striving to find the right medication/treatment for their patients. This can be frustrating, especially when it feels like there are no more options. 

Since being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in my 30s I’ve benefited from a number of drugs. Some have been around for a while and others were in the experimental phase. I’ve been on 5 different therapies in 20 years, and while there have been some significant bumps in the road, my health has improved greatly. I have always believed in the potential of new treatments, which is why I joined a clinical trial in 2009. I was initially skeptical but quickly realized that the benefits far outweighed the unknowns. While in the trial, I began to feel better, learn more about the disease and had excellent health care. The trial drug was eventually approved by Health Canada.

My advice to others living with colitis is to take every day in stride. It’s easy to become frustrated if you plateau on a treatment that has been working, but my experience shows how a new treatment option can change everything. To the research community, your innovative and effective treatments have kept me and others healthy and active. Thank you and let’s keep it up!

  • Canada has among the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and colitis in the world.
  • 1 in 140 Canadians lives with Crohn’s or colitis.
  • Families new to Canada are developing these diseases for the first time.
  • Incidence of Crohn’s in Canadian kids under 10 has doubled since 1995.
  • People are most commonly diagnosed before age 30.

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