By Michael Donahue | Arizona Republic (Courtesy Photo by David Wallace)
In July 2015, Jonathan Udell would wake up with excruciating stomach pain every morning.
His morning routine consisted of writhing in pain before making it to the bathroom where he would try to stretch his stomach. The pain would sometimes cause him to black out.
Sitting in his bathroom, Udell would recover before getting dressed and going to his summer job at a personal injury firm to scrape through the day.
“It was grueling,” he said. “It was definitely taking a toll on my body, and my energy levels were way down. I wasn’t absorbing the nutrients from food correctly because I had so much inflammation.”
Stomach problems were nothing new for Udell. He dealt with occasional flare ups all his life. He visited doctors numerous times, only to be told the pain was most likely in his head.
Udell visited his grandparents in Fountain Hills. After a couple of days, his grandparents forced him to see another gastroenterologist. The doctor diagnosed him with Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of the person’s dietary tract, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Udell’s condition was severe because of the amount of time his disease went untreated. He talked with doctors about possible surgeries. Doctors thought the inflammation would havecaused scar tissue which would lead to more complications in the future.
Even after doctors diagnosed Udell, he had to wait for clearance to get proper medication because of the severe side effects it could cause.
The pain made Udell withdraw from law school that semester.