Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 12th 2015 Contents RHONDOR DOWLAT
Princes Town resident Kelly-Ann Bahadur
was just 19 years of age, writing her final
exams in Petroleum Engineering Bsc at the
University of T&T (UTT), when her life trag-
ically turned around for the worst with a
near death experience.
With her health quickly deteriorating and
having visited more than ten doctors desper-
ately seeking medical help and a possible cure
for her sudden ailment, Bahadur began losing
hope and instead began making plans for a
simple funeral she would want for herself.
Bahadur had contracted food poisoning as
she was experiencing severe abdominal pains
and diarrhoea---or so she thought. The symp-
toms worsened over a few days into weeks,
which turned into months. What she even-
tually realised was that she had contracted
Crohn s Disease (CD), which is an Inflamma-
tory Bowel Disease (IDB).
Her mother, Lenore Bahadur, said her emo-
tions became uncontrollable when reality
"At first I was in denial. I thought it would
go away after a while, after we did everything
the doctor said to do, not knowing that this
was something we would have to live with
and manage for the rest of our lives," Lenore
told the Sunday Guardian.
"Kelly-Ann and I would cry every day. She
even reached to the point where she gave up
April 12, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Bahadur said her organisation was the first
in T&T and the Caribbean to offer education
and a support group for CD and UC patients.
She explained: "Because the disease is not
well researched and known in T&T we don t
have statistics, but in the US and other devel-
oped countries statistics show that one in
100,000 people are diagnosed with the disease
and it the cause is not known.
"Having the disease is not a death sentence
because it is not a terminal illness, but people
need to be more educated about it. There are
many out there who don t even know that
their family members may have Crohn s and
that s what NACCTT is all about. It also helps
bring support to the patients, both emotionally
and mentally, because we are there to share
our experiences and help bring that hope of
life to each other."
Anyone wishing to get more information
on Crohn s and Colitis can visit www.crohn-
sandcolitistt.com or call 482-0736.
Ulcerative Colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
A form of colitis, UC is a disease of the colon (large intestine), that
is characterised by ulcers, or open sores. The main symptom of
active disease is usually constant diarrhoea mixed with blood, of
UC is an intermittent disease, with periods of exacerbated
symptoms, and periods that are relatively symptom-free. Although
the symptoms of UC can sometimes diminish on their own, the
disease usually requires treatment to go into remission.
UC has no known cause but there is a presumed genetic
component to susceptibility. The disease may be triggered in a
susceptible person by environmental factors. Although dietary
modification may reduce the discomfort of a person with the
disease, UC is not thought to be caused by dietary factors.
UC is treated as an autoimmune disease. Treatment is with anti-
inflammatory drugs, immunosuppression and biological therapy
targeting specific components of the immune response.
Colectomy (partial or total removal of the large bowel through
surgery) is occasionally necessary if the disease is severe, doesn't
respond to treatment, or if significant complications develop. A
total proctocolectomy (removal of the entirety of the large bowel)
can be curative, but it may be associated with complications.
SYMPTOMS OF IBD
Inflammatory Bowel Disease symptoms:
Abdominal cramps and pain, bloody diarrhoea, severe urgency to
have a bowel movement, fever, loss of appetite, weight loss,
anemia or low blood count
Crohn's disease (CD) is one of the two
most common forms of IBD (the other
being Ulcerative Colitis (UC)) and is
named after the doctor who first
diagnosed it in 1932.
The main difference between Crohn's
disease and UC is the location and nature
of the inflammatory changes. The
inflammation from CD can strike
anywhere in the gastrointestinal (GI)
tract, from mouth to anus, although a
majority of the cases start in the
UC, in contrast, is restricted to the
colon and the rectum. The inflammation
in Crohn's disease can extend into the
muscle wall, whereas UC inflammation
occurs only in the surface of the colonic
In CD there are patches of
inflammation scattered between healthy
portions of the gut, and this can
penetrate the intestinal layers from inner
to outer lining. Since CD can be located
anywhere in the GI tract, symptoms can
vary. On the whole, however, they often
include abdominal pain, cramping,
diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and not
surprisingly, weight loss and lack of
energy. There may also be extra-
intestinal manifestations (such as liver
problems, arthritis, skin manifestations
and eye problems) in different
and began talking about her funeral and that
she wanted to be buried in a simple white
"She also told me that she did not want
me to cry too much for her at her funeral. It
was at that point I fell on my knees and cried
out to God and I told the Lord that if He has
to take her go ahead and do it."
But Bahadur, re-gaining her strength emo-
tionally and mentally, began to do extensive
and vigorous research on CD, given the fact
that the disease is not well-known and
researched in T&T.
Under the guidance and medical support
of her consultant gastroenterologist, Dr Rene
Ramnarace (MBBS, MRCP), who was respon-
sible for diagnosing her illness, Bahadur decided
to face it head on, holding on to life.
"It was a terrible time for me. I thought
my symptoms were because of food poisoning,
then I thought it was because I was under
stress from studying for my finals in Petroleum
Engineering, but I knew it was something
more when I began going to the washroom at
least 20 times a day.
"I eventually had to withdraw from my
studies at UTT. I became very depressed and
ashamed," Bahadur said.
New entity born
After three years of battling the disease and
receiving extensive medical treatment, Bahadur
was able to get a grip on life and overcome
what many see as the shame of having the
Bahadur is currently pursuing a Bachelor s
in Social Work at the College of Science, Tech-
nology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Toba-
Six years later, at the age of 25, Bahadur,
decided to become that beacon of light to oth-
ers who were either diagnosed with CD and
Ulcerative Colitis (UC) or those who were
experiencing symptoms of the disease and
were not yet diagnosed.
She founded the National Association of
Crohn s and Colitis of T&T (NACCTT), which
is a non-profit organisation registered under
the Ministry of Legal Affairs.
According to Bahadur, the NACCTT is
designed to establish greater awareness about
IBD, CD and UC in T&T. She is assisted by
Dr Maria Bartholomew (MBBS, FRCP), who
is a consultant gastroenterologist who worked
many years in the public healthcare sector in
T&T and now operates a private clinic, The
Practice, in Port-of-Spain.
Kelly-Ann Bahadur chats with some residents during a Health Outreach Programme at the
Endeavour Hindu School.
Woman battles Crohn's Disease head on
Hope of a
Lenore Bahadur, left, and her daughter Kelly-Ann, founder and
president of the National Association Crohn's & Colitis.
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