Playing high school sports and spending time with his friends were Travis McClain’s favorite pastimes. However, his allergies to dairy products and other digestive problems rarely allowed him to spend much time with his friends, in fear that he would have a GI attack.
His food allergies and digestive problems, coupled with anxiety about being sick in public, finally took its toll on Travis shortly after he finished high school.
At age 19, while away at college, he became very ill.
Not knowing what was wrong, he went to the nearest doctor in Latrobe, Pa., where he learned that he had Crohn’s disease, which was progressing and getting worse.
His inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) soon led to fistula, an abnormal connection within the gastrointestinal or digestive tract.
While his symptoms soon appeared to be under control, Travis’ mother found him passed out at home on the bathroom floor one day and rushed him to the emergency room.
During his five-day stay in the hospital, Travis underwent many tests, leading to a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease, a disorder that causes inflammation of the digestive tract.
“My family and I went on a search for the best IBD department in the area, and everyone that I talked to said UPMC was the best place to go,” Travis said.
Travis came to UPMC with hopes of continuing a normal, active life.
“When I was first diagnosed, I was unable to maintain weight. I was tired and physically ill much of the time. I was in a great deal of pain.”
Over the past two years, Travis has continued to fight his Crohn’s disease with the support of his UPMC IBD physician and other UPMC doctors.
“I am also to the point where actually I have to diet to lose weight!”
Finally, during Travis’ last colonoscopy, he received the best news from his doctor: his Crohn’s was in remission.
This is what he had been waiting to hear for years.
“I don't have to be afraid to try new things, including food and activities, all the while worrying about getting sick. I am able to enjoy my life more.”
For Travis, feeling better is important. His wife and 2-year old child think so too.
“My nurses and doctor are like family to me. They have seen me at my worst and brought me to the healthiest that I have ever been in my life.”
Travis' treatment and results may not be representative of all similar cases.