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|Newsletter: Forty Years on HPN|
Forty Years on HPN
At sixty-five years old, I’ve had Crohn’s disease for sixty-one years. Crohn’s disease attacks the digestive system, so at age twenty-five I needed what was then—in 1975—a new therapy to live: TPN, or “total parenteral nutrition.” *
I get all my nutritional requirements intravenously through a catheter inserted in my chest. Each night I get hooked up to a small IV pump, and I get three liters of IV solution over ten hours. I’ve done that for forty years.
The doctors never said I’d be on TPN the rest of my life. They thought it might last for six months to a year to give my intestines a rest. But here we are, forty years later! I’m not sure I would have been able to face the fact then that my world would be turned upside down forever.
But I remember a letter my grandfather, X. T. Prentis, wrote me when I was eight years old and in the hospital. He said, referring to the doctors, “Don’t let them get you down. You’ve got to keep climbing the ladder of life, one rung at a time.” And that’s what I’ve been doing for forty years.
I could not have done it without my loving supportive family and friends, and my faith. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I believe that by God’s grace, I’ve been able to keep going. I feel blessed to have such good family and friends.