Rich, Famous, And Ill
Elvis died on the toilet. Strange, right? You'd think this would have been the concluding moment after a long bout with Crohn's disease. Then there's Bernie Madoff. Never had Crohn's disease, even if he should have, given that he was a real pain in the you know what.
Famous people who have had Crohn's disease
While I’m joking about Elvis and Madoff, in truth there is quite a long list of famous individuals who’ve developed Crohn’s disease: Dwight D. Eisenhower, Shannen Doherty, David Garrard, Mike McCready, Pete Davidson. This list spans talent in a wide range of fields, suggesting that Crohn’s disease doesn’t necessarily have to hold us back. Yes, an NFL Quarterback, a U.S. President, an SNL star, a famous actress, and the lead guitarist in a famous band make excellent company.
How do these famous people cope with the condition?
How does each of these celebrities cope with Crohn’s disease, so that it doesn’t stop them from performing at a high level? Pete Davidson likes to smoke marijuana to control his symptoms. He once told High Times Magazine: “I wouldn’t be able to do SNL if I didn’t smoke weed.” He also found that smoking marijuana increases his appetite, so he seems to make it a regular practice.
Mike McCready, the Pearl Jam lead guitarist, in contrast, talks about giving up drugs and alcohol owing to his Crohn's, since this improved his overall health. He has further mentioned paying close attention to diet to alleviate symptoms. Finally, he is involved in outreach and loves sharing his experiences with others. For example, he mentioned running to the toilet when Pearl Jam was opening for the Rolling Stones by getting Eddie Vedder to play Sometimes first, a song he wasn't really on. He apparently watched the song being performed from a porta-potty, which must have been rather surreal.
Shannen Doherty, of Beverly Hills, 90210 fame, manages to remain a sex symbol while having Crohn's disease. That, I’m sure, is not easy. Shannen once admitted: “there's nothing sexy about a woman saying, ‘I've got to go to the bathroom right now.’” This is very honest! It’s great that she was bold enough to share her story while working in the hypercompetitive entertainment industry.
David Garrard, meanwhile, has had intestinal surgery, modified his diet, and takes drugs to control his symptoms. In spite of that, he played in the NFL for 12 seasons, four of them as the starting quarterback for the Jaguars. How he did so without running to the toilet, though, seems a mystery on par with the riddle of the Sphinx.
Finding hope from other's stories with Crohn's
It's nice to return, now and then, to these types of stories. Reading accounts of famous individuals who suffered from Crohn's disease yet prevailed offers us hope. It also reminds us that we need to keep fighting. Others, too, had to adapt, had to make the best of trying situations, and, despite the long odds, found ways to prevail.
I hope each of you continues to move forward, continues to accomplish your goals, and continues to find a way to remain positive. Thanks for reading, and, as always, feel free to comment below.
Will you take our In America survey to help others understand the true impact of Crohn's and UC?