The Chronicles of a Chronic Fighter - Battling Crohn's Disease As An Endurance Athlete

We are often told stories by our consumers that inspire us, and Ian Barnes is no exception. Ian has battled Crohn's disease for over a decade, suffering what should be debilitating set-backs. But Barnes is a fighter and refuses to let this disease slow him down. In fact, Barnes uses GLUKOS to fuel his athletic pursuits - the only sports nutrition product that does not make him sick. We are sharing Ian's story over the next few months, leading up to Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Week in December. 

By Ian Barnes

Diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal cramps, fever, weight loss, fatigue, night sweats, weakened bone density, inflammation of the eyes, skin, and joints etc. Embarrassing and debilitating symptoms that are hard to speak of and even harder to live with especially for any aspiring athlete. Competing in events where every inch counts, every step matters and being at a disadvantage before the whistle blows adds a mental and emotional burden that is just as difficult as the physical barriers associated with this condition to overcome.

Further complicating matters is that it is a disease of unknown origin with no exact cause that affects each patient differently with no cure and common treatment. A disease where the immune system constantly attacks itself causing the GI tract to become inflamed impeding the body’s ability to absorb water and process nutrients. A disease which requires 75% of people diagnosed to undergo surgery and that causes a 50% increase in the likelihood of being diagnosed with colon cancer.

I write today as a survivor as an educator as an athlete, and most of all, as an advocate. I am one of the approximately 700,000 people in the United States and millions worldwide living with Crohn’s disease, a rare autoimmune inflammatory bowel disease that can affect any part of the GI tract. Diagnosed at the age of ten my life was forever altered by this medical condition. Near bouts with death, days filled with anxiety and depression, this disease consumed my life even almost my sight as I was later diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease of the cornea called keratoconus that is increasingly becoming correlated to Crohn’s disease ending my collegiate athletic career.

But where one dream ends another arises. A new vision, a new goal, and a new perception on life. An eye surgery done by Dr. Brian Boxer Wachler called Holcomb C3­R saved and restored some of my sight while changing my outlook on life from the then nationally publicized bodybuilder to an advocate and a triathlete.

Endurance events alone are a formidable and wearisome endeavor for any human, but is all the more complicated for one with my condition in which a flare can trigger at any moment. Right now though I write as a Crohnie with permanent nerve damage, weakened joints, and a fistula, I am an individual who has a will that cannot be broken. A will fortified by the physical torment and emotional insecurities which accompany this invisible illness to push my body beyond its perceived limits now fueled by an innovative product that agrees with my immune system in GLUKOS