Mangilao,Guam—Allen Bayot did not expect that his constant stomach pains were the symptoms of a more serious issue. At 18, during the summer after his high school graduation, he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease. It is a condition in which the body’s intestinal lining is inflamed. At a time when students are enjoying more freedom and gearing up for college, Bayot had learned he would have this disease for life.
Despite this news, Bayot stuck with his plans to continue his studies after high school.
He enrolled in classes at Guam Community College in 2014 majoring in Medical Assisting. After one year of taking classes, complications in his treatment forced him to take a break from his studies.
“I did have to stop taking classes for a year and a half because I was constantly being admitted to hospitals in the Philippines when I couldn’t handle the pain,” Bayot said. “Even when I came back, it was hard because I needed to get IV treatments on the daily. There were even times I had to go more than once per day. So I had to schedule my life around that.”
He explained that his treatment plan includes taking immunosuppressant, a maintenance drug to reduce the symptoms caused by Crohn’s disease. While the medicine can be administered in local clinics, it must be ordered from a US supplier.
Now 21, Bayot has settled into a familiar routine of receiving the medication every two months through IV, with sessions lasting up to four hours.
He has resumed taking classes at GCC and remains in stable health,—though the possibility of a flare up is always a concern. Any serious complications would require him to take another leave from his studies to seek medical help elsewhere.
“If I wanted to see a specialist I would have to keep going back to the Philippines,” Bayot said. “Which can be difficult considering I’m a student here and a majority of my life is on this island.”
Despite these concerns, Bayot remains in good spirits and continues to manage his disease. He will continue classes and is hoping to graduate with an associate of science degree in medical assisting in 2019.