I would email this to someone but I don’t know how to do it so I’m posting it here instead. I’ve encountered a few people impacted by crohn’s disease, which is a hard-to-diagnose, hard-to-treat digestive condition. Whenever I do, I share with them the amazing story of Larry Nance, Jr., who plays basketball for the LA Lakers.
Watch Larry Nance Jr. amble around the basketball court and it looks as if success was preordained.
The Wyoming senior not only possesses strong bloodlines but also shares the name of his father, Larry Nance Sr., the former 13-year-NBA veteran who dazzled fans with almost freakish athletic ability. The 6-foot-8 Nance Jr. displays that attribute as well as a striking number of his dad’s on-court mannerisms.
But what few outside this high-elevation campus know is that the preseason Mountain West Conference player of the year can compete at the college level only because of a medical diagnosis during his sophomore year of high school that changed his life.
Few know that every seven weeks he receives an infusion of the medication Remicade for two hours to enable him to have the energy to play basketball. Barring dramatic medical advancements, he will receive these infusions for the rest of his life to treat Crohn’s Disease, a serious and chronic inflammation of the digestive tract that can cause abdominal pain, cramping, among more serious digestive issues.
Nance Jr. couldn’t help but wonder why he seemed to be the only person in his family who wouldn’t grow. His sister was 6-5, his mom 6-2 and his dad 6-10. Nance Jr. recalls his driver’s license listing him as 6-feet and 130 pounds.
On and off the court, Nance Jr. felt increasingly lethargic. He couldn’t gain any weight. And his stomach continued to gnaw at him. The pain had grown progressively worse since the seventh grade. At times, it hurt to eat.
After the first infusion of Remicade, Nance Jr. started growing, and kept growing. He remembers growing nearly an inch in the first two weeks. What’s more, 50 percent of the ulcers were gone in the first week.
“He was a new person with the infusion,” Jaynee Nance said. “An amazing turnaround.”
Nance Jr. said he gained 12 pounds during the first two weeks. During the next 14 months, he grew seven inches.
“It was a miracle for me,” Nance Jr. said. “It completely flipped the script on everything.”
The growth spurt yielded the “worst pain ever,” Nance Jr. said. It felt like constant migraines in his knees, constant aching and throbbing. He didn’t grow proportionally, and he felt awkward his entire junior year and some of his senior year. He was 75 percent arms and legs.