An Expert Patient A Personal Testimony of Chronic Illness
Eric Balez has Crohn’s disease (an inflammatory bowel disease) and has survived three bouts of cancer. Drawing on his experiences as an ‘expert patient’, he was instrumental in setting up a therapeutic training programme for patients suffering from chronic diseases.
Hélène Bloch is a biographer and historian with personal experience of chronic illness. She recounts Eric Balez’s story with skill and sympathy.
This is no ordinary illness. Eric Balez has Crohn’s disease, which evolved into recurring intestinal, kidney and rectal cancers, requiring organ removal. As a result, he must now live with a catheter and a colostomy bag.
Throughout his illnesses, he has struggled to lead as normal a life as possible: he has a job and a family. He regained hope and faith in the future when he joined an association of Crohn’s disease patients, and later became their spokesperson. He says his commitment to others gave his life new meaning.
His role as an ‘expert patient’ is one of prevention, mobilisation and information. He has successfully transformed his own experiences into a source of information, an avenue for progress for other patients.
• The moving story of one person’s struggle to live with chronic disease.
• This book shows the need for improved treatment and follow-up for Crohn’s disease patients and for assistance and educational programmes to help patients live with the disease.
• In France, an estimated 190,000 people are affected with Crohn’s disease. 20% of them are young. There are 6,000 new cases every year.