PEARL JAM Guitarist Opens Up About Battle With Disease

According to The Pulse Of Radio, PEARL JAM guitarist Mike McCready opened up in an interview with Fox News about his 25-year struggle with Crohn’s disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes periodic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and symptoms such as severe abdominal pain or sudden diarrhea. McCready revealed “[It first started] when I was 21 years old. At first I thought it was food poisoning, but then there was a bunch of blood and mucus — and it kept happening for months.”

McCready didn’t know that he had Crohn’s for some time, although he knew something was wrong that caused him pain and embarrassment. He explained, “There’s a level of anxiety and depression with that, along with shame, anger and fear. Sometimes you might [just go], and you can’t do anything about it, because it’s completely painful, and you have to go in two to three seconds . . . it can be quite damaging in terms of going out in public or going on a date.”

McCready admitted that he’s had “big accidents” onstage with PEARL JAM in the past due to the disease. But he also credits his bandmates with helping through his struggles with Crohn’s as well as drug addiction: “The band has stuck by me in those situations a hundred times. Stone [Gossard, guitarist] specifically has definitely kind of got me…I’m glad that I’m still in the band, I’m glad that I’m still alive in all these kind of situations, and Stone has been integral in keeping me in this thing, and as I think everybody else has been that way too, so I feel very positive to be in it. It is a close, cohesive unit when it comes to that.”

McCready helped score a victory for Crohn’s sufferers in 2009, when thanks to efforts by him and others, Washington state governor Chris Gregoir signed a bill into law mandating that businesses without public lavatories have to let people with inflammatory bowel ailments use their employee restrooms in an emergency.

The guitarist lobbied state legislators for passage of the bill, saying that many business owners were not sensitive to the plight of people with Crohn’s or similar diseases and refused them access to private bathrooms.

McCready also regularly raises money and performs benefits for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.