My family knew something was wrong with me long before I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at the age of four. I was always sick and never felt good. I was constantly crying from the pain that I was in. This all began when I was just a baby.
After years of suffering, my doctor recommended that my parents take me to a specialist in Omaha. The doctor I was sent to took one look at me and he knew immediately that something was very wrong. He sent orders for many medical tests to be done on me; at that time I was incredibly scared. I didn’t know what was going on. I just wanted to go home. After a countless number of tests, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and at that age I had no idea what this meant. All I knew was that I did not want it and that I was scared. The doctor explained to my parents and me that I had extreme inflammation in my stomach and then started me on numerous anti-inflammatory medications and infusions. From that point on, I knew my life would be full of many struggles.
While being on the medications and receiving infusions I began to feel a little better, but in fifth grade the medications stopped working and I needed to have surgery to remove a section of my intestines. After my surgery, I began to feel healthy and was able to live my life normally, or what I thought “normal” was. I continued living life with the everyday struggle of Crohn’s.
I felt better for two years; I didn’t really have any complications. That was, until seventh grade when things started going downhill. I became extremely sick and was admitted into the hospital. Between my seventh and eighth grade year, I had several surgeries and spent a lot of my time in a hospital bed. During that time I became very close to my mom and the staff at the hospital – I now refer to them as “my second family”. Having multiple surgeries was hard to recover from and I live with the difficulties from those surgeries today.
I now know there is always a bright side to everything. Being in the hospital was horrible for me, but because of it I am able to participate in dance classes and cheerleading. Between dance, cheerleading, work, and school I am extremely busy these days. It is a struggle for me to not wear myself out. It is important that I’m not worn out, because that is usually when my disease starts to flare up.
Having Crohn’s disease has been a huge trial in my life, but it has also been a blessing. Even though I have been through some extremely difficult times, I know that I can now get through anything. My family and friends have been a great support in my life. Without them, I don’t know what I would do. Living with a disease is a day-to-day struggle. With the support of those around you it is possible to get through everything. Even though I have an IBD, I know I can do just as much as any other teenage girl. I may have Crohn’s, but it doesn’t have me!
I am now involved with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. I participate in the Take Steps walks year after year, and I have attended Camp Oasis.