This morning, I wrote a post of encouragement for an online Crohn’s Disease support group. After reading it again, I feel like it could be relevant to anyone feeling like they can’t go on. Anyone feeling like things will never get better. Below are my words of encouragement.
I’m living proof things CAN get better. I just celebrated my 34th birthday on Monday. Had you asked the little girl who was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at 8 years old if she would be living a life she loves at that age, she probably would have told you she hopes she doesn’t live that long.
For well over a decade I struggled through medication after medication. Side effect after side effect. Hospital after hospital. So much pain and anguish. So much loneliness. So much hopelessness.
When the doctor who had been convinced for years that the terrible drugs would work, the same doctor who never took any of my concerns seriously, told me at 17 that my only option left was surgery (even though it isn’t guaranteed to fix anything), I walked out that door and never looked back. I decided that day that I would take my health into my own hands.
For the next few years, I tried all kinds of things. So many times I wanted to give up. So many times I thought I was going to have to leave college. Then gradually, I started to find things that helped a little. Things that helped my body and my mind. I started to see the correlation between the chaos in my mind and the increasing severity of the problems in my body.
Slowly, I went from being a skeleton with moon face to a healthy thriving young woman. I was able to complete my undergrad where I received a BS in animal biology. I went on to get my masters in environmental policy and management. I worked in the environmental field for several years and then decided that I didn’t claw my way out of a hospital bed to spend the rest of my life in a cubicle.
I left my life behind and went traveling in Latin America where I attended two yoga teacher trainings. I came back to the states determined that I would create a fulfilling life on my own terms.
I’ve started an incredibly fulfilling business helping others take their lives back. Even in remission, the struggles don’t end. They just aren’t the end of the world anymore.
Crohn’s disease stole my childhood but I wasn’t going to let it take the rest of my life away from me. You don’t have to let it either! Experiment. Find things that help you cope. Find things that bring you joy. Find things that give you purpose. And reach out! You’re so fortunate to have access to support groups like this today. Don’t suffer in silence. We’re all in this together. 💜
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