1. Do you have a primary diagnosis, if so, what is it?
Crohn's disease, which is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. Inflammation caused by Crohn's disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people
2. How long did it take you to get diagnosed?
I was in preschool when symptoms started, but 14 when I was finally diagnosed.
3. How did you feel when you were first diagnosed? (ex: relieved, upset, numb?) What was the first thing you did?
I would have to say I was pretty numb, but relieved it wasn't all in my head. I slept a lot and felt like it was a death sentence being there is no cure.
4. What advice would you give to someone who is chronically ill but undiagnosed?
If you know something is wrong, keep fighting. Get a second, third, fourth opinion if need be. Never give up. You are your only advocate and you have a voice, so use it.
5. Has your chronic illness changed your perspective, and if so, how?
It has definitely changed how I see life. Life is so short and you have to make the best of what you are dealt with. Gratitude is huge. This disease takes so much, but it will never take away my will to survive and thrive as best as I can.
6. What moment are you most proud of in your chronic illness journey thus far?
Being asked to be the Honorary chair for the 2018 Gutsy Walk in my home town and being able to fill such an amazing roll in raising awareness for Crohns and Colitis and fundraise for a cure one day.
7. What was your hardest (or lowest) moment, mentally and/or physically, that you’ve been through on your journey
Mentally, my lowest moment was last fall, when I lost my main supporter on my crohns journey. . . my mom. Physically the lowest moment was at 26 years old. I had surgery, losing all of my large intestine, part of my small intestine and leaving me with a permanent ileostomy. I struggled hard to recover, physically losing 30 pounds within three weeks, blood clots and infection were brutal and much more that would take a page or two to elaborate on.
8. What or who has helped you the most during the lowest days?
My one main supporter was my Mom. She was always there for me through everything. She took care of me and my kids for 2 months after my surgery. Nursing me back to life.
9. If you had any words of advice for someone struggling with a similar diagnosis, what would they be?
Find someone to talk to. Having an outlet and support is everything and be patient with yourself. You will have good days and bad days. Stay positive, keep your head up and keep fighting because we are warriors.
10. What would you like the world to know about life as a chronic illness patient?
Our lives may be different than most, but being chronically ill doesn't define us. We need patience and acceptance. That's all we truly want.
By Vanessa | @ostomyfunfitlife