1. Do you have a primary diagnosis, if so, what is it?
A: I’ve been diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis - a type of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
2. How long did it take you to get diagnosed?
A: It took me awhile to get to a point where I saw a doctor, I thought my symptoms were just going to go away (little did I know!). It’s been about 4 years since and we finally reached a conclusion after waivering between crohns, colitis or IBS.
3. How did you feel when you were first diagnosed? (ex: relieved, upset, numb?) What was the first thing you did?
A: I remember when I was told it was Ulcerative Colitis I kind of just shut down. Like those scenes you see in movies where the person is talking but you can’t hear them and they’re just a blur. The 1st thing I did when it hit me was start googling and educating myself on what my new life was going to entail.
4. What advice would you give to someone who is chronically ill but undiagnosed?
A: Don’t do what I did and ignore symptoms! No matter how small they may seem. My boyfriend at the time said I probably just had hemmroids (LOL). You know your body, advocate for yourself til you get answers, it could save your life.
5. Has your chronic illness changed your perspective, and if so, how?
A: Oh it totally has! I have a stronger relationship with myself now. Chronic Illness forces you to turn inward and be patient and attentive to your body and state of mind. Nothing happens by mistake and you’re never given more than you can handle.
6. What moment are you most proud of in your chronic illness journey thus far?
A: The vulnerability I’ve had to show. I’ve never worn my heart on my sleeve or let people in like I do now. I’ve always been an introverted girl and now I share my struggles and love others through theirs and I love that part.
7. What was your hardest (or lowest) moment, mentally and/or physically, that you’ve been through on your journey
A: Id say I’m currently in the thick of it, I’ve been flared up for 4 months and off work that whole time. It’s been a scary and unpredictable ride. I’ve cried, not slept, not ate, spend days staring at the tv all day like a zombie and been sick multiple times with flus and infections from my immune system going wacky on me.
8. What or who has helped you the most during the lowest days?
A: My family has obviously been my rock but there’s something huge to be said for the community of people on instagram with similar battles. We could all be isolating ourselves but instead we’re taking time everyday to lift each other up and inspire & to me that’s priceless
9. If you had any words of advice for someone struggling with a similar diagnosis, what would they be?
A: Don’t let this illness become your identity, it’s only a piece of who you are! Do the things you love, let people wrap their love around you, and always remember you didn’t come this far to only come this far.
10. What would you like the world to know about life as a chronic illness patient?
A: Chronic Illness can be hard to talk about sometimes in fear of sounding like your complaining. If theirs someone close to you struggling with their health, reach out to them! Be a shoulder to cry on, a safe place to vent and just let them know you care. It goes a long way and can make all the difference for someone who feels so alone in their diagnosis
By Hailey | @Hailsjh