I’ve been living with Crohn’s disease for the past five years, and as much as it’s defined my life in many ways, it’s also made me who I am.
My journey with Crohn’s started out as a whole lot of mystery. For months, I had trouble going to the bathroom, stomach cramps and nausea, but nothing that had an easily explainable cause. Finally, a few tests later, the diagnosis became apparent: Crohn’s disease.
It was the first time I had ever heard of the disease, and I was scared and uncertain of what it meant for the future. I quickly learned that Crohn’s is an unpredictable autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive system, and can cause inflammation and ulcers in the intestine.
I had to learn to manage my disease and the associated symptoms, and that was a massive challenge. For a long time I struggled to find the balance between controlling my pain and allowing myself to enjoy life. I felt constantly exhausted, in both my body and mind, as I worked to manage the unpredictable flares.
But through it all, I was able to find a sense of inner strength. I had to learn to advocate for myself and to be able to communicate my needs to others, even when it was hard to find the right words. I was able to find the courage to face my disease head-on and make the necessary lifestyle changes in order to take back some control.
I’m now an advocate for greater awareness of Crohn’s disease, and I’ve had the opportunity to connect with so many other people going through similar struggles. Our shared experiences have been one of my greatest sources of strength, as we support each other in our journeys.
Living with Crohn’s has been a roller coaster of emotions, and I’ve had to learn to accept my limitations and still lead a full life. It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve come out of this experience with a new understanding of myself and the world around me.
This is my story—my Crohn’s tale.