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Posted on November 22 2013
at the time of my diagnosis, there wasnt much information that told me what to expect, what i was in for & that it would take me almost 2 years to meet someone (my age) with the exact disease i had. if there was one thing that i wished all of the google searches id done then would have told me, it would be “expect the unexpected”.
2 hours away from home, i began college. at this time i was taking around 25 pills a day, in addition to an IV infusion called Remicade i received at the hospital about every 4 weeks. this was the first time i was away from my GI, my family and my main support group. so, i began to seek resources & online support groups in college for advice how to get through college. i was lucky enough to become connected with the CCFA (Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America) & develop lifelong friendships with many.
i cant look back and honestly tell you college was the greatest experience of my life, but being able to deal with 2 terrifying diseases on my own was one of the greatest gifts i could have given myself. before i moved away to college, i made the promise myself i would make it all 4 years & not give up no matter how sick i got. ive been independent my whole life & was determined that my disease would not take that away from me. despite the fact mom & dad were not so supportive of the idea of me doing this 2 hours away, they certainly were supportive of my dreams. in 2010, i graduated, with honors, after deciding to enroll in a 5 year program in order to get the two degrees i wanted.
fast forward a few years & here i am today. still advocating, still hoping, still doing absolutely all i can to raise awareness for autoimmune diseases, in hopes that someday i’ll be able to say “i used to have crohn’s.”
a few years ago, i began using an app called Charity Miles that donates money to certain foundations tracking each mile you walk, run or bike. for me, it’s my way of giving back to a charity (CCFA – Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America) that has done so much for me as an individual & has built my confidence in coming to terms with my disease. there have been many amazing milestones on my journey with IBD, but i can honestly say the best part has been being able to bring to light some of the most challenging things we go through that shouldn’t be so hard to talk about in public. #purpleproject – training for a half-marathon, something many with Crohn’s or Colitis never dream of doing. my disease is exercise-induced, so the way i have been/will need to train my body will probably be one of the most difficult, rewarding things i have ever done in my entire life. the best thing is, im raising money along my journey to find a cure! i invite you to follow my journey not only fighting this disease on behalf of myself & my IBD family, but celebrating the milestones on our way to finding a cure!