Following a colonoscopy on the morning of December 22, 2015, I awoke from an anesthetic-induced haze to hear my mother relaying the news that I had spent every night for 15 years praying I would hear someday: “You are in remission, and there are zero signs of Crohn's Disease present in your body”. Because this chronic illness has taken up residency in my digestive tract for over a decade, I have become pretty well-versed on the facts. Although doctors and loved ones urge you to ‘be positive’, the facts still remain: 'remission' can last anywhere from a few days to a few years.
Because this is my first 'remission' after four colon re-sections, two Cesareans, a total hysterectomy, five blood transfusions, two fistula drains, and a current ostomy bag device (all at the age of 36), I am milking this 'remission' for all it's worth. And so, since the summer of 2015, I have been serving as a Patient Advocate for Takeda Pharmaceuticals (the pharm company who creates my Crohn's treatmens), an advocate for the CCFA’s IBD Day on Capitol Hill, and devote each day to bringing awareness to the diseases that currently impacts 1.6 million Americans. Recently, I served on the Planning Committee for Take Steps New Orleans which took place in April 2017. I am proud to say I was the #2 personal fundraiser and the #2 Freshman Team!
Crohn’s Disease encompasses a huge part of who I am. It has changed everything about my life. Yes, I am in 'remission'. No, I am still not fully in control of this body I am trapped in. But I am learning to heal myself in a way that emancipates me and, hopefully, heals others. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would have success stories larger than being able to say I went a month without a flare-up. I have had an ostomy surgery almost 3 yrs ago, and it has taken almost that time to accept and love my body again. I now daily post on social media something to bring awareness to CD and/or UC and ostomy. Is there any outlets or CCFA social media pages that I could post the below photos on that I recently had a professional photographer take as a milestone in my overcoming my self-inflicted body shaming and criticism? I want ALL ostomy patients to feel this way and to quit hiding behind baggy clothing or the closed front doors of their homes.