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Camp, A Crohnies Home

For twenty-seven years, I have been going to my happy place. My happy place is camp. Camp is the place where I spend all of my summers. I started as a camper, then became a junior counselor. Presently, I am a head counselor for the oldest bunk in camp. I go to camp for thirty-nine days a year. For these thirty-nine days, I have no stress, I have no fears. My camp family has accepted me for who I am, and what I have. I sure didn’t get here alone.

Always running to the bathroom

When I was diagnosed in the fall of 2006, I figured that by the time camp started in June of the next year, I would be healed. That was not the case, and I picked up Listeria a few weeks into camp. I missed half of the summer, but I returned to try to salvage what I had left. I’ll admit it was tough. The owners allowed me to come back but took my head counselor position away from me. That was understandable as I was always running to the bathroom. I’ll admit to saying that summer was very hard to manage. I vividly remember running across camp to the bathroom. Sometimes I made it, and most of the time I did not. It was embarrassing, but nobody made fun of me. They all understood that I was dealing with a new disease. They all supported me.

I could not return in the summer of 2008. I was way too sick and was in and out of the hospital. I remember going back with my father to visit. It was the second to last day of camp. I was a measly 82 pounds and had TPN still hooked up to me. I couldn’t even walk around the camp. It was so surprising. That day stuck with me because it took me a few years to get back to the summer’s I love.

People at camp understand what I am dealing with

Let’s fast forward to the present day. Many people at my camp have Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis. A few of them even see the same doctor as me. It is great to check in with them daily. It is also great to talk to them about how they are feeling and what worries they have. I love taking my shirt off at camp. I don’t feel ashamed. My scar is a battle wound. It tells about the courage and the fight I had to beat with what Crohn’s had thrown my way.

Counselors at camp help me out as well. They know that I use the bathroom a lot so they step in when I need a minute. They watch my bunk when I go to the bathroom and always make sure I am well hydrated. I even make it a little joke. My friends at camp call the bathroom my “second home.” They do have a point! We laugh and smile because they know what I went through. They, along with the owners, are happy I am back at camp. The owners don’t even bother me if I am away from my bunk. They know I’m dealing with a condition and they are just happy I am enjoying my summer.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.