My Long Journey
At 13 years old I was an avid athlete, but it got to the point where I couldn’t run anymore. I couldn’t play with my friends. I couldn’t be out on the field with my soccer team. The pain was just incredible for a lack of better description. My doctor started me on enemas and prednisone. By the time I was a freshman in college, I was a depressed mess. My whole life I’ve been below average on the weight scale, so I was this twig of a girl with a completely circle face and I didn’t know how to handle it. I had to see numerous psychiatrists because of how much my health and home life were taking a toll on me. They say IBD is a stress induced disease. During this time my parents divorced so you can only imagine the flare ups I had. Fast forward to 16 years old. My doctor told me it was a chemo variation drug, remicade. Sitting in that room with an IV hooked in for 7 hours straight, me and my mom did nothing but cry that whole time. I did somewhere around 8 rounds of that before I started to experience side effects. These have followed me into my adulthood. I have horrible arthritis, my skin has developed an allergy to sun exposure. Overall it really ravaged my body.
I give up on that for a good year, then next on the list is Humira. I was 17 at this time and it was still a fairly new drug. There isn’t even a word to describe how insanely painful that medicine was. My 14 year old brother would have to hold me down while my mom injected me and I just screamed like someone shot me with a bullet. I just couldn’t do it. I maybe lasted a total of 4 shots. Fast forward to 18 years old. I’m in love, I’m in college, I’m happy, I even started to work out, I’m at 115 pounds and that was the highest I’ve ever been. One night I woke up dripping sweat. My abdomen felt like it had turned to concrete I couldn’t move. I tried screaming for my mom to wake her up and had to drag myself to her bedroom. She carried me to the toilet and I was vomiting profusely. Here comes the ER trip that ruined my life. We’re sitting in the waiting room, I’m vomiting into a bag and sitting in a wheelchair. All of a sudden I start screaming because all of my limbs and extremities had gone numb. They finally rush me back. I’m put into children’s intensive care unit. I’m so underweight that they couldn’t classify me as an adult even though I was 18. They tell me I’ve contracted Diverticulitis.
First week in the PICU they tried to insert a PIC line into my arm. Busted an artery in my arm and blood is gushing everywhere. My dads cursing the doctor, my doctor is sobbing. They come in to weigh me and I’m 92 pounds. An 18 year old. Fast forward to the next week. I haven’t eaten in nearly 16 days and they have to insert a feeding tube into my nose. Something irritates my body about that tube and my pancreas starts to fail and I experience pancreatitis. At this point I’m hooked up to at least 5 different bags of God knows what, then they put in epidural in my back to help the pain. Three days pass and it subsides. A pediatric GI comes in to discuss my options. Theres a new drug he wanted me to try when I got out of the ER. Another week passes and my colon is still inflamed and I’m in a diaper having to be wiped by strangers. I haven’t walked or moved in so long I couldn’t get up to go to the bathroom on my own and my hair is starting to form dreads. A surgeon comes in the room and says we’re out of options. I’m going to lose my entire large intestine and I’m going to have to have an ileostomy. I sobbed. Harder than I think I ever had. My mom did too. They send in a therapist and a priest because I was begging them to just kill me already. Well the morning of the surgery comes. I get rolled back. When I wake up 8 hours later I’m in so much pain. I look at this horrible bag attached to my body and I vomit. After a few days of physical therapy I’m able to go to the bathroom and walk on my own. I go to the bathroom and take my hospital gown off and see myself in the mirror. I look like something out of a horror movie. My face is sunken in. I can see every bone in my body. And theres a bag of feces. Just hanging there. I collapsed. A couple days later they give me a blood transfusion. Three days after that they send me home.
Here I am. A year and 5 months later. I’m still waiting to be approved for reconnection surgery, just have to put weight on. IBD completely destroyed my life. If they hadn’t taken my options away I would’ve chose to keep my large intestine. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t look down and hate what I see. But I thank God for my (now husband) because he’s been there with me for 3 years. Loves every part of me. And he’s the reason I keep going.
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