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The Dancing Crohnie

The year was 2011, when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. I was 21 years old and had just graduated from college with a Bachelor in Fine Arts in Modern Dance and a minor in English. My dream was to dance classically in New York City and live a life full of art, travel, and dreams-fulfilled.

Growing up I was a robust, healthy kid. As the only girl in my family, I was used to scraping my knees, throwing baseballs, canon-balling into pools, playing tag, climbing trees, the works. I was active all the time, and I never spent a day in a hospital. So, you can imagine that when I started to feel the symptoms of Crohn’s, I really didn’t know how to process it.

First it was diarrhea here and there which I just contributed to something I ate. Then slight abdominal cramping and nausea. But with time, these symptoms progressed in severity and frequency. Before I knew it, I was eliminating blood when I went to the bathroom, and that’s when I knew something was wrong. I was also exhausted, my ankles were swollen, I was losing weight and feeling sick all over. That’s when I told my mother and we made an appointment with the gastroenterologist.

Immediately, he prescribed a colonoscopy, which in hindsight I am so thankful for because it made for a laser quick diagnosis. After the procedure, he broke the news to me in his office that I had Crohn’s disease. I had severe inflammation, and ulcerations in my Ilium, colon, and rectum.

I remember being blind sighted by his words. I had absolutely no idea what Crohn’s Disease was, and the word scared me to death. My life definitely changed that day, but I was determined to continue with my dance career and head to New York City.

Despite my frail condition, I made the big move and snagged a performance contract dancing with the Metropolitan Opera. I lasted 4 seasons, until I had to quit due to my health. Those four years were challenging. I was hopping around from different biologics, and in and out of the hospital. I was suffering more and more as the years progressed, as I felt nothing was working and I barely saw any improvement in my symptoms.

It wasn’t until I quit my job, and focused on healing that I finally saw the light. I went on an immense journey towards healing and read books, did my research, changed my diet, incorporated essential oils, tried EMF technology, began natural supplements and truly changed my lifestyle.

Seven years of dealing with Crohn’s has given me an abundance of experience dealing with the physical and mental symptoms of this disease. I have been on Remicade, Entyvio, Humira and Stelara. I’ve been hospitalized just under 10 times with two weeks straight being my longest stay and 4 days being my shortest. At my worst flare I weighed 84 pounds (I am 5’6) was pumped with steroids (as usual) and was surviving the excruciating abdominal pain through the use of Dilaudid via IV.

So, in turn, after all I’ve been through, I decided to start a blog www.thedancingcrohnie.com to share tips, encouragement and information for those suffering with IBD. The diagnosis I was given was bad, but I decided to turn it into good by helping others.

You’re not alone in this. I’m here rooting for you! Let’s heal together.

Always dancing,
Elizabeth Alvarez

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

Comments

  • thedancingcrohnie moderator author
    10 months ago

    Thank you Julie for the encouraging words! Crohn’s can be so hard so it’s always nice to share stories and know that you are not alone.

    It makes me happy that you too seem to be doing well and I’m excited to be part of this community with you!

    Wishing you the best in health!

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth

  • Julie Marie Palumbo moderator
    10 months ago

    Thank you for sharing, Elizabeth! I feel like our stories are so similar!

    I, too, have Crohn’s Disease and have been on Remicade, Humira, Entyvio, and (now) Stelara, and also made a change in my career to suit my lifestyle which also made me healthier and, more importantly, happier.

    I am so happy to hear you are doing well and also turning your experience into a positive, especially for others. We are all lucky to have you as part of our community here at inflammatoryboweldisease.net!

    –Julie
    (InflammatoryBowelDisease.net Team Member)

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