At the age of 20 you’re told you are young, free and have your whole life ahead of you. Do what makes you happy. For me, I was 20 when I was told that I had Crohn’s disease.
This pretty much meant life would likely be the opposite. For the four years leading up to my diagnosis, I had seen my older sister go through the pain of living with Crohn’s and knew the road ahead of me wasn’t going to be easy.
When I first started experiencing symptoms of the disease, I kept them to myself. With my main symptoms being frequent and long trips to the bathroom, coupled with unexplained bleeding and serious pain, I felt embarrassed.
I spoke to my sister and found out my symptoms were the same as hers before she was diagnosed. From then on, it was a pretty safe bet that what was happening to my body was the result of Crohn’s.
While I want to be able to say that the next part of my journey was going to see a doctor, getting a pill that fixed it all, and that I continued my life normally, it’s not. I continued to go through months of indescribable pain, major body fatigue and serious joint pain.
I am also a Type 1 diabetic and this caused even more complications with trying figure out how to manage both diseases.
I got to know my wonderful gastroenterologist on a first name basis and colonoscopies, to check the lining of my large intestine and bowel, became the norm. The hardest part for me was the social and emotional effect that Crohn’s had, and still has, on me.