tonsillectomies, adenoidectomies & suppositories! hooray!

first & foremost, drugs.   i wanted to give an update, considering all of the thoughtful emails, voicemails & texts im having a hard time reading. my nightly IBD meds make it hard to focus anyway, but when you add … Continue reading

april showers

its been nearly 5 months since ive wrote. ive started a few, but became quickly tired. honestly, i had good intent to finish.. but the handful of times i actually had time to sit down, i found myself rereading things i didnt feel anymore.

holidays have passed, awareness weeks, as well as seasons & unfortunately, some of our loved ones as well. it was a long winter, but i know good things are in store.

i have had ups & down, but this is the first March in a few years i didnt spend any weeks in the hospital. for this, i am extremely grateful. i DID spend a lot of time at different specialists & unfortunately i will be adding more members to my care team, but i believe this is the right direction. im pretty sure if us patients collected badges for every doctor visit we had, we would need multiple cub/girl scout uniforms to hold the number of badges we collected.

ive been having a rough go with my body adjusting to meds. ive tried acupuncture that has helped with nausea & vomiting, but found that i was spending more time arranging appointments, driving as well as the cost of the appointments.. it helped a lot, but also really, really irritated the neuropathy in my body & i found myself expending way too much energy trying to heal from my appts.

my body is tired & my eyes are misty. i feel weary about where my regimen will go in the future. my infusions are faring my stomach well for now, but i dont feel like i am where “should” be. i find myself recovering from meds my body needs much more than i am healing & finding a happy medium. what would be simple infections to most people have plagued my winter.

im excited for more projects than i can count on one hand. being invited to patient advocacy summits, seminars & being an ambassador for multiple non-profits i truly enjoy working with that make a great difference in the care that patients receive. im humbled to be asked to represent part of the patient community, and being able to share these projects so that this audience is able to participate in makes things worth the sweat! teamwork makes the dream work.

i look forward to writing more. i have been saving pennies purchase a nice computer that i can rely on to share valuable information.

my heart looks forward to so many things: racing, fundraising, being a patient advocate, meeting so many of the friends that have changed my life in amazing ways & traveling. also, shark week.

life is better in color. <3

life is better in color. ❤

why i smile.

what was the first thing you noticed about this picture?

what did you notice first?

what did you notice first?

1 week worth of meds? 1 years worth of medical records & insurance claims?

this photo captures the meds i take on a weekly basis. i should clarify not all of these are medications for crohns disease, but surely 75% of them are to counteract the side-effects of the medications that keep me alive. that keep me living. that keep me smiling.

there are many risks to the medications we take & ive experienced some very scary ones, some that have left damage & others that have made other drugs unsuitable for me to inject now.. but a life of Remission is worth the risk & that is something i will always believe until we celebrate a cure or a vaccine that could potentially prevent IBD or eliminate carrier risk.

at 17, entering college, i took upwards of 35 pills a day (12 just being pentasa). after months of taking so many pills a day, the sensation of putting any pill in my mouth made me puke almost every time. there were days i simply couldnt hold down the pills because it was just too much.

time is a blur, but within the next year i would return home every 4-6 weeks & receive #remicade infusions. my mom accompanied me to nearly every single one. soon the #infusion center felt like home & i would return on my own. & soon, i made my parents stop driving 8 hours on the weekends i needed infusions and asked if i was able to receive them in the hospital across the street from my dorm room. lucky for me, i did not have class on fridays, so i could wake up in my sweatpants, put on my jacket & walk across the street – on good days, i would study & the bad, i would try desperately to sleep despite the awful sounds i would hear, as i was across from the ER. years have come & gone, infusions turned into injections, then eventually back into infusions.

this photo captures many things, but the thing i want you to see is a smile. its a pretty simple thing to a lot of people – a smile in a picture. but pairing it with a representation of only a weeks worth of meds being chronically ill for over 10 years? to a person that gets it, they know how hard smiles can be to come by.

the 16 year old girl inside of me is roaring with jealously; the 17 yr old girl who had a terribly swollen face in her senior pictures is screaming. the 18 yr old girl with little self-esteem entering a new relationship wants to strange me. and still to this day, living as a 27 year old single woman with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, life is still a strange & terrifying thing to me. its still full of pill boxes, infusions, injections, hydration powders, nutrition supplements, sharps containers & pillboxes with timers built in…

but NOW, there is a smile. it might have taken 10,000 frowns & 10,000 other smile to get here, but im happy now. 10 years have passed – way more than 10 colonoscopies too. but in my journey, ive met amazing people whom i cannot put a numerical value on, only sentimental. ive met new friends that have had eerily similar diagnoses, received hand-written letters from across the globe & even ran a 1/2 marathon with Team Challenge Wisconsin and along the way, passed by & met/ran with members of teams all around the US who i still keep in contact with.

i have met new people, found peace with my #diagnosis & have even managed to change some lives along the way – even if only for a day. some people in the #IBDcommunity dont agree with the sense of humor i have & to them i say, thats okay! i advocate in different ways than others but doesnt make me any less credible & shouldnt make me any less happy.. and certainly shouldnt make me hold back on going after my dreams. im this way because i want to be & 10 years ago, i would have never had the emotional strength to go through scopes, hospitalizations, #infusions, injections & surgeries that required me to be in the most humiliating “jackknife” position. humor has always been my coping mechanism & if that means making fun of myself without the risk of hurting someone, i will.

im thankful to have been blessed with this curse. i know this life is not what my parents had intended for me, and certainly not what i envisioned it to be. but the truth is, i am beautiful because of it. all of the bad shit my disease has given me, its given me SO much more than i have ever deserved.

despite living with #IBD, i smile.

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#IBDselfie #IBDawarenessweek #inflammatoryboweldisease #crohnsandcolitisawareness #chronicillness #CCFA #crohnsdisease #ulcerativecolitis #crohns #colitis #autoimmunedisease #autoimmune #IBDfamily #CCFA #teamchallenge #myIBD #1in200 #iamjustone #purpleproject

was all this for nothing?

20131216-204808.jpggaining trust with me is hard. gaining trust with me & sticking your phalanges up in my icky part business is a whole nother level of trust.

though i knew it may be coming, we were told today our work would be changing insurances…. (i suppose this is good news, being that last week, we were told it may not be offered at all). what does this mean for me? starting over.  i find myself starting to cry writing this. after all of the scopes & scans and more xrays tomorrow & lab work and GI visits ive had over the past three months (GI appt every 3 weeks). tonight, i cannot help but think… was this all for nothing?

i started back up at Aurora hospital 3 months ago after changing from doctor(s) in milwaukee the past 5 years. Aurora will always be the place i call home. the place that saved my life & the place that gave me a second chance to live my life for the better.. it gave meaning and purpose to my life.

im terrified to change hospitals. lets be honest…. im terrible with change. i put off establishing a GI in milwaukee until i had to be hospitalized for a week. i had bad experience with many doctors at several different well-known medical facilities down there, even more the reason i hate this change.

not only do i lose my GI/go-to hospital, i also lose my primary care physician, whom i trust very much. i may still be able to go to him, but will be paying out of pocket. but who the $*#$ can afford out of pocket when you have so much medical debt already? him though, he is a GEM. for him, i would make this exception.   [i have never had insurance that hasnt allowed me to go to these doctors….]

most troubling is that my prescription benefits are changing. to a crohns patient, this can most important. im not even sure what to say, other than im terrified, ridden with anxiety & feel a little hopeless today knowing that my prescription regimen is going to change soon. im sure ill wind up back on a bi-weekly biologic that is more expensive than a down-payment on a car.

bringing me to the title of this…. was the last 3 months all for nothing? ive been seeing my current GI pretty consistently for the past 3 months about every 3 weeks. my next appointment with him was scheduled to be Jan 2…. my primary care physician on Jan 9.  now, usually i have no problem rescheduling later down the road, but i need to be seen by both of these doctors. so, that means i need to establish a new GI & fast. aint nobody got time fo dat!

last year, trying to find an assistance program that would let me pay a minimal amount for my Humira required taking off work for two days to find someone that would be able to help me afford the injection. it took more than 30 (THIRTY) calls to med companies before i finally had some type of solution.  i feel like im starting over. im mentally upset, physically not feeling well and having to fast for 24+ hours for xrays tomorrow has NOT helped either. knowing that tomorrow may be the last time im at Aurora (for at least 1 year) makes me really sad. im hopeful that this new chapter has good results, but i am ridden with anxiety.

i read this verse tonight & will say it over and over the next few weeks: “have I not commanded you? be strong & courageous. do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” – Joshua 1:9

out of every challenge comes strength, right?