Pendant #490 – I Will Get There

Dec 27, 2022 | Other Stories

My story starts out like a lot of other peoples. I was healthy until I wasn’t. I had been experiencing digestive issues since my senior year of high school, but it was always explained away by doctors. I would get better, then worse, then better, then worse. I thought I was finally doing better three years out of college and teaching at a great school with great coworkers and students. I started not feeling great again around Thanksgiving, but told myself it was from eating so much sugar and unhealthy food. Things continues to get worse, but I was told I had food positioning, take some antibiotics, and I’ll be good to go. I continued to go throughout my life in pain, but putting on a brave face for those around me. I had a trip planned with my friend for our spring break to the Dominican Republic. We were going to relax and enjoy the sunshine. I ended up getting severely sick on our last night there. Once again I told myself it was food poisoning or just something I ate. Flying home was a feat and I was so thankful when we landed and I had made it home. Throughout the night, I was severely sick and had some of the worst pain I had ever experienced. I kept telling myself I was fine and to just relax. The next morning, I began to experience bloody stool and knew something was wrong. I called my boyfriend at the time, sobbing, telling him I didn’t feel well and I think I needed to go to the hospital. He rushes home to get me there. At the hospital, I was so weak and in so much pain, I could barely explain how I felt. My boyfriend was able to tell them what had been going and advocated for me. They gave me a bunch of medicine, that in the end, actually ended up hurting me even more. I was sent home and told I had e.coli from a bacterial infection from the Dominican. In my gut, I knew this wasn’t right, but I was too sick to argue it. We went home, armed with five different prescriptions, a heating pad, and a doctors note to come back if things got worse. The next morning, I woke up feeling even worse. My mom came over to see how I was and I had the most intense cramping pain. I have never been pregnant, but I was imagining what was happening felt similar to a contraction. My stomach would convulse and I would lay in the fetal position, crying in pain. These pains would go on for 15 or so minutes, then release. It would occur at least once every hour. When I started to only have blood coming out of my body is when we decided I needed to go back into the hospital. My mom and boyfriend came with me this time. I ended up being admitted to the hospital this time. There was a concern it was C-Diff and they were told no one could be around me without a hazmat suit. I immediately started crying as it seemed incredibly scary and threatening. My mom took the overnight shift with me that night. I made it through the night with morphine and a lot of medication. The doctors were still convinced it was a bacterial infection, while myself and my family was not. They kept running tests, not finding anything. My blood levels were very low as were a few others. I ended up being at the hospital for seven nights. It was an incredibly long week and scary. I had no clue what was happening to me and I wasn’t getting better. I hadn’t eaten solid food in days and couldn’t keep anything down. During this whole time, my family was always there. Nobody left my side. My parents took shifts during the day and my boyfriend would come straight from work. My sister would come after school got out and my brother and other sister would FaceTime me daily. They definitely helped me stay a little sane during all of this. A GI finally came to me on the fifth or sixth day and scheduled a colonoscopy. The prep was horrendous as I was so sick already and they wanted me to empty whatever I had left inside of my stomach. It was very painful and I was crying out in pain the entire time. My amazing mom got me through that. I came out of the colonoscopy and the doctor said, “you have Crohn’s Disease”. I said, “I know”. I had thought for quite some time I had Crohn’s as I had all the telltale signs, but I was always brushed off and told it was anxiety, an eating disorder, or IBS. I knew I did not have an eating disorder as all I wanted to was eat! I was hungry all the time, but could never keep food down. Everything upset my stomach. I definitely developed anxiety during this whole ordeal. I was excited to finally have a diagnosis and get home! I had to stay one more night as I still wasn’t eating and they wanted to make sure I could keep solids down before sending me home. My aunt had flown in from California and stayed with me that night, I was able to have some chicken noodle soup with little irritation, so I was finally discharged. I went home and took the longest, hottest shower of my life. I cried tears of relief to know I was home and would start feeling better. My family was so amazing and I could not have asked for more support during this time. They did everything they could for me and made me feel safe and loved at a time that I was really struggling, I saw a doctor that next week at a new practice and was put on a plan. Things got better, but I still wasn’t feeling like my normal self. I was able to go back to work. I also was able to take a trip to Italy with my family. I was terrified to leave, but Italy ended up being great for my stomach. I had no issues there and had the best time. It was a great reset and recharge for me. My boyfriend proposed over the summer as well. It was such a special time and I am beyond excited to get married to him!! There have been so many positives since coming out of my Crohn’s diagnosis. I have met some pretty awesome people who have talked me through what Crohn’s looks like. I have definitely struggled with the diagnosis, trying to find medicine that works for me as well as a whole new diet. I have trouble putting on all of the weight I had lost because my stomach still does not like so many foods. I eat a very limited diet and going out with friends and the holidays are hard. I get upset that I can’t be like every other 25 year old. I’m still working on figuring out what my Crohn’s journey is going to look like, but I know I will get there someday. For now, I am thankful for my family, fiancé, and knowing that I will always advocate for my health after everything that I went through.

Madison

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