Sunday, December 1, 2013

Crohn's Awareness Week

December 1-7 is Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Week! And because I have Crohn's, I'm wearing purple all week to raise awareness. I resisted the urge to buy this, even though I know Sasha would be totally supportive :)

This week I will also be blogging about a different aspect of my {short} experience with Crohn's Disease. You may or may not be interested, and that's ok. But I do think it's important to raise awareness, because there are so many who suffer and are waiting for a cure. I'm certainly no expert and have a lifetime of figuring this thing out. But I hope that sharing my experience can 1) be an encouragement to those who have recently been diagnosed with Crohn's, or 2) be a helpful tool to help you better understand someone you know who has Crohn's.


December 14, 2012 was the first day I had even heard of Crohn's disease. I was in the hospital with what I would later find out was a severe flare. The doctors kept saying all of my symptoms were "suspicious of Crohn's Disease," and I had no idea what that was. I received my official diagnosis a few weeks later after all of the tests and bloodwork came back, and I started trying to figure out this new life with Crohn's.

Now, almost a year later, I am advocating Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Week. Weird. It still seems surreal in a lot of ways, as I am still trying to navigate this disease. I have made great strides and certainly feel better than I did a year ago. The medicine I have chosen seems to be working to reduce the irritation in my intestines, and I am not in as much acute pain. For that, I am incredibly thankful. On my good days, I seem to forget that this will be a life-long battle until there is a cure. If you were to look at me, you wouldn't think there was anything wrong; it's not exactly obvious that my immune system is being mean and refusing to play nice with my insides ;)

The Lord has to remind me of these blessings, especially on the bad days. While my symptoms are not as debilitating, they are not altogether gone either. I have discovered both new symptoms and side effects and will surely face more. I am in a constant battle of eating enough of the right kinds of food. I fight low energy, a lowered immune system, and chronic body aches. While we have good health insurance, the out-of-pocket cost of my medication keeps me on my knees every single month.  It has certainly been a year filled with challenges. There have been a lot of tears and a lot of prayers.

When I have a bad day and am not feeling well, my sweet husband often asks me if there is anything he can get for me. I jokingly {though semi-seriously} say "a new body." I wish my body wasn't so broken and messed up. I wish I didn't have to administer painful injections every other week. I wish I didn't have to face other health issues as a direct result of Crohn's. My parents are still praying the Lord removes the disease altogether. I pray every day for a cure.

And yet it's just a small piece of living in a broken and fractured world. Praise God for grace and hope in Jesus. It's not always easy to praise God on the bad days, but He is good and worthy nonetheless. He is the perfect, sinless Savior who rescues us from our fractured state. I have a tangible reminder that this life is temporary and that one day I will have a new body, free of disease and pain, because of His work on the cross. Even Crohn's can be used for His glory and my sanctification.  

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