I spent a long time watching my dietcertain foods would really bother meand trying different medications. Finally, a pediatric gastroenterologist performed a colonoscopy, which confirmed that I had Crohn’s disease. I was 11 years old.
Afterward, I took medication and continued to watch what I ate, but I still couldn’t gain weight, no matter what I did. In middle school I started to get much worse, probably due to stress; at the time, my brother was undergoing brain surgery. I couldn’t eat much and I would sleep all the time.
A perforated colon
Then in my freshman year of high school, on April 25, 2005, I woke up in the morning screaming in pain. Somehow I managed to get myself under control, and my mother called a gastroenterologist. Every bump in the road on the way to the doctor’s office made me scream.
When I got there, the doctor pushed on my stomach and I almost fell off the table because of the unbearable pain. It turned out I had a perforated colon and needed emergency surgery.
They told me I had a gallon of waste floating in my body, and it was poisoning my internal organs. I had to get a temporary colostomy because my intestine was so diseased it was the only way to save my life since I was so near death. The doctors knew at that point that I did not have a mild case of Crohn’s disease.
I got back to school weeks later, when there was only a month left of my freshman year. Because of the corticosteroids and water retention, I looked completely differenteven my friends didn’t recognize me. The same kids who had called me an anorexic when I was underweight now called me “chipmunk cheeks.”
I realized then that I had worked so hard to get back to normal, but that Crohn’s had a major effect on what my “normal” would be.
My weight changes made things difficult in other ways. My mom had to keep buying me new clothes and get the old ones tailored as my weight fluctuated. At one point, the cleaner asked my mother how many daughters she had because we had so many clothes altered.