I always had a sensitive stomach, even when I was little. I went to the doctor and he said my symptoms sounded like irritable bowel syndrome, so he gave me medication.
It didn’t help. I tried changing my diet and was even a vegan for a whilewhich wasn’t fun. Then I started having other symptoms like diarrhea, which made my doctor think it was something more serious.
There were about three months when I had no idea what was wrong with me. Finally, I had a colonoscopy and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. The day I got the diagnosis, I cried because I was so happy to know what was wrong with me. Before, I felt lost and just in horrible, horrible pain; now I could finally get help.
Crohn’s affected my ability to dance
However, after I did more research and read literature about a lack of a cure for Crohn’s disease, and potential complications, I was upset and demoralized; it got to the point where I couldn’t even work.
I got so skinny and lost all my muscle. I had a dance performance in April and was taken out of one piece because it was too physically demanding and I had no energy. I’m about 5 feet 4 inches tall and at one point, I weighed only 105 pounds.
Because of a bout with thyroid cancer in 2004, I was unable to get health insurance after I graduated from college. So during all of the time I battled with Crohn’s, I didn’t have insurance. This was really, really tough because the steroid I was taking cost $250 a bottle and lasted about two weeks.
I went into remission, but in December I had another flare-up, and by January I had to move back in with my dad. I couldn’t take care of myself and had no insurance.
I have had other flare-ups, but they are different now than they used to be. I don’t always have stomach pain, but I have been in the hospital twice for abscesses (masses filled with puss from an infection). In 2009, I had to have surgery in June and again over Christmas. I spent New Year’s Eve in the hospital.