It is the time of year again when we look back at the year we just had and begin to think about all the things we are thankful for. The past year has been a great one for me, but a weird one as well–a true roller coaster ride. Luckily for me, the good times out numbered the bad.
Looking back at my personal year with Crohn’s disease, I see that it was clearly one of the strangest yet. It started with the longest hospital stay I’ve ever had, horrible results for tests I had taken in March and being scared the word surgery was being mentioned for me again–less than 3 years from my ostomy surgery. While thankfully things didn’t turn out to be quite that bad, I did have a total of 4 hospital stays this year–the most I’ve had yet. Some were just short overnight stays; others were longer. These surgery scares and frequenting of the hospital have made me more appreciative of all the other things happening in my life.
First, I’m thankful that my body has begun to heal! In March my Crohn’s disease wasn’t treating me well, but my test results in August came back great and my doctor saw a lot of healing. It was some of the best news that I have received in a long time–especially because in between tests I was waking up everyday scared of what was to come. I worked hard in order to get the results I did. My diet has changed, I juice and do everything I can to give myself the best chance. It is a lot of work, but it seems to be helping so I won’t be changing a thing.
Second, I’m thankful for my amazing IBD family and friends! As I continue to work on the Intense Intestines Foundation, I have met amazing people who are some of the strongest and most incredible people I’ve met so far. We all support each other through the good times and the bad. I’ve never been involved with such a close group of people, who no matter what happens, are there for each other. Whether if be day or night, we have grown an IBD community of family and friends–making it easier to deal with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis–together.
Third, I’m thankful for my incredible friends! I haven’t had it easy. Even IBD patients tell me my story is one of the most severe they have heard. Still I look at my disease as a blessing because it has shown me, I have some of the best friends in the world. No matter what I’ve been through or currently going through, all of the friends around me have been supportive. These aren’t the people who are obligated to be there, it is their choice and they have never turned away due to the hard times I have gone through. Luckily, I have a large network of friends and they have supported me in ways I couldn’t imagine. Not only with my disease, but in creating the IIF to help others with these diseases.
Lastly, I’m thankful for my mother, brother and girlfriend! We all have friends around us who help us with our IBD, but these three have been there to pick me up and help me through my hardest times. My brother and mother have been by my side since the beginning. They have seen me at my worst and have sat by me through surgeries and difficulties with my Crohn’s disease. Without them I’m not sure where I would be. My girlfriend has been with me for almost a year now and has seen how this disease is a crazy ride with its large ups and downs. Right from the beginning and I mean right from the beginning (I was in the hospital about 6 weeks after we started dating), she has wanted to be there for me through all of the hard times during this year when Crohn’s disease have thrown curveballs my way. I’ve been pretty down a few times and even when I need to vent, she always knows the correct thing to say. She hasn’t just spent days with me in the hospital but has even slept over nights to make sure everything was okay. She was thrown into the fire of sorts with my IBD and the flames never scared her away. This year was improved tremendously with her in my life. When I have been health this year, we have been lucky enough to do more in a summer than most healthy people do in an entire lifetime. Yet when I haven’t been able to do much, she has never complained or been scared by my Crohn’s. Always being understanding and knowing that the hard times will only be temporarily.
I hope that all of you are feeling well and able to enjoy Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!