Feeling the IBD Love


This week I was asked to do a guest post for a great website..which leads into this weeks “Follow Friday”.  Usually the advice I give can be used by everyone but I normally have adults in mind.  Well, this week I am here to talk to the youth.

So, this week I want to single out a great website that is run by The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of Canada or CCFC.  It is a site called The Gutsy Generation: (http://www.thegutsygeneration.ca/site/c.buLTK7OQLpK8E/b.6247843/k.C798/Connect.htm).  The post I did can be found on their blog site which is http://thegutsygeneration.blogspot.com/.

Now I am not talking about them because I did a post for them.  I am talking about them because they target a huge audience….the kids.  Looking over their website, I was reminded of  my own youth.  I was 15 when I was diagnosed with IBD and essentially that is when my childhood ended.  I remember the feelings and the pain like it was yesterday…yet it was 24 years ago.  When I was first asked to write the post, I didn’t know what to write.  I wanted to connect with the kids today that suffer, but wasn’t sure what to say.  When all my memories started to flood me I said to myself….”That is what I am going to write”.  I said from the beginning that I wanted to help people know they aren’t alone with their IBD and that was what I was going to do.  By showing the youth out there that even us adults have gone through the pain and hurt…and survived it….I can help them to know that they also will survive.

It has been 2 days since I wrote the post and I still keep thinking about those first days.  So much has changed thanks to the Crohn’s.  I was a shy kid growing up.  I didn’t have the best self-esteem and I was very unsure of myself.  I was an average student and never knew my purpose in life.  College helped me a lot to discover who I am, but my Crohn’s helped me become who I am.  I had to get courage to overcome it.  It helped me to speak up and speak my mind.  I directed me where to go in my life because as we all know, a lot of what we do, we do tailored around the disease.  When I got sick last year and then started doing research on IBD, again it moved me into a new direction.  Here I am now, toting my wisdom and trying to help others.

I grew up alone with the disease.  Back in the 80’s no one knew what IBD was.  Worst of all, there weren’t many treatments for it.  There was no internet so it was very hard to find people with the disease.  All that I learned about my disease I learned through pamphlets from The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.  They helped…but never really taught me about my disease.  I grew up ignorant of what I have.

Now, things are different and websites like The Gutsy Generation exist.  No one has to go at their disease alone anymore.  All they have to do is reach out.  The last paragraph of my post for TGG sums up my feelings and I will end this post with that paragraph:

“As I look back into the mirror, I can still see that 15-year-old.  The lines are growing.  The hair is changing.  But I can see him in the eyes.  I see the twinkle.  I have made it 24 years with the disease.  No matter what happens…I can live life.  The disease hasn’t beaten me…and it never will.  And that is the best advice I can give anyone….Never let it beat you…you are too strong.”
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