Jana Rosenberger's Story

Managing Life with Crohn’s

I woke up one day to the worst stomach pain imaginable back in the summer of 2015. I was vomiting uncontrollably and didn't understand why. Nothing would stay down, not even water. It felt like I was being tortured because it just wouldn't let up. I was put through a multitude of tests and finally discovered that I had been living with Crohn's disease for the past two-three years, and guess what? It wasn't going anywhere!

I didn't know how much of a change this would mean for my life. I knew I was going to need treatment, but I had no clue of the journey that was to lie ahead. I had to fight an extremely frustrating and long insurance battle just to get my treatments. In the meantime, my disease progressed and manifested in new ways outside my gastrointestinal system, so I was forced to go on steroids for months while waiting for approval for my main treatment.

Finally, I got infliximab infusions approved, but had an allergic reaction a few months later and had to quit. I began trying vedolizumab, but shortly after had to cease those infusions in order to get a surgery done to remove some liver tumors. I am now currently on 6-MP but seem to still be experiencing many extraintestinal symptoms, which may mean yet another change in treatment.

Managing my disease has proven to be a full-time job most days in itself, so it leaves little time for anything else. However, being diagnosed with Crohn's disease has shown me that as humans we have an amazing ability to adapt to situations. Despite everything I have gone through during the past two years, I have found a way to see the positive in my journey. I've found a way to laugh and still find enjoyment amidst the challenges. I count my blessings! I don't take those little things in life for granted, because they are often times the most meaningful! Crohn's may have forced me into being a strong woman, but I'm grateful that I have been transformed into a better version of myself!

Crohn's disease has been with me through every major step in my life. Although things were not always as easy as they could have been, living a life with Crohn's disease has shaped me into the person that I am today. It has blessed me with the most wonderful support group. Through their guidance along my journey, my amazing family and friends have taught me what true compassion and selflessness looks like. It has taught me to enjoy all the things that life has to offer and to make every moment count. It has taught me to not take anything in life for granted and to appreciate the health that I do have. It has helped guide me to a career that I could not be more excited to begin. I want to be a pediatric gastroenterologist and help children navigate through life with IBD, but more than that I want to be there for them as my doctors have been for me. I want to be there to tell them that yes, you have a lifelong disease that will require work and will result in some difficult times, but it will not limit your achievements. You can still live out your dreams, and even though at times it may be hard to see the light at the other end of the tunnel, you will come out the other side a stronger person because of everything you've had to endure. And although things may not always go the way they are "supposed to," you will learn to adjust to the unique style of life that is life with IBD.

So yes my name is Jessica and I have Crohn's disease, but Crohn's disease does not have me, because I also have family, friends, a career, a whole community of support, and a long happy life ahead of me.