Mitchell Dinse's Story

Waking Up from the Darkness

My journey started when I was a normal 14-year-old boy in his eighth grade year of school. I was very active in sports, student council, band, and choir. I began having IBD symptoms in the spring of 2009. I started having to run to the bathroom all the time and constantly being tired and run down. It took three years to get an official diagnosis because I was misdiagnosed with C-Diff.

I was officially diagnosed with Crohn's disease on December 16, 2011. I remember a feeling of relief when I heard the news relief that we finally knew what exactly was wrong with me. Of course I had no idea of what Crohn's is and how it would affect my everyday life, but I soon figured out that it was going to be the biggest challenge of my life.

During the period of diagnosis, I had gotten very sick. I had lost over 60 pounds, I was throwing up every time I ate, and I had to quit sports because I couldn't hold my own. I was to the point where I wanted to give up. I basically cut myself off from the world around me; I didn't attend many school events, and I only told a few people what was wrong with me.

It took me about a year to finally accept my diagnosis and move on with life. One night, I just got sick of living life in the dark and I told myself that this is the life that I was given and that I am going to try and make the biggest difference I can. My family and friends have helped me cope and have given me so much support; I will never be able to thank them enough.

I first got involved with CCFA through the Take Steps walk in the Twin Cities and since then I have gradually become more involved. This year, my team and I are going on our fifth year of raising money and Taking Steps towards a cure. I have also been a counselor at Camp Oasis in Minnesota for three years now, and it has been one of the most rewarding things that I will probably ever be apart of. The friendships that I have made there, both with fellow counselors and campers, will last a lifetime. When people ask me how my week at camp was, I am never able to find the words to describe it. I have never been able to make connections and build relationships faster with anyone. The connections that are made in just one short week at camp blow me away and it feels so great to say that I am apart of it.

Waking up from the darkness of IBD was one of the best decisions of my life. While I still haven't achieved official remission of my disease, I am glad to be feeling a ton better. I am so thankful for my amazing support system of family and friends, CCFA, and my new family of fellow IBDers. It’s because of them that I choose to keep fighting, and to never give up.