Kristen's Story

My name is Kristen Acker and I am currently 14 years old. When I was about five-years-old, I realized that something was wrong. I had been throwing up, getting really strong stomach pains, and bloody stool. At first i just thought it was from my love of chicken nuggets and the effects of Kool-aid but then it just got worse and nobody knew what it was. I went to multiple doctors and being five years old, I hated doctors! My dislike for doctors offices continued as I had blood tests, exams, and questioning.

For five years I took MiraLax and it didnt work but it kept, what I would learn later as ulcerative colitis, at bay. I was a medical mystery and nobody could figure out what I had. When I was 10 and in the 5th grade, I went to Arnold Palmers children's gastroenterology. They scheduled a colonoscopy for me the day of my school holiday party and I wasn't the happiest kid. I was still 10 whether i had a disease or not. Lots of popsicles, sleep, and a colonoscopy/endoscopy later, low and behold - I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.

I was told not to get stressed out and stay calm and they had said a therapist would help me but I was 10 and there was no way you would catch me talking to a stranger about my feelings. Instead, I took medication but it soon wore off after six months. I was on steroids and other medications that should've helped but it didnt. Every six months I had a flare up or a rough patch in my disease. It makes me feel sicker than I already am but in the past four years I've had three colonoscopies, two endoscopios, four types of medications, five rounds of steroids, and many uncomfortable waiting rooms.

For the past 9 years, I've had this disease and it used to be the one thing holding me down but now I see it as something given to me because I am strong enough to handle it. To some who haven't experienced the effects of Colitis, it may seem exaggerated or like it was a mild case, but to a five year old who has no idea whats happening, it is scary. I had to go from being a normal kid to someone who had to take her meds on time, everyday.

Now, I'm living my life with some symptoms like sharp pains and stomach cramps but I get to be with one of my best friends who has Crohn's and she's one of the only people I can talk to. I go to high school like everyone else and nobody there knows about my ulceratie colitis. And although I still dislike waiting rooms, it was worth it for my health to get better in the end. I couldn't be where I am today without the help and support of my doctors, family, and friends.



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