Charlotte Take Steps

Olivia's pooper troopers!

1 in 200 Americans live with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, yet there is no cure. That's why Olivia's pooper troopers! is participating in Take Steps on 06/01/2019!

I have lived in the Matthews area my whole life, and I’m nine years old! I live with my parents, my sister, and brother. In May of 2016, at seven years old, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis.

My story began when I was hanging out with my mom, and suddenly I got a stomach cramp. I was in so much pain and we didn’t know what was wrong. I didn’t sleep that night. The next morning my mom took me to the doctor, but the doctor didn’t know what was wrong, so we went home. He thought maybe it was an upset stomach from some antibiotics I was on. I also struggled the next night and could not sleep, I was in a lot of pain and could not stop using the bathroom. My mom called the doctor back and he said that there was a bad stomach bug going around and thought that it was probably that and to give it a few more days. I still had terrible stomach pain and still couldn’t stop going to the bathroom. This went on for about three weeks.

I went back to the doctor with my mom for a third time, thinking this time maybe we should start to look at other possible causes. My pediatrician agreed and referred us to the Gastroenterologist. At this point, I had lost so much weight my bones were showing. My appointment for the GI doctor wasn’t for another week, so our pediatrician told me and my mom that if I was still feeling bad over the weekend,to not hesitate to go to the ER. I was in so much pain, my mom took me on a Sunday afternoon. The ER thought I just had an infection, so they sent me home with antibiotics, but my pain would not go away. Finally, our appointment with our GI came, and he said that I was in failure to thrive with how much weight I had lost. He thought at this point it was a safe guess that I had IBD, but without a colonoscopy and endoscopy, it couldn’t be confirmed. They scheduled a scope for the end of that week. I was so weak at this point I couldn’t even sit up, I had to lay over the exam table and I had to ride in the cart when at the store picking up my medication. That night, the pain was even worse; I could not stop crying. My mom took me back to the ER that night and insisted they admit me to find answers and give me something to ease the pain until we had a treatment plan. They examined me and knew something was wrong, but they didn’t know what was going on. I was admitted on a Tuesday at midnight, and finally, that Friday, my family and I got our answer of Ulcerative Colitis.

During that time, I was mad, scared, and in a lot of pain. I was so skinny my pants would not stay on. My GI doctor said that my case was one of the most aggressive he had seen in a long time, and unfortunately, it wasn’t responding to IV steroids and medication as quickly as he wanted me to. I was so sick I couldn’t keep any food down.

I had to get my nutrition through IV, because every time I ate I would have terrible pain and diarrhea. After two weeks, I was able to go home from the hospital, which felt good. Every few weeks I started to get IV infusions. I gained all my weight back and some more because of my medications.

I have been doing much better and go for my IV infusions every six weeks and have a colonoscopy every two years. About a year after I was diagnosed, my dad was also diagnosed with Crohn’s. He says he looks up to me because he only has to take pills and I have to do IV’s and I am way braver than he is, but we have each other as support and experience IBD together.

 

Having Ulcerative Colitis has been difficult, I’ve struggled with pain and anxiety, but I have been able to work through that, and thanks to my doctor’s and my medicine, I am in remission. I get to take part in Take Steps each year (my team is Olivia’s Pooper Troopers!) and go to Camp Oasis. I have gone the last two years, and it has been such an awesome experience for me. Everyone at camp has IBD, so it is nice to be with others who are just like me. I’ve learned I am not alone, and that even when I was scared and in pain, I was able to get through it with a lot of support. I still get nervous over my infusions and have occasional stomach cramps, but I can share my story with others, and hopefully encourage them too because I am doing much better!

 

 Our team will be uniting together for hope and walking together for cures in a welcoming and inspiring event. We're joining our community in the fight against IBD and have set a team goal to raise more than $1,500.00 for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation!

 

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