I have lived with Crohn's disease since 1984. When the doctor told us the diagnosis, my 12-year-old brain couldn't comprehend what it was...much less having to live with it for the rest of my life. Much of my adolescence was spent sick and in the hospital. I did my best to hide my illness from friends so that I could try to be normal, but it was the 80s so NONE of us were normal!
Over the past 36+ years living with Crohn's, I have often wondered "why me?" I even wrestled with my faith in God -- begging Him (and sometimes yelling and cursing at Him) to "make it stop!" and "make it go away!" On the outside I usually looked and acted fine, but on the inside I was bitter and depressed much of the time. I have had four surgeries to have portions of my small intestine and colon removed and two additional repair surgeries. For about a year I lived with a temporary ileostomy, which allowed me to be pain free for the first time in 10+ years! Since that surgery and the eventual reversal, I have been the healthiest I have ever been.
In 2010, our 11-year-old daughter, Maurie, got very sick and was also diagnosed with severe Crohn's disease. Thanks to great medications and LOTS of prayers, Maurie soon was mostly in remission and feels pretty good most of the time. She will soon graduate from Tarletson State University and plans to be a Child Life Specialist -- helping comfort sick children and their families -- a result of the influence of the great Child Life Specialists at Cook Children's Hospital in Ft. Worth.
My daughter, Maurie, is my hero and inspiration to work as hard as I possibly can to find a cure for these awful diseases. I don't want her to have a lifelong struggle with Crohn's. I want her to one day say "I USED TO HAVE Crohn's disease, but now I've been cured!" Our strong faith, family, and friends have helped us be determined more than ever to not let Crohn's beat us.
So many ups and downs. So many surgeries. So many unanswered questions. So many wrestling matches with God. But only God knew that He had a greater purpose in mind. Through my work with the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation, I have been blessed to meet and walk beside hundreds of Crohn's and colitis patients and faimilies. I'm so glad that God didn't "make it stop" like I begged for Him to do for all those years. I would have missed out on so many blessings that I couldn't see.
I press on every day with a new prayer and a new motivation. Because of the opportunities that God has given me, my struggle and pain will not be wasted. With God's grace I will make it count!
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