Atlanta Take Steps

My Naked Soul

I am Dee Michelle & this... is My Naked Soul.

I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease in February of 2003, during a 2-week hospital stay to figure out what was causing the vomiting, diarrhea, high fever & excruciating pain.  That diagnosis came AFTER my colon ruptured, resulting in removal of most of my colon & sepsis that nearly cost me my life.  The prognosis was grim & my mother was told to make funeral arrangements.  

But God... I awoke from a coma to find an unexpected ileostomy bag & a gaping hole in my stomach.  I was so septic that my surgeon elected to leave me open for quicker access if it became necessary to go back in.  I lived in that hospital for nearly six months.  I experienced a range of emotions over that period - anger, sadness, hopelessness.  I was a 33-year-old, single mother of three (15, 13 & 2), with minimal quality of life.  I needed a feeding tube; I had to learn to walk again & I was told that I would need care beyond what my mother could handle for the rest of my life.  The cloud of depression was thick, but one morning while in prayer, a glimmer of hope shown through.  I decided that if I was going to live, I would do all that I could to make the rest of my life the best of my life.  I began to fight & it was in that moment that I realized healing began in my mind.  

Nineteen years later, I AM STILL HERE!  There have been many challenges & many triumphs over the years.  After 5 years of being an ostomate, I was reconnected despite being told it wouldn't be possible. I completed my Applied Project in between morphine dosages to earn my Bachelor's degree in Business Management & went on the earn a Master's in Business Administration.  I enjoyed a rewarding career, traveled & created some amazing memories with family & friends,  My children are now adults & I had many years of great quality of life, requiring NO medications & only routine gastroenterology visits.    

Today, I am still LIVING with Crohn's disease, in addition to a new diagnosis of Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis.  I am also navigating PTSD & anxiety with underlying depression.  My illness prohibits my ability to work so now at 52, I am disabled.  I am aware of all the medical & technological advances to treat IBD & more specifically Crohn's disease.  I have an incredible team of physicians who work tirelessly to keep me as well as I can be.  My dream is for a future free of Crohn's disease.  Team My Naked Soul is Taking Steps in hopes of eradicating IBD!

Millions of Americans are living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, and currently there is no cure. Our team is walking and raising money to support the crucial work of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Take Steps is the Foundation’s largest nationwide fundraising campaign, helping to accelerate the progress of breakthrough research and to support critical patient programs. Take Steps also brings the community together in a fun, family-friendly, and supportive atmosphere and lets patients know they have a community who supports them.

Please help Team My Naked Soul reach our team goal of $2,000.00.  

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