In 2005, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. Being allergic to Remicade, Flagyl and Sulfur drugs, pushed me for treatment in other directions. Humira, Cymzia and Stelera were my saviors for several years, giving me a chance to compete with my horse in the Show Jumping world. I had my best years from 2011 to 2013 competing in 42 different Horse Shows throughout the Pa, NY and NJ area. But, my large intestines were getting worse and a decision had to be made. Being I love food, who doesn’t!, Dr Michelassi decided the best move was to remove all of my large intestines, hoping that the disease would stop there and I would have a normal life. Well, not so fast, C-diff hit within 3 weeks and threw me into a whirl wind for 5 months. In and out of the hospital, abscesses and fistulas, drains and setons. Finally, at the end of 2014, they placed an Ileostomy, hoping that the abscesses would begin to heal. It took awhile to get used to the stoma but my determination to get back to work and my horses kept me focused. I rode in a few shows throughout NJ and NY in 2015 and 2016 but the abscesses wouldn’t give up and my body was getting wore down. In September of 2017, I had a complete Protectomy and now my Ileostomy was permanent. Because the abscesses did so much damage to my left butt cheek, I felt that I would never ride again. With the help of Dr Jason Spector, he took my abdominal core muscle and rebuilt my left cheek, so I could ride again. It has been 4 months now and I am still healing but I am back in the saddle. For seven years, I have donated to CCFA over $46,000.00. Each year, around April, we run a Benefit Horse Show and raise money towards the fight to this disease. Everybody’s disease and story is different, but we all have the same common bond, that which we can continue to fight to survive and fight for a cure. This disease may have taken parts of my body but it will never take away my spirit. I will live my life continuing to support the foundation toward their fight to find a cure and give quality of life to each person with this disease.
God Bless all of you with good health and happiness.