Location: Austin, TX
Diagnosed with Crohn's Disease at age 21
How has your condition impacted you? My condition has changed me in so many ways, but most importantly, it has helped me appreciate all the little things that happen in life. I have learned to cherish the good days and roll with the bad. My condition has also made me more aware of others coping with illnesses. It has made me take a step back and look at my life and be so thankful for everything and everyday that I have.
What would you like for other people to know about your condition? I would like others to know that I don't want to be treated any differently. I'm not breakable. I know what I can handle and what I cannot. I have so many people come in to my life that look at me and say, "well, you don't look sick!" That might be true, but there are days when I might look fine but feel terrible. I have come across people who don't want to understand when I say I can't drink, I can't eat something in particular, or that I have to rest. Just because I have to take some precautions in life, doesn't mean that I am not normal or deserve to be an outcast.
What would you like to tell someone who is recently diagnosed with your condition? Keep your chin up! Yes, there are going to be days when you are angry or sad and you even might think you're crazy, but just stay strong and I promise there will always be good days ahead.
Surround yourself with positive, loving people who will be there for you whenever you need them. Fill yourself with knowledge . . . learn everything you can about your condition and don't be afraid to ask questions. No question is a stupid one. Get to know your body; it will tell you waht you can and cannot eat, how much you need to rest and how far you can push yourself. When you have a bad day, just tell yourself that "this too shall pass."
Jess's favorite saying: "Bad days always make the good days better!"
Thank you so much for sharing your story Jess!