August 21, 2016.
I refrained from letting anyone know, I knew I wanted to travel. But did not want my health to cause an inconvenience to my family. On August 15th, 2016, I was in Canada on a family trip. I thought everything was normal until I noticed an extreme and rapid weight loss the first week. This trip took place right before my senior year in high school. I knew the more anxious I got from thinking about my senior year, the more weight I lost and was hurting internally.
If you are not familiar, Crohns disease can be a life-threatening health concern. Crohns Disease is an inflammatory bowel disease. It leads to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. My symptoms were as stated online. I had the most painful cramps, headaches and bloody loose stools. Everything I consumed went right through me. The pain was unbearable! My lower left stomach side felt like it was being tied with a tight knot and consistently getting punched in the abs.
On August 16, 2016, I had my first colonoscopy where doctors stated more than half of my colon was I had to be hospitalized until they controlled my colon inflammation. I was only able to consume liquid foods as it was important to heal and control the inflammation in my colon for a week. If I did not receive intensive treatment, my entire colon would have been removed. I was concerned that at this very moment, there was an end to my life. However, it was the complete opposite, I had a chance to live a healthier life.
Being diagnosed with Crohns was when I decided to take my mental and physical health more seriously. If I was stressed or worrying too much, I would have a flare up. A flare up would cause abdominal cramps and loose stools. The duration of a flare up depended on what I consumed and the portion size. I have been on several medications that worked for a short time and others that worked for a longer time. One of the many helpful tips throughout this all was keeping a journal and listing foods that made me feel awful and healthy.
In 2016, I needed to change my eating habits completely. I had to eliminate high fiber foods and all carbonated drinks from my diet. Until today, my stomach is extremely triggered by dairy, nuts, seeds, beans and anything that cannot be broken down while consuming a meal. But that does not mean I cannot have tasty and amazing meals! I have adapted to many changes which makes me easily adapt to anything in life.
Crohns is a disease that occurs internally, privately in your body and mind. This is an invisible disease. I have noticed it is quite common to hear a family friend or person with Crohns Disease. I am sure you have seen a Humira commercial as it was one of the medications I took in the past to control the disease. It is important to take care of your mental, physical and spiritual health. As we continue to live through this pandemic, make sure you are taking time out of your day to take care of yourself during these unpredicted times.
I am still learning to take life day by day and not stress myself to the worst limits as I love to be an overachiever (which can be clearly unhealthy). Ever since my initial diagnosis, I take at least half an hour of my morning to practice yoga or physical activity to get my body moving and ready for the day. Mental health is as important as your physical health. I recommend yoga for those who may feel anxious and finding ways to cope with their anxiety, I 10000% recommend. Being introduced to yoga has been one of the many best things that happened in my life.
I mentally and physically feel stronger everyday. Even though life can and may be tough, it is important to acknowledge that life is full of opportunities to start over and make another day better than the previous.
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