Growing up, church was a social event to me. I went to youth group to see my friends, maybe grab a slice of pizza, and take a break from the dismal, awful winters of Michigan (that’s right, I’m a yankee). I listened to the sermons, but they never got through to me. My parents told me the stories; I was aware of the Bible. I knew with my head but not with my heart.
When I was 14, I started losing a lot of weight. At one point I was down to 90 lbs, white as a ghost, and had fainting spells every other day. After months of visiting numerous doctors all over the Great Lakes state, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s is a digestive disease that causes the intestines to inflame and bad stuff to happen! This is not a life threatening illness, but it is very much life changing. When my doctor told me this, I thought one thing: It’s okay, I’m still in control. I can handle it on my own.
Shortly after being diagnosed, both of my parents became unemployed. My dad was laid off from his job at a tool and dye shop, and the restaurant where my mom waitressed at was shut down. They job-searched relentlessly but with the fantastic ecomony and state of employment in Michigan, they came up empty handed. I came home from school one day to find both of them sitting at the kitchen table, and they had news to share. My dad had been offered a fantastic position at a new Nissan plant! The catch: It’s in Mississippi. At first I was shocked and scared to leave the only home I had ever known, but eventully my thoughts changed: Feeling sorry for myself won’t change anything. I can handle this.
ove back if I had the chance. I fit in amazingly at Ridgeland High School, playing for the varsity volleyball team, participating in show choir, and making the best friends I could have ever asked for. Sophomore and junior year flew b,y and I was in heaven. Then in July 2009, I got a visit from my old friend Crohn’s. I took an ambulance down to the Baptist Hospital and stayed for 5 days. I was pumped full with sterioids and anti-inflammatory medications, and the fighter inside me thought, no problem. I’m going to push through this on my own. I can handle this.
I was released, but still felt bad. I don’t remember a single good day between July and September 2009. As my senior year began, I spent a lot of time barely making it from class to class without fainting or keeling over with pain. After months of biting the bullet, I woke up with an immense pain in my legs that forced my parents to call an ambulance. Back to Baptist I went! CT scans revealed a pocket of infection formed on top of a ball of nerves to my legs. My surgeon said it was a miracle that it stayed in a little pocket rather than spread to my blood stream (which could have killed me), but also that it was on the nerves so I could detect the problem. It was decided that I needed surgery to have it removed, along with 12 inches total from my colon, and my appendix. The surgery itself was flawless. They took out the bad sections of my colon and everything went as expected. See? I can handle this all on my own.
I was relying on myself only, and you’ll soon see how well that turned out for me.