I’m Taking Steps for CCFA!

2 Apr

About 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. UC is pretty much the least sexy disease you can have–you get ulcers in your large intestine. Hot, right? My mom has it, and I thought I’d get away with not having it, but…’twas not to be. UC and its little sister Crohn’s Disease (which affects the small intestine) are in the IBD family–Inflammatory Bowel Disease. With a name like that, you can see why I don’t talk about this much (and then, only to close friends…lucky them!)

People confuse IBD with IBS, which is less serious–IBS is a condition that comes and goes. I’ll have IBD for the rest of my life. For years I managed it with the same drugs my mom used, and I’d have periods where I’d have flare-ups (usually caused by stress and by things I ate or drank) and just feel…awful. I was in active disease for what seemed like years, never feeling like my system was under my control. There were things I couldn’t eat or drink, and any kind of serious stress including relationships, or work, or school, just kicked me out of remission. I thought about it all the time, and I worried about things that most people don’t have to even think about–like where’s the closest restroom? And how will I feel if I eat that popcorn? (short answer: like crap.) The drugs weren’t working, and annual colonoscopies proved I wasn’t getting better. It was something I worried about constantly.

Then about 3 years ago, my life changed. Right before my close friend Dena got married, I came down with the stomach flu, which was going around Charlotte. Most people might feel terrible for a few days, drink some gatorade, and then they’re done with it. But not me! Oh no, for about a week I was incapacitated. I was so weak and dehydrated I could barely move–I would just lay on the bathroom floor. Finally, my parents took me to the ER, they hooked me up to an awesome IV, and for 4 days I recovered in the hospital. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. The high dose of steroids (which are HARDCORE, you can’t be on those things for too long without serious side effects) kicked my UC back into remission, my doctor put me on some drugs that worked, and I went off to recuperate in south Florida to do my bridesmaid duties (and I lost about 10 pounds from not eating anything for a week–man, those were good times. But I looked great!) 3 years later, I’m still in remission.

So why I am telling you about my misbehaving colon and its merry antics? Because on May 9th I’m going to take part in the CCFA (Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation) Take Steps walk in Freedom Park. I’ve pledged to raise $300, which is just a drop in the bucket, but for my first walk I thought I’d start small. I really want to do something to thank the researchers for creating drugs that finally worked for me. I want to thank my doctors and nurses for taking care of my body. CCFA helped all of that: they’re a non-profit, volunteer-driven charity that gives one of the highest percentages of its funding towards research. My mom and I have been members for years, and I’m so glad they do what they do. http://www.ccfa.org/about/?LMI=0

My life is normal. I can eat and drink what I want. Stress doesn’t bring me to my knees. I’m so grateful, and I want to show my thanks to CCFA. If you want to support me on my Take Steps walk, and you have a few dollars to donate by May 9th, I would be so appreciative! And to all my wonderful friends…thank you for your continued support!

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