That’s my motto for this year! Well for the future in general. However, the title comes to me in two-fold. One, a fellow blogger inspired me to write about my teen years and living with Crohn’s at a young age. Two, when I was teen, nothing stopped me. If I felt like shit, if I shit all day, I found a way around it and LIVED. I didn’t let the disease confine me to my couch ALL the time, just some of the time.
I was diagnosed right before my 16th birthday. Sweet right?! I was a junior in high school and a middle hitter for the volleyball team because I was tall. That lasted all of pre-season. The last day of pre-season, I vomited breakfast in the garbage and new something was vastly wrong. (rewind to spring during track season and I complained every day my stomach hurt. Everyday! I annoyed myself.) Anyways, I landed myself in the hospital for dehydration and finally got the colonoscopy and endoscopy I had been waiting months for. After the procedures were done, I asked the doctor several times if he was done yet? And he better make sure to check again to be sure he’s done. (My first bout of banter after anethesia.) Crohn’s diesease was the diagnosis. The doctor asked who else in the family had Crohn’s…. silence filled the room. Noone knew. It was taboo to talk about. Turns out, years later my grandmother confessed that her side of the family has it.
(My teen year prednisone face)
I missed the beginning of volleyball season and lost my starting position. That hurt. I worked so hard for that and had to give it up. I returned to the team when I was well again a few days after my stay at the hospital. I think the world expected me to give up on sports and that would have been okay, for everyone else, but not for me. I said coach, I want to play. Just let me play. She put in as outside hitter, only playing 3 of 6 rotations. I worked my ass off to keep up physically with everyone else. My endurance and effect of my new diagnosis was evident going from one of the fastest on the team to the slowest. Also, everyone else but me noticed I was getting thinner. When it was time to order new uniforms, Coach asked what size I wanted I said Large. She was like no, I will get you a medium but it may be a little big. She was right. I thought when in the world did I lose weight? I wasn’t trying too.
I wasted away at some point from 150 to 130 pounds being 5 ft 8 inches tall. I missed a lot of high school. I should of technically failed junior year because I missed too much. However, I was fortunate to go to a small school and they looked the other way. I got all my work finished and it wasnt a big deal. I remember missing so much school that one of my good guy friends had taken the time to ask, what was going on with me? I didn’t have an anwser for him, just that I was sick because I didn’t understand the nature of the disease. I lived on my couch for the most part and slept a lot. I became close with my brother because he was too young to have his license yet and he had to spend time with me. HAHA. I missed a lot of typical events my friends attended. I also attended a lot too. I continuted to play volleyball the rest of my high school year. I was MVP of our tournament. I didn’t play basketball anymore becuase it was too much for me. I also gave up track my senior year. Puking all the time was not an attractive quality.
I went to dances as I could. I went prom. I hung out with friends when I could. I still ate whatever I wanted, which probably wasn’t much, beause I felt like everything one as trigger.
But there is one memory I will never forget. Every senior year, Darien Lake hosts Senior night and opens the park at a discounted rate just for Seniors and my favorite local band was playing. I was determined NOT to miss it. I felt like shit though. I had diahrea and was extremely nauseated. But I went, I rode like two rides and cut the bathroom lines many times. I am pretty sure I told some snotty girl I would poop on her if she didn’t let me pass. I didn’t have time for ignorance. My friends knew I was sick, but they knew how much it meant for me to be there. We stayed until after the band played and then I had all I could endure physically becuase I was exhausted. They took me home even though they could have stayed longer. I had a good time that night even though I was sick. Don’t let the thing you want the most in life pass you by. It may take you longer to achieve your goals. That’s ok. You may be sick or fatigued but your favorite band is playing, go within reason. Don’t forget you only have one life, noone is dealt a full deck of cards, so don’t forget to live! 🙂
Thanks for reading! 🙂