Pills Spilling

Living with Crohn’s in College

Since I was a kid, I could always remember having issues with my stomach. Sometimes, I wouldn’t eat because I couldn’t keep it down or sometimes, I would eat but the food wouldn’t digest, which also forced me to stop eating. When I was nine, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s affects the digestive system, immune system, and stress levels. Harder than the pain in my stomach was the sadness I felt from having missed so much school. I hated having to do my work from the hospital bed and I missed my friends and just being a normal kid. 

When my doctor diagnosed me, he immediately sent me to Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital to have a surgery that would last about a week. The procedure caused me to be in the hospital for seven days with a tube stuck down my throat. Once this operation was over, I went back to Atlanta to have another procedure done. Doctors placed what was basically a permanent IV in my arm, which would stay in for a couple of months. I had to put the actual IV bag in a book bag and lug it around school, which was hard to explain to my classmates. A nurse had to come by every couple of days to clean and change the IV. Since those days, I’ve had to take up to 10 medications a day and had to take a shot once a week at one point, to control my symptoms. 

As I got older, and more frustrated, I went to see a naturalist and started eating healthier, which helped a lot with my symptoms and health overall. At the beginning of high school, I was put on medication-- an injection I get every eight weeks-- and I could immediately sense the difference. Since I could remember, I’ve been involved in some type of sport. Having Crohn’s impacted how often I could practice, and I hated it. Although the injection was helping with normal everyday activity, strenuous activities were hard to complete. My coaches understood, but it was difficult knowing that I could be better but my body wasn’t allowing it. I am still getting the injection, but I hope to one day be able to operate without it.

 Experiencing all these things in college and having Crohn’s throughout my life has taught me perseverance, bravery, and how to treat others. I never know what people are dealing with in their everyday life so I try to keep that in mind and be kind to others even when it's hard.