As I look ahead to my graduation from high school, I want to reflect on my IBD journey. Join me for a trip down memory lane. In 2008, I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. Since then I have tried several different medications and treatments; I have been in and out of more doctors’ offices, hospitals rooms, and clinics than I care to count. At one point, I began to believe that Remission would never come for me. My future, free from illness, seemed so far away and unachievable; I felt hopeless.

I kicked off freshman year of high school with an NG tube, which was not the way I wanted to walk into this new chapter of my life. I weighed in at 66 pounds and was feeding around 6-8 cans of medical formula each night. The struggle of waking up for school was rough. I would have to pack all my medical supplies to take to school with me. There were days when I felt like I could not make it any longer. The looks I received from friends at school reflected their empathy and concerns for my health. My chances of reaching remission felt slim to none, but I didn't give up!

During the second semester of freshman year I went into my worst flare up ever. The symptoms I was experiencing before I got diagnosed with Crohn's came back; symptoms like loss of mobility (I could barely walk), loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea and more. I was so sick, and it took a whole month to get me better. During that time, I had a colon resection surgery, which gave me my life back. Since then, I have been doing well; my symptoms are well managed, I’ve gained weight, ditched the NG tube, and have really enjoyed having my social life back again. As I said, I have completely gotten my life back.

Looking back, I can’t help but think that my past is what I've been through, it's not who I am. It has helped mold me, but it does not define me. To my IBD peers, know that your past with IBD doesn't define who you are. It has molded you into the amazing fighter you are today. However hopeless it may have felt, I'm so thankful for my IBD experience; it has molded me into the person I am today. I am a fighter! I am a winner! I am strong! I am a conqueror!

Looking ahead, I am thankful for the challenges I had to overcome. Many doors and opportunities have been opened to me. I am so grateful for my supportive group of family and friends, who make life’s journey possible because of their love and support. They encouraged me when I was down, motivated me to reach for my dreams, and more. I am so blessed to be a part of ImproveCareNow community, and I am so humbled to be able to help and advocate for IBD patients across the country. Finally, my faith and my beliefs have been with me since the beginning.

What's your "from then till now" story w/IBD? Share it with me today in the comments below!

- Christian



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