My name is McKenna, I’m 18 years old and just graduated high school! I was diagnosed the fall of my sophomore year with Crohn’s disease. That year I quit playing soccer and joined the boys varsity football team for junior and senior year!  

My biggest struggle with Crohn’s was myself…I became my own worst enemy.

I denied my illness for about a year and a half. I fought constantly with my doctors and family. I lost so many friends during the first stages after being diagnosed, and I felt alone and hurt. My family and I (especially my mom) would get into arguments every day. I basically hated my life and everyone in it.

After being hospitalized for three days I finally woke up and realized I was the one making myself sick by not listening to doctors and not taking my medicine. It was me who had to change, not them. I started a diet of no gluten, dairy, or fiber and began taking my medicine when I was supposed to. Even still, I wasn’t feeling happy and I wanted to get control of my life back. I began to go to therapy to work on myself. My first therapist had to leave for family reasons, so I quit going. But after realizing I was anxious all the time, I decided to go back. I ended up getting some medication and started working on how to overcome my anxiety. Anxiety came along with my Crohn’s disease, but I never took the time to sit down and talk about the internal issues of the diagnoses. I am continuing to go to therapy and work really hard to practice what I learn and keep a positive outlook on life.

A friend told me about the Patient Advisory Council and how I could read stories from other people with IBD, and get involved with kids my own age to help me through my hard times. I look forward to being able to talk openly about Crohn's and my life, and hope that my stories will help others through some of their toughest times. Stay tuned because I'm working on my own YouTube channel.


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