My name is Chloe and I’m 18 years old. I graduated high school in June, and currently work as a cashier. I was diagnosed with UC at age 13.

The greatest struggle I’ve had to deal with is learning to love myself and be confident with my body after I got my ostomy. It has affected me in numerous ways: I was afraid to wear tight clothing, I was afraid to open up to new people, I would completely avoid going out in public, I would avoid the pool or beach, and I was afraid to even look at myself in the mirror. I hated myself and my body. I was angry for not being able to fight off this disease. It wasn’t a good time for me in the beginning, and it affected others negatively as well. My relationships with some of my friends dissolved and my family was in constant worry because I wouldn’t even get out of bed some days.

Though things were tough in the beginning I decided that I wouldn’t let this thing on my abdomen come between me and self-acceptance. So, I started wearing clothing I hadn’t touched in years, I started communicating with friends and family more, and I even went out on a few dates. I’ve learned that I’m strong. I’m a fighter. I have the help of a loving family, understanding friends, and a boyfriend who is very accepting of me; all of me.

I’d never heard about ImproveCareNow or the PAC until I posted about my disease and the struggles that came with it on social media. That’s how I met Bianca, who has been a mentor to me. Through Bianca, I became connected with ICN and the PAC and attended my first Community Conference this year. I felt welcomed by everybody and grew close with the PAC members quickly. I think that, in a way, we all help each other cope. Our journeys may differ, but somehow, we all understand what everyone has been through. It’s an amazing support system.

I’ve met others who have been faced with the same challenges as me and they’ve found ways to overcome. They’ve gotten out of their dark space. They’re fighters, just like me. I’ve gained so much extra confidence and advice from the PAC. I feel that connecting others who want and need this kind of support system to the PAC would be the greatest help I could give. As far as my future with the PAC, I hope to continue my partnership with them for a long while. I hope I can continue to accomplish new things within PAC and ImproveCareNow.


Meet New PAC Members – read their stories

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