Like most people, I’ve had my share of challenges in life. However, in March 2017 I was met with my biggest challenge to date. I started to feel sick with bad stomach pain. As time went on I noticed the pain was getting worse. I started to lose my appetite and was vomiting multiple times a day. My parents called the doctor, and they said it was probably a stomach bug. They recommended waiting two weeks to let the virus run its course.

Sadly, during that time, I continued to get sicker and my weight significantly decreased. In April, I went to the doctor and they did some tests that took a week to get results from. In the meantime, I felt exhausted.  Every day I alternated between vomiting and sleeping. And, I wondered “when will I get better?”

When my test results finally arrived, they came back positive for a bacterial infection called Clostridium Difficile (C-diff). I was prescribed an antibiotic, Flagyl, to treat it. Unfortunately, the medicine had the same side effects as the sickness. On the 12th day of my 14-day antibiotic course, I was worse. So, my parents took me to the emergency room, where I learned I was dehydrated and anemic.

I had to get IV fluid (which terrified me). The ER doctor said she was going to have the head GI doctor talk to me. I assumed that I would be leaving right after that and was excited to go home. The GI doctor explained that based on my x-ray and blood work, it looked like I had Inflammatory Bowel Disease. He went on to say it was chronic and had no cure. That’s when my Mom and I started crying. He explained there are two types of IBD: Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and that I was going to need a colonoscopy and endoscopy to determine if I had IBD, and if so what type. I wasn’t going home after all. I was admitted to the hospital to prep for the scopes.

I met so many different people during my hospital stay. Around 11:30 on my first night, a man came into my room and talked about God. He said, “God does not make bad things happen to people, he helps them get through the bad times.”  The next day I learned my hemoglobin count was 7 when the average is 14, and was told I needed two blood transfusions that day. I was so scared!  But through my fear, I found I could be thankful for the people that donated their blood, because it saved my life.

Two blood transfusions later, I was able to prep for my scopes. And again, I found myself feeling terrified. What if something went wrong? Somehow, I managed to get through them. Afterward, I received my diagnosis: ulcerative colitis. When I got back to my room, I facetimed my friends because that night was our junior prom. While I would have loved to go to my prom, my health was more important than anything else at that point and I just wanted to feel better.

Finally, after four days in the hospital, I was released to go home. My friends came over to visit me. They told me everything about prom and it felt like I was there. After everything I went through, I only missed three days of school and caught up on all my schoolwork. In addition, I had SATs the following week.

Today, I may struggle at times, but overall, I feel that I have overcome this very big challenge. And, that gives me confidence that I can handle any obstacle that comes my way. I get Remicade through an IV every few weeks and I’m no longer afraid. I’ve become much stronger mentally and have learned nothing can hold me back. While I may be weak physically at times, my mindset and willpower are now stronger than ever.


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