Recently, I sent my Grandfather from out of town a surprise package. I took the time to search through all of the wonderful LOOP posts made by PAC members and pulled out all the posts I have written. I compiled them into a word document and attached the pictures as well. I made the font decently big and separated each article to make it easy to read. I printed a copy, wrote my Grandpa a note and sent the package on its way to Pennsylvania.

A week later I called my Grandpa and Grandma’s house to see if my package made it there safely. There was so much joy in my Grandpa's voice as he explained what it meant to him that I had sent my stories. I wasn't looking for any applause for taking time to send him something. I did it because I care. And I was surprised when he told me that reading my stories had taught him so much about me and about IBD! I was surprised because I figured that he knew most everything about my health already. But he told me that he was so elated to read each and every story and that it made him feel more connected to me and most certainly explained more of what it's like to live with this disease - the ins and outs, the emotions and the vulnerabilities.

For as long as I can remember, my Grandpa has always said: “Strong Like Bull”. He has preached this mantra my entire life. Over time, the meaning has changed for me, but when I picture him saying those words it helps me find strength and motivation when I didn't realize I had any left. This is something I will forever cherish.

Grandpa made me promise to never stop sharing my story and he promised that he would keep reading. So, here I am Grandpa, telling my story more because you made me realize that there is always more for people to understand. And you reminded me I'm strong enough to do this.

It’s people like you who make me feel proud of myself, even when I am feeling low. It’s people like you who make me want to speak up and help others who are going through this, even when I'm having a rough time. It’s people like you who remind me I have the support and strength to fight my disease, even when it wins sometimes. It’s people like you who help me be “Strong Like Bull” each and every day, mentally and physically, while fighting IBD.


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