IBD | Ostomy
I don’t remember what its like to not be the sick girl in the room. I started exhibiting IBD symptoms at a young age, around 11 . So I truly don’t remember not feeling crappy. I had my gallbladder removed my senior year of high school in hopes my symptoms would subside. Unfortunately my constant nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain were there to stay.
I got my official Crohn’s diagnosis in 2007, just after high school graduation, via colonoscopy and pathology. This diagnosis also took 2 or 3 different Gastroenterology (GI) doctors. For the majority of my medical journey I have dealt with facing doctors that either don’t want to listen or are quick to brush me off because I am young and female.
After my Initial diagnosis life was fairly “normal”. I had my son at 20 years old and ended up a single mother. I worked 3 jobs to support us, and worked my way through life. In March of 2013 my medical journey hit a metaphorical brick wall. I had been telling my GI there was something wrong and again I was dismissed. Very long story short, even the ER misdiagnosed me and I ended up having a horseshoe abscess around my rectum that needed to be drained in an emergency surgery. Ever since then my health has been a roller coaster of events. I have had close to 20 surgeries and countless hospital stays. August 8, 2017 I had my Loop Ileostomy placed.
My life has been crazy, full of ups and downs, but my medical journey has taught me how strong I am. I have been through things I never would have imagined, and I still stand here today. It’s taught me how to choose my support system, and not just rely on the people you think are supposed to be there in your time of need. It’s taught me to be more compassionate in my work. Prior to becoming disabled I was a CNA and a Medial Assistant, and I always used to say being on both sides of the johnny really helps you relate- so I feel I’m more patient with my medical team and more compassionate and understanding of my patients.
Michelle has had IBD symptoms most of her life but was diagnosed with Crohn’s at 18 in 2007. At 23, she experienced fistulas and abscesses that ultimately hit her pretty hard, leading to many other health problems. After struggling to stay working full time in the medical field Michelle chose to apply for disability and today, at 31 years old she is a stay at home mom to her 10 year old son and new wife!
Michelle came across GWG while in the hospital recovering from her Ileostomy surgery. Since then she has been part of the Pen Pal Angels and the 2018 Newbie retreat, and also a moderator on the Facebook forum, and now a dedicated blogger. Her interest in blogging comes from her late best friend who use to push her to do it. She decided to take the plunge into writing for the GWG forum because the sisterhood she’s gained through GWG has gotten her through some of the toughest patches in her life!