My 2015 nights were filled with little sleep, lots of grueling bathroom trips (usually 15 per night, more during day), night sweats and general chaos, all classic symptoms of severe Crohn’s and Colitis. I hurt, I bled, sitting and standing was a struggle as my bones cried out. What weight I had gained since my last flare was dropping fast and I tipped the scales at a whopping 98 lbs. when I reached a point of not caring; the quality of life I experienced was not worth it, therefore any ounce of fighting back left me. I could not bear the thought of “you’ll have this autoimmune disease the rest of your life.” My pseudo air traffic control mind looked backwards into my world of Colitis Crohn’s Disease; a vivid picture of agony, physical, mental and emotional, using a walking cane and walker to accomplish what lots take for granted. The gaunt, exhausted person I recognized was pushing a cold, grey metal walker forevermore into a spinning world, head over feet, head over feet, never quite landing anywhere.

My parents raised my brothers and I to be independent and self-sufficient; this blasted condition had rendered me unable to even support myself. To top it off, I’ve worked and paid taxes since I was 16 years old – since I am not an illegal alien, pregnant nor have kids, I qualified for zero assistance, not even food stamps. I had exhausted my life savings, checking account, sold my car and was mounting a large credit card debt to pay for doctor/specialist visits, medications, expensive, non-allergenic food, you know, things we all can do without. SSA judge ruled that I wasn’t “sick enough” to be awarded disability. Apparently IBS and peri-anal disease are walks in the breeze.

I thought of where I would be in life had these medical cousins not encumbered me, remembering how Crohn’s Disease and Colitis had wreaked havoc and essentially stolen my life, plans, dreams, motivation and zest for life. If you recall, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Colitis a few months after graduating college. I had two coveted, formulated plans for once I graduated: return to the UK to live and work or earn my graduate degree from UNCW and work in ocean conservation PR and legislation. I strongly considered earning my B.S. in marine biology. A wise doctor, who oversaw this recognized UNCW department, guided me into PR, explaining that I would basically start college over again since my curriculum was arts oriented. I was already 35 and that did not interest me! On this continued academic quest, I laid plans for yet another move with pooch, found a place to live and had one potential employer request that I contact him once I graduated college! My late inventor uncle and I discussed his blueprint for producing biofuels; I began networking with DNR local to coastal NC parks –  Pooch and I were sitting on ready for the day I walked across the stage with degree number one.

All of that eroded over the years of disease progression and all I envisioned was history repeating itself over and over; after all, I was going to have this incurable disease “the rest of my life.” I was again – ready to meet my maker. When the enemy gives chase, he controls your mind and thoughts, if you give him the room. He had all the room he needed in my desolate mind and how he was working me.

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