I had to grow up very quickly. While other kids were learning basic facts about life, I was learning what it meant to live with an autoimmune disease, and it sucked. I have spent a lot of time on the toilet and have spent a lot of time in the hospital, but I have also gained things from my experience with Crohns Disease.
I have learned that life is truly hard and anyone who believes that it isn't hard is living a lie. Everyone goes through their own crap and most of the time we ignore other people's crap and pretend it isn't there, but no matter how much I pretend my disease isn't part of me, it is still there. So I've stopped pretending that my life isn't hard and I've stopped pretending I'm not scared, because the truth is, I am scared, a lot. I am scared that I will never be in remission, I am scared that I will develop terrible side effects from the medicine. I've learned through all of this that:
"Strength isn't the absence of fear, it's the ability to admit you are afraid and keep fighting."
So in short, my Crohns has made me a strong and driven person, because each day is an uphill battle that I must fight. My Crohns has given me strength.
Many young adults claim that they are unique, but spend much of their time trying to fit in with everyone else. I am unique. I will never be like everyone else, and I am okay with that. I stopped trying to be like everyone else a long time ago, because it is never going to happen. My life isn't normal. It is not normal to give yourself IV fluids everyday and it is definitely not normal to be excited about having a port put in. But, my uniqueness is what makes me me, and I have confidence that I am just the way God wants me to be, disease and all!
My disease has also given me a drive to conquer my dreams. I have fought through so much to accomplish the things I am passionate about that there is no way that I am going to let my illness hold me back. If I didn't return to school every time a doctor told me they thought I should take a semester off, I wouldn't have made it out of the sixth grade. So even though it has been extremely difficult and at times I've thought about giving up, my disease has given me perseverance.
My disease has taken a lot from me, and I have had to give up a lot of things because I was sick, but If I only focused on the things it has taken from me, then I wouldn't be able to continue to fight my disease. Instead of focusing on the negative, I have chosen to see the things Crohns has given me as a gift. Crohns has made me a strong, confident, and driven individual and I wouldn't have it any other way. As you go through trials in your life, don't forget to look at how those trials can make a positive difference in your life. Despite my complaints about having Crohns Disease, my Crohns has made me the person I am today as I try to navigate my not so normal life.