When my daughter was first diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, my brother, a long time Crohn's fighter, warned me to stay off the internet. He told me that all I'd see was horror stories, because the people who were responding well to treatment and living full lives were not the ones on the internet talking about how great they felt. Although not entirely true, he did have a point.
It's very easy to get sucked down the internet rabbit hole of sad and terrifying IBD stories, and while those stories need to be told, I think it's really important for good mental health to focus on the positives. The inspiring stories are out there...they're just a little harder to find sometimes...until now. ;)
Today marks the kick-off of a new series I'm calling "Fighter of The Week." This is my attempt to shine a light on the inspiring stories of the people who are fighting IBD each and every day, so that they are easier to find among all the darkness. I, personally, find it comforting to hear about people who are living and thriving with IBD inspite of the challenges they face and I hope you will too.
It is not my intent to sugar-coat this disease, but rather to acknowledge that there are people who are making the best of a bad situation. These are the people I hope my daughter will look up to as she gets older and who will inspire her to know that IBD doesn't have to stop her from doing anything she wants if she keeps the right attitude about it.
I know these stories won't take away the bad stuff, but hopefully, by focusing on the positives, the bad stuff will seem a little less bad. I sincerely hope that you'll be comforted, energized, hopeful and strengthened emotionally from reading these stories.
Now, without further ado...I am honored to introduce my muse for this series...IBD Fighter of the Week: Savannah Stone.
I found Savannah (aka: @SavvyStone) on Instagram recently. This picture of her in the hospital caught my eye...largely because her smile seemed so out of place in the context of a hospital bed with a needle stuck in her arm. Giving a thumbs up, even! Then I read the comment she had written to go with the photo and I got chills. Here was a girl so sick and yet, still so grateful for all of the good things in her life. What an optimist...truly a girl after my own heart! I immediately contacted her to ask if it would be ok to share her photo and comments on my blog. She enthusiastically agreed, stating that she had gained her inspiration from others and wanted to pass it on.
Have a look at what she had to say...I highlighted my favorite parts. ;)
"I had my 5th colonoscopy on Wednesday. The doctors have found that my Crohn's has moved from my small intestine to my bowel, and I have multiple fissures. It has progressed from moderate Crohn's to severe. I start medicine next week, Humira. That sucks, but you know what you see in this picture? Me smiling.
Why? First off because I was about to get some "Mother's Milk" to knock me out cold, and that stuff is awesome, but secondly, I'm smiling because I'm happy. I'm happy that I have the ability to have colonoscopies and to be able to afford medicine. I'm happy to live in a world of advanced medicine that allows me to live my life even if I take a few detours. I'm happy because it could be worse. I'm happy because I have a family that supports me and friends that show their unconditional love. I'm happy because no matter what happens, I know I am strong enough to make it through.
I've learned so many things since being diagnosed at 14 years old, many of which were to love my self and appreciate every damn day. Life is so fragile, I mean SO fragile and it could end at any minute for anyone. I've come to accept this. No, I'm not dying, or at least not any faster than normal people, but still, you never know what may happen. Life is scary and unfair, but that's just it-- it's life. No promises, no guarantees, nothing.
Be happy at all times. When something brings you down, think about how it is making you a better person. It can always be worse. So for me, for your family, or for yourself, smile. Laugh. Love. Be happy. You're worth it."
And check out her tags...#soinspiring!!
#behappy #bestrong #love #life #smile #crohns #crohnie #crohnssucks #CrohnsDisease #crohnsawareness #dontworry #giggle #breathe #instawow #colonoscopy #hospital #stillsmiling #appreciate #everything #everydayisagift
If Savannah's words inspired you, leave a comment on her photo to let her know...or support her journey by following @SavvyStone on Instagram. (By the way, today's her birthday, so make sure you wish her a Happy Birthday while you'e there!!)
I hope you're as excited about this series as I am. I'll try to post these stories on Mondays as often as I can, so you can start your week off right. I'll be featuring my next Fighter on September 29th and will be doing my first giveaway in conjunction with that post. (You like jewelry, right??) Be sure to check back for all the details!! And definitely keep in touch at any of the links below or subscribe to this blog so you don't miss a thing! Thanks so much for stopping by and have a HAPPY week! You're Worth It!! XOXO, Cindi
Be Happy Image via The Grass Skirt Blog