01.11.01 Crohn’s Essay

I have had Crohn’s Disease for 10 years.

I wrote about it for a college essay. It wasn’t a pity me essay, but rather a look at all I have done essay. I revised it for this occaison:

I’ve always been a happy, go-lucky and energetic kid. For the first ten years of my life, I didn’t see this as anything special. I just was really into living life to the fullest. However, when I was eleven, I got the news that would affect the rest of my life.

Soon after I turned eleven strange things started to happen. I ended up at the doctors in December, and since she knew that Mom’s family had a history of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, she referred me to a Gastroenterologist. Dr. Israel knew something was going on so she ordered two tests and I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, the second IBD, with in a month of first going to the doctors. I was lucky.

One of my most vivid memories of the first few days was sitting at the kitchen table absolutely sobbing because I had to swallow pills for the first time. I wasn’t very good at it. Now, ten years later, I’m an old pro and can even take those horsepill vitamins no problem.

Ten years is almost half my life. It’s scary knowing that it has shaped who I am now. I like to think that I am a better person because of Crohn’s though, because having a chronic illness at such a formative age really put things in perspective for me. I became more self-aware at age eleven. I had a new purpose in life. I strived everyday to live my life as if I didn’t have Crohn’s. I became even more energetic and enthusiastic and I threw myself behind my schoolwork even more. I did not look or act like a “sick person” would.

But not looking sick did have it’s drawbacks. No one knew about my Crohn’s unless I told them. In the beginning, it would be extremely awkward for me to explain my disease, so I avoided doing so at all costs. When I first started at Boston Latin School, my seventh grade English teacher, who wasn’t fully informed of my condition, hassled me for going to the bathroom every day. But once she learned more about Crohn’s she realized that she couldn’t control when or how many times a day I went to the bathroom. I’ve come a long way from that awkward and secretive thirteen year old. Now my Crohn’s is nearly in remission, and I’m perfectly fine with telling people about it. In fact I told a whole class that I had Inflammatory Bowel Disease during a presentation where we were supossed to share about ourselves. The class was surprised to see how much I had overcome in my nearly six years at Boston Latin School.

I have even surprised myself at times. But for now I’m just dreaming of the day where I can list my accomplishments, like “I’m a New York Times best-selling author and I have been elected the governor of Massachusetts” and then casually say that I’ve done all this and more with a chronic illness.

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