The Evolution of Annie
This is me. July of 2010. Maybe August. I was very sick at this point. I was going to the bathroom multiple times a day and I do not know how I was out and eating.
This is me on my 14th birthday. Hours before I was at the doctor’s getting blood drawn and then I went on a torturous car ride filled with pain (that I kept quiet about by digging my finger nails into the palms of my hand)
This is the very end of August. These shorts are a size 14 and they were too big and you can tell that I have a thigh gap here. I just remember having many bruises and feeling very, very weak.
This is me in the hospital on September 9th, 2010. It was my brother’s birthday. I was really insecure about my face (blame Prednisone) so I didn’t want my picture being taken. I think I was on an all liquid diet at this point.
This is a pretty scary picture for me. This is me in December after months of Prednisone not working, it started to work when I started Remicade in October. I blew up like a balloon, hit my highest weight of 118 lbs and I had acne all over my face. I do not like looking at this picture. Let’s note the braces as well.
Here, it is February Break, 2011. I am in Lake Placid. At this point, I look better, but I felt awful. Lake Placid is the last time/place I had my Methotrexate and I remember screaming and crying in the shower of the hotel bathroom. I then entered my 36 days of clear liquid.
This is me post 36 day fast at the Boston Marathon. I have the netting on because I had just had my PICC line removed and my arm felt very weird with out it. It was almost like a safety blanket. This is where my health went up.
I hit this in the summer before freshman year. This is what 6mp did to me. I still had my moon face. And now, my hair was falling out and growing back in. I hated the way I looked. My hair was awful.
A few weeks before freshman year, I cut all of my hair off. This is me at Thanksgiving. Although looking back, I hate this hair cut. It has given me the hair that I have today and I am very thankful for that.
This is me July of 2012 in Florida. I was going through a bullying situation from my aunt. My hair grew out and I really loved the color and the way it looked. I was in remission for about a year at this point.
This is me during April Break. I hope that this is how people remember me. One of the biggest blessings I have received from having a disease is being able to laugh and enjoy life. You’ll see that in my next pictures.
This is from June 2013. I don’t take life too seriously anymore. It’s all about the little moments where you can be silly.
This is August 2013 at Camp Oasis. This is one of my best friends. You could never guess but this is probably one of the happiest I’ve ever been in the picture. I owe so much to her and to Camp Oasis. They both have made me a better person.
This is me when I went to Disney in October. I am still a girl. I love pink and sparkles and glitter and I love being a kid. I am comfortable in my own skin. If you look back to the first few pictures, you would learn that I was not then. But I am now. I can embrace who I am.
This is me in early November for my Confirmation. You can always count on me for a silly face. I was not feeling that great that day, but no matter what, you gotta keep your head up. Enjoy the little moments and love the life you have. I’m not getting a second chance, last I checked.
This is the last picture. This is me in Vegas, doing something that I love. It all comes back to IBD. My life is forever changed. You can see through these pictures. I may not have had the easiest time in recovering, but I am happy where I am right now. And I love the life I’ve been given.
At the inspirational dinner, they told us to hopefully expect a treatment that can cause permanent remission coming in 3-5 years.
I mean, not like that is too important or anything….
I’m already dreading my next colonoscopy.
I don’t even know when it is.
As most of you know (or I think most of you know…) I went to Disney World this past weekend. We went to Epcot on Friday, Blizzard Beach (their water park) on Saturday, and Magic Kingdom on Sunday.
We had multiple issues getting into Epcot on Friday that would be too costly to explain so I will move on to the real dirt.
What on God’s green earth is Disney doing?
Basically, there is no Disability Act, unless you have a wheel chair. If you have a wheel chair, you can go through the exits. (This is an observation. I do not know if this is accurate but we saw plenty of people being taken through the exit if they were in a wheel chair) I am going to assume so that there are not as many people and then can just get to where the ride is and wait their turn.
Go to guest relations. That’s where you will get something. This is what my sister and I got.
As you may or may not be able to see, we each got a “free” fast pass for the five people in our family. We were allowed to use it at any time and for any ride. Since we both have medical issues, we each got one. This ultimately was helpful because the fast pass lines were typically under five minutes long.
The one question I still have is if you can go back and get another one. I highly doubt so because the people at Disney work the entire day, not shifts. I think that even just getting a fast pass for all rides at anytime is the best option for them.
This is clearly not as helpful as it should be because we still wait in lines. Keep in mind, this was not applicable at the water park.
Despite all of this, we had fun and here are two pictures of me in Epcot, one at the end of Test Track (Awesome changes, by the way) and the second one of me in the Mouse Gear Store.
You can tell how much I love pink, right? But it’s actually not my favorite color, that’d be purple, or glitter.
Anyway, Disney was great but I feel that the New Disability Act isn’t even a thing. It just evens the playing field for all visitors, disabled or not.
Being in a quiet environment and then all of the sudden, your stomach has something to say.
3 years ago I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. It has not felt like three years, it’s felt like a lifetime. Soon it will be. But in the meantime, I have learned how to enjoy my life and love myself despite my disease.
I am a much different person but I am okay with that because I am a better person.
Thank you for supporting me through all of the times, good and bad. It means the world to me.
Three years are behind me, forever is in front of me (for the time being).
Laughter is especially important when it comes to Crohn’s. Let’s face it. Talking about Crohn’s means talking about what comes out of your butt. That’s kind of hard on a first date. But I’ve made it work for me because…wait for it…I just don’t care. Instead of building a cathedral of shame around a disease I didn’t ask for, I own it like a pair of high-priced designer jeans. Within a couple minutes of meeting me, if we veer anywhere near the subject of food or the bathroom, you’ll know within seconds that I have Crohn’s, because I will have made you laugh about it. I’ll tell you to use the bathroom before me, because the smells I make could kill a dragon.
So that’s why, 10 years later, I’m still spreading the message of healing through humor. People with IBD need to understand that they have something precious that on one else has:their story.
… If you approach your Crohn’s from a place of laughter, it will instill laughter in those around you and nothing makes you feel better. After all, poop is funny."