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What Crohn's Disease Cannot Take From Me

In the three years since my diagnosis, Crohn’s disease has taken many things. My new life has been a constant game of tug of war: with every tug toward illness and despair, I dig in my heels and begin the fight for health and positivity. While I’ve gained so much ground, earning uncompromising strength, compassion and knowledge of the human body, I have lost a few things. My pace has slowed and my priorities have adjusted without my consent. I have mourned the old me who was full of fire.

Crohn’s has stolen my energy. It has mangled my blonde locks like a 3-year-old with scissors. It has taken my friendships and altered them, requiring more maturity and understanding. Some relationships, unfortunately, did not make it. It has taken my time, frittering it away in waiting rooms, exam rooms and hospital beds. It has condemned many of my favorite foods; vegetables, apples and granola are all distant memories. The monster has even ransacked my colon! Crohn’s disease has taken many things, but there is so much more it will never touch.

Crohn’s disease cannot dilute my creativity. The wonders I can create are my own sentimental reminders that though my hands may shake, they still craft beautiful gifts.

Crohn’s disease cannot steal my endearment toward children and their hearts. Nor will it make my heart guarded against starting my own family.

Crohn’s disease cannot steal away my self-esteem. I am helpful, caring, sarcastic, intelligent, funny, bull-headed and sincere. My winsome soul shines through dark circles, stretch marks and scars.

Crohn’s disease cannot rob me of my love for ’90s music and bad dance moves. You can bet your bottom dollar, whether flaring or in perfect health, you’ll find me doing the cabbage patch to my *NSYNC playlist!

Crohn’s disease cannot snatch my love for animals. I will always bring home the stray and love him. And let’s be honest, nothing’s better than puppy cuddles on a bad gut day.

Crohn’s disease will not trap me in a world of negativity and fear. I will use my experiences to elicit hope, strength, love and acceptance. I will support my fellow patients and encourage them to continue to follow their dreams. I will strive for the best in life. I will enjoy the little moments and laugh in the face of anxiety. My life will continue to be filled with joy and delight. I will be proud of every milestone I reach, no matter how long it may take me. I will celebrate every victory over this autoimmune disease. I have and will always have a tenacity to reach my goals and overcome any obstacle.

I have Crohn’s; it does not have me.

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