Oh happy day :)

Today has been a day for the books. I honestly never thought I’d ever see this day happening. I’m so excited to announce to my blogger friends, fellow Crohnies, and anyone who follows my blog that I am officially in clinical remission!!! WHUUUUT! (Side effects from my last blog are starting to get sorted out and somewhat under control btw!) This is amazing. 16 years have gone by with little to no relief. I’ve worked so hard to keep a healthy mind dealing with all of the frustrations that comes along with being chronically ill and honestly sometimes I wasn’t too good at it. But, days like this make it worth those struggles.

I had my routine doctor appointment and was seriously astounded by my colonoscopy notes. I’ve never seen my doctor so happy. I can owe my life to these doctors out in Boston. Especially the one who pushed for me to go there in the first place, Dr. Essers. And the one who continued and still continues to follow my case and do literally everything he can to get me healthy, Dr. Snapper. These guys are the definition of what a doctor should be. Not only have they shared my frustrations with treatment failures but they’ve been by my hospital beds in the midst of my mental breakdowns. Dr. Snapper was by my side through my very difficult transition into adult medicine, which was one of my hardest times mentally dealing with the disease. They spend time with me, discuss my case with other doctors around the country, and give me the absolute best treatment they can offer. Dr. Snapper’s PA, Beth-Anne, is also just as amazing. She answers my emails off hours, she’s always there for me.

These people are truly incredible. They don’t just treat me, they fight for me. After countless of semesters having to withdraw because of hospitalizations I came to one of my biggest defeats yet: getting kicked out of nursing school because of my illness and knocked out immune system. But I wasn’t alone, Beth-Anne was there to fight for me. She called the school, she wrote a letter. What medical professionals take the time to do these kinds of things? I’m SO lucky to have them on my side. Any time I see them I’m not greeted with a handshake and hello but a hug, huge smile, and “it’s so nice to see you Michelle!”. I can’t ever get out of the office without getting a hug from the infusion nurse, Jane, and update her on any new boyfriends I have haha! (it’s always one of her first questions). These people are not only just my medical team but they’re family to me.

Nothing puts life quite into perspective like being chronically ill. Yes, I know there is no cure to Crohn’s Disease, and it could flare on me at any time. But these are the times that I don’t take for granted, how could you? I feel good! Writing this is almost bringing me to tears. I truly have such a good support system and I couldn’t do it without any of you. Friends from home, friends I’ve made from this blog, my family. I couldn’t do it without my PCP doctor Lao (who takes care of most of my side effects and is totally sick of me by now hah!), my local Walmart pharmacy who knows me by name haha. And last but not least my mom whose spent more hours than I can even count on the phone fighting with insurance companies to approve my $16,000 monthly cost of medications and has never let me go to a doctor appointment alone two hours away in Boston. She has slept next to me in hospital beds and hasn’t left my side. Also, never fails to laugh with me and make light of being chronically sick… AKA she is the person who keeps me sane through it all.

A lot is wrong with the world we live in… But don’t lose hope in humanity. There’s still good people out there. When it comes down to it life isn’t about politics, money, things, or even beliefs. To me, life is about the experiences I go through, the love I’m surrounded with, the bad days that make me appreciate the good ones, and that’s it. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. For these reasons never forget to show gratitude and thank those people in your life. Because I know, without them I’m not quite sure if I’d even be alive to see this day. The day I’ve been waiting for for over 16 years, and I couldn’t be happier to share it with all of you!

-xoMichelle

 

Fall Down, Get Back Up.

Days like this make you appreciate the good days. The frustration of feeling like crap all the time lately is really getting to me. Anxiety of not being able to go anywhere unless there is a bathroom within running distance -__- All of it that we deal with daily has just been magnified lately. Oh, and by the way some ofIMG_1006 you that follow my blog. I did end up getting kicked out of school even after going all the way to the top. At least the President of the school had some sympathy for me, thankfully he let us have some peace in all of this. I just want to give a quick shout out to the Director of Nursing and Dean of Health at STCC for making my life a living hell for two and a half weeks, threatening me via email/letter, along telling me to consider a new profession. (I’m still a little bitter) But anyways, I’m no longer attending nursing school this year, talk about a knife to the stomach. Literally, the stress sent me into a bigger flare than I was already in. But hey, that’s what this life is all about isn’t it. You fall down, you get back up. Everything happens for a reason.

Working my two part time jobs is about all I have in me to do. And yes, I feel like a piece of crap sometimes to the people around me. I feel we (us, Crohnies) often get labeled as “lazy” or “unmotivated” but what a lot of people don’t understand is the strength it takes to get through the day and still keep a smile on our face while doing it. Pain medication has almost become a daily thing now, which I hate, just so I can get through dinner with friends, getting out of the house, etc. But that shit (excuse my French) takes a lot out of you and also makes me pretty emotional.. More than your average girl on her period lol Speaking of periods, being in a flare and having your period at the same time is I think one of the worst things I’ve experienced. Thankfully I’m on birth control where I only have to experience this every three months hah God bless you ladies with complicated Crohn’s cases that get your period every month. I feel for you.

Since my colonoscopy my doctor has changed my whole medication regimen. I came off of the Entyvio and prednisone (thank the Lord). I am now on Uceris, Methotrexate, and Humira… Again. This is my second time on Methotrexate and my third time on Humira. I’ve never taken them together though so hopefully this is the lucky combination. I had a meeting today with my Humira Advocate and after she left I was thinking to myself: “Okay, I’ve had Crohn’s now for over 10 years and in the past 6 of those 10 I have never been in complete remission but I’ve been close to it for a total of maybe 6 months”. That’s kind of craziness. I have hope though that something will work, sooner than later.FullSizeRender (8)

With no cure, that’s all that gets us through this disease is hope. At this point my biggest hope is that these side effects don’t throw me over the edge and have to come off of the med like every other time. I’ve always said with Crohn’s, any other disease, or in a perfectly healthy person: life is quality, not quantity. Even though a lot of the time my quality of life is pretty shitty, the days that it’s good makes it that much better. You don’t know if you’ll be here tomorrow so do what makes you happy and feel good at that time and place. Don’t worry about what other people think, keep that smile on and do you.

-xoMichelle

 

Never Stop Living

Well well wellllll. Here we are again. The dreaded sleepless nights due to this awful drug prednisone. Although you feel like a million bucks on it (besides gaining 10 lbs. in a week) these side affects are brutal. My stomach hasn’t quite responded as fast as it usually does with the prednisone but side effects are still raging. I swear I am going to need hip replacements at age 30 and that is no joke. I’m on this stuff three times a year at least. At least this time it isn’t via IV or a hospital visit, although I shouldn’t say that too fast hah.

With everything in this world that is happening it actually makes me look at it in a positive way. My brother put it perfectly, this world is a ticking time bomb. You never know when your time is up. You could get in a car accident, or drop dead tomorrow by an unknown cause. I feel good on prednisone and living in the moment is all I can do. Right now I chose quality over quantity. My options are limited and I start my last available medication (unless something better comes out) either at the end of this week or next week. It was actually quite scary hearing my nurse on the phone tell me it’s my last option for now. I’ll take all the time I can get feeling good because for all I know it might not work, or like I said I could drop dead tomorrow. This might be looking at it in a negative way but I’m really not. smileeeOf course I want and am praying for this treatment to work! But for God’s sake live in the moment! I might have more health issues to deal with when I’m older, I’ve already accepted that, but you can’t live life to the fullest being so concerned with the future. Because after all, you might not be here. It might sound a little harsh but it’s thinking this way that has put that spark of life back in me that’s been dwindling down to nothing but a dull ember. Yes, Crohn’s disease is horrible and I wouldn’t wish it upon the person I hated the most but life could always be worse and why not live it how you want RIGHT NOW. Some people will never have that option. You are lucky to be in the ‘now’ and there’s nothing better than the present, living in it. Put a smile on and count your blessings!

 

WARNING: rant in progress…

I’m sure you’ve all heard about the ALS ice bucket challenge to raise awareness of ALS. It’s been blowing up the media and it really frankly pisses me off the people who are shitting on it and saying people are doing it for attention and all that. I think anyone with any kind of illness, chronic or not, would agree with me. I don’t care what it going viral for the internet or if no money is being raised (by the way donations have gone out of control of ALS woo!) but if something like this was done for Crohn’s I would be absolutely ecstatic, I would probably cry of happiness. Awareness when you have a disease is the one thing you want. You want someone to at least try to understand what you are going through. No one fully understands until they are the one going through it but I have had people say “oh yeah you have a bad case of diarrhea all the time” and its frustrating because this affects every aspect of my life even though “I look good”. This actually is one of the reasons I initially started this blog. To help people better understand what we IBD patients go through. That was just a rant though about the latest rage on social media. So shut your mouth and mind your own business. If you don’t want to support a cause keep it to yourself because the negativity is definitely not needed, grumpy pants people.

Anyways, a friend with stomach issues brought this hilarious article to my attention and I really felt the need to share it with my fellow Crohnies. http://www.healthline.com/health/crohns-disease/would-get. I think every point in this post applies to me, even the jury duty one haha. Nothing worse than interrupting a court room because you urgently have to poo and then trying to explain yourself!

Like I keep saying over and over. Laugh it off, we poop a lot. Although it’s much, much more than that, shit happens (ha) and some people might not understand but you don’t need those people in your life. Find your number 12 if you haven’t already (in the link above), live in the moment, be happy, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. SMILE! 🙂

meee

-xoMichelle

Who Said One Can’t Make A Difference?

One of my previous posts I wrote a letter to the President of Brigham and Women’s hospital about my stay. I had thought about it for a while and figured the first step in making a change or difference is letting them hear your voice. Basically, in short, I told her how awful it was staying in that small, cramped, white room for four days. Obviously, no hospital stay is roses and rainbows but I’ve had my fair share and this was definitely the worst of them all. My transition into the adult world was to say the least, a hurricane of emotions. Well, my letter must have made some impression because I got a call last week from the Brigham! We have been playing telephone tag for a little while now so I haven’t been able to actually talk to them but I made an impression! It’s crazy to think I did that. They’re actually listening! I never labeled myself as one to be proactive about that kind of thing, but this was different and so I went for it. It was a simple letter. I made a difference!

This just makes me think, imagine if everyone who had experiences like this voiced their opinion and was proactive about it. How much better could we make the world. It sounds corny, but it’s true. People do listen to you, they do pay attention. All it takes is for you to speak up. As cliché as it is but you miss 100% of the chances you don’t take. So go for it! Who cares what they say, if they don’t respond at least you tried. And even if you don’t get a response someone probably read or listened and now you have placed your thoughts in someone else’s mind to think about. All it takes is one person, one letter, one call. And more often than not, you will get a response.

They told me they’d take about a half hour of my time to ask me some questions. I don’t know what kind of questions they’re going to ask me when I talk to them, but I’m preparing myself for anything. I’m absolutely ecstatic they read my letter! I’ve been trying to come up with every possible question they might ask me.  I will write as soon as I here back from them and let you all know how my letter made a difference.

Next time you have a concern or certain experience that makes you think, bad or good, let them hear your voice! You never know whose listening!

Make-A-Difference

Keep on Smiling, Crohnie’s!

ImageSo another update on how my treatment is going.. I’m feeling really good tonight. In all aspects: physically, emotionally, and mentally. I actually feel great. My mom took my IV out tonight and I’m FREEEE! 😀

The prednisone did its job like it always does. Now I just have to keep up with my dose on oral meds. Kind of sucks though because I just started getting moon face; if you’ve ever taken prednisone you’ll know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. That’s the only frustrating part, but hey I’d take feeling better right now over anything! And something interesting, I have a herniated disk in my back which I’ve mentioned before if you’re a returning reader, but being on such a high dose of prednisone via IV has actually helped my pain. I’m planning on getting my butt back in the gym tomorrow! I’m so excited! Bought some hot new pink leggings just for the occasion 🙂

 

Feeling better has really brought some zest back into my life. Even though it’s only been a coupleImage days of feeling good you really learn to appreciate these times the most. With this unpredictable disease we have constant sudden ups and down. Never take one of those days of feeling good for granted. I know I don’t. I get up in the morning, look in the mirror, and can see myself glow at the start of a good day. I’m not a depressed person and never have been. Yeah we go through bouts of depressing times but you need to learn to cope with it. Life gives you lemons, squeeze those suckers and make some lemonade. Climb to the top of that mountain and overcome it. It will get better.

 

I talked to the doctor that is running the fecal transplant trial in Boston the other day and he told me I am most likely going to be entered into the study because it looks like I will qualify! I have high hopes that this could help me in the long run. It will be a rough month of several trips and testing done in Boston (2 hours away from my home) but hopefully it’ll be worth it. You get to the point you will do Imageanything to have a couple weeks or months of feeling good.

My head right now is in a really good place. I haven’t looked at myself in a while and thought “I look good” because I felt so sick. I’m finally getting my confidence up again and putting that big smile back on my face! Despite the IV I had stuck in my arm, I went out Saturday night with my girlfriends and had a blast dancing for a lot of the night. I haven’t had that much energy in a while. Yes, it didn’t last long but to even be able to go out and do that is amazing for me!

Took my trazadone tonight so I’m dozing off, just wanted to update you and tell all you Crohnies out there keep on smiling! 🙂

Image

Happy Day Today!

YIPPPEEE!!! No hospital for this chicka today! 😀

IMG_5321

I was expecting to be admitted to the hospital today by my doctor in Boston for IV prednisone. But, he was nice enough to set me up with IV home infusions so I can be in the comfort of my own home. He is truly amazing! I am so thankful to have a doctor who is willing to work with other people to get me the best care possible. Him and my primary care doctor (who is also amazing) have been back and forth on the phone trying to figure this out for me. I cannot even contain my excitement that I will be able to be doing this at home. This is the first time I have ever done this and I am praying it works.

Today I felt pretty good, besides the morning. But, I always have bad mornings, that is my worst time of day with this disease. Got out of the house for a little while and ran some errands. Oh! and I finally found something to help me sleep! Not my favorite choice of going to another pill to treat this but the prednisone was making it unbearable. My doctor prescribed me Ambien. I was very hesitant to take it because when my mom had her thyroid out because of thyroid cancer she was too deprived of sleep and put on this medicine. But… it made her CRAAZY! Like homicidal crazy. We laugh about it now but it was very scary! Medicine does strange things to you that are beyond your control. She noticed it after one dose and thankfully stopped it! I took my first pill last night and it worked wonderful! I haven’t had any side affects yet, fingers crossed.

I start my IV infusions tomorrow morning. A nurse will come to my house, put in my IV line and mix up my meds then she will teach me how to work it. I’ve watched and had so many IVs taken in and out I could probably do it with my eyes closed. Although I have never administered my own drugs so this should be interesting. I’m glad my doctor trusts me enough to do this! But anyways, she will teach me this and I will receive two half hour sessions of IV prednisone via IV. When I’m not hooked up to the medication I am able to do what I want! Well.. mostly. I will still have the line in my arm but I have so much more flexibility than being in the hospital. This is new for me and I’m so excited! I will keep updating you on this whole process.

IMG_4396

I am just happy I’ll be in the good company of my pups! I haven’t talked much about them but they are a godsend to me. I have three. Two Maltese: Zoey and Sugar and a golden retriever: Jackson. They are always by my side when I’m sick. It’s actually pretty amazing. And it’s amazing what the comfort of a dog can do. It’s a sort of bond that you cannot get with another person. Despite my illness I am pretty much obsessed with animals.. dogs especially. I couldn’t live without one. They’re always there for you. When I have my breakdowns about being sick and tired of being sick and tired I ALWAYS have a furry friend next to me licking my tears away. Jack even keeps me company when I have to sit on the toilet for hours at a time! They never fail to put a smile on my face. But then again, looking at these faces, how could it not make you smile! 🙂

IMG_5083IMG_5869