My Story: Meet Aria Love
As told by Aria's mother, Jill Love
Aria was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in August of 2011, a week before starting kindergarten. There is no family history of Crohn’s or colits and so the diagnosis was a total shock to us. She was put on a maintenance medicine and went into remission for 9 months. We thought, ‘This disease isn’t so bad.’ Little did we know what was ahead for us.
In May of 2012, her symptoms returned and she was hospitalized for a week. Over the next year, Aria was on a multitude of medicines. We had tried every medicine out there, including prednisone, Remicade infusions and Humira shots. These did not bring her any relief. She remained in a constant flare from May of 2012 until August 7, 2013. This is the day that has forever changed our lives.
Aria had a proctocolectomy (removal of her colon and rectum) with a J-pouch made in a 5-hour long surgery. She remained hospitalized for five days and was released. A day and a half after coming home, Aria developed an infection in her incision and ended up back in the hospital for another three days. She had an ileostomy bag for two months until her J-pouch (internal, makeshift colon) healed. On October 2, 2013, she had her second surgery where her ileum was connected to her J-pouch. The recovery time was shorter and she came home 3 days later from the hospital.
This has been one of the most difficult decisions we have had to make as parents, but the result has been amazing! Aria is now healthy, happy and has her childhood back. The strength she has is amazing. Aria, now nine, has been very active in speaking out and bringing awareness to Crohn’s and Colitis by speaking openly and publicly about her disease.
We spend many days contacting other families and children who are going through our same situation and offer them support. We have made many amazing friends along this journey and it is always bittersweet to meet new families suffering. The friendships that have evolved from meeting other kids with these diseases is amazing. You can see it on their faces that they are so happy to have someone who understands what they are going through.
We are thankful for our amazing support group of family, friends and the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America who have helped us along this journey. We are in this together!
For further information, call CCFA at our IBD Help Center: 888.MY.GUT.PAIN (888.694.8872).
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America provides information for educational purposes only. We encourage you to review this educational material with your health care professional. The Foundation does not provide medical or other health care opinions or services. The inclusion of another organization's resources or referral to another organization does not represent an endorsement of a particular individual, group, company or product.
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