Melanie's Story

Patient Story
I was 12 when I found out I had Crohn's disease.

I remember crying my heart out when I heard that there was no cure. The idea of living with something forever terrified me, and it still does.

It isn't easy for me to talk about my disease, but I hope that sharing my personal story can help other kids who are struggling with Crohn's or colitis today.

People often ask me what it's like to have a chronic illness. I say it's like the worst on-again, off-again relationship you can imagine. And it's never tried to make it up to me with flowers or chocolates!

Have you ever been so tired that you couldn't function? That's what it's like every day for me. Between all the tests and drug combinations, sometimes I feel like a walking exam for doctors to poke and prod.

Having Crohn's at such a young age was especially difficult. While other kids were starting to grow, I was shrinking. People often asked if I was anorexic because they didn't know what I was going through. It was like I had this giant secret, and I didn't want to be asked about it.

It wasn't until I went to Camp Oasis that I was able to accept my disease and be comfortable with myself. I finally met other kids who showed me I had nothing to be ashamed of. Through the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation, I've made lifelong friends and found resources that I still rely on today.