These special people inspire us with laughter and wisdom. Read their personal stories -- or share one of your own.
Philosopher Wayne Dyer once said that, "When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change." When I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2008, it was easy to fall into a mode of feeling isolated and alone during periods of flares. I forgot what life was like as an energetic and healthy young professional. The expectation of a healthy life and the unfair reality caused a lot of unnecessary suffering. What I learned is that we all have the option to dance with life. Crisis can open a door to a new opportunity, a loss can be seen as a gain, and a breakdown can turn into a breakthrough.
Samantha Rittenberg's Story
I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis when I was four-years-old. I was the third generation in my family to be diagnosed, so my parents were ready for what we were going to face. At least that's what we thought at the time.
Samantha Rynearson's Story
My name is Samantha Rynearson. I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in January 2013 after an entire year of tests, labs, scopes, and more. My Crohn's disease was originally classified as mild, and was able to be controlled by pills. My pregnancy with my daughter, Jude, put me into remission for nearly an entire year, which was sweet bliss.
My name is Jessica and I have Crohn's disease. That sounds odd to say, it's like I have a second part to my name, Jessica, Crohn's disease. But as many of you know, it is not too far off to have Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis closely linked to you.
I woke up one day to the worst stomach pain imaginable back in the summer of 2015. I was vomiting uncontrollably and didn't understand why. Nothing would stay down, not even water. It felt like I was being tortured because it just wouldn't let up. I was put through a multitude of tests and finally discovered that I had been living with Crohn's disease for the past two-three years, and guess what? It wasn't going anywhere!
Ostomy Awareness Day got me thinking about, quite simply, how many people I’ve known throughout my life who didn’t realize that I have an ostomy. The list of people is probably longer than it should be.
At first I shrugged it off when my surgeon informed me they found three tumors in the inflamed and ulcerated colon they had removed from my body. I figured, they caught it early and it's been surgically removed. It's time to live the rest of my life and discover who I am as a person without the unbelievably high anxiety and stress of having to be near a bathroom.
Externally at 6-foot-4-inches and 200 pounds, Kansas City Royals pitcher Jake Diekman looks healthy and fit. Internally, he struggles with ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease that he has lived with for the past 21 years.
Standing at 6 feet 9 inches tall and 230 pounds, it’s hard to imagine Larry Nance, Jr. as anything but the impressive athlete that he is today. But there was a point, not too many years ago, when Larry could barely get out of bed, let alone play basketball.
Thoughts from a Camp Mom
It’s difficult to see a loved one in pain and distress and not be able to do anything about it.
IBD does not define who you are, it does not dictate who or what you will become. And one day, it won’t exist. Until then, we fight relentlessly without reservation.