After having two of my daughters diagnosed with IBD, I have learned that sometimes it’s just not possible.
Abby is a typical 18 year old girl, her days consist of going to school, texting with friends, posting pictures and all of the things teenage girls do. She loves to sing, dance, and is a straight A student. By looking at or talking with her you would never know she has been living with Crohn’s disease for almost 14 years. In early 2003, at age 4, she started experiencing bloody stools, stomach pain and was frequently waking up at night to use the restroom. We went back and forth with our Pediatrician for about 8 months until he recommended we see a GI Specialist. After many tests and a colonoscopy, Abby was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.
We were in shock. What was Crohn’s? How did she get it? How do we tell a 4 year old girl she has a chronic disease?Once we had a diagnosis for Abby, it was tough to find a medicine that worked for her because many of them were not made for a young child to take. We tried repackaging them in smaller pills, hiding them in various foods and just about anything to get her to take them. Finally in the spring of 2004, the medication started working. Abby never complains about living with a chronic illness. She doesn’t love having to get colonoscopies or infusions, but has accepted it as part of her life.
In 2012, I found Team Challenge and decided to run a half marathon in honor of Abby. My sister in law, Emily, joined me and it was such a positive experience for the entire family that we ran again in 2013. We met so many other people that had been affected by IBD, and the support of our Team Challenge family would prove to be helpful in the years to come.
Our journey with IBD took another turn when, at the beginning of 2015, my oldest daughter Ashley began having similar symptoms to Abby’s. We went through the same sense of shock as we learned that, like Abby, Ashley had Crohn’s Disease. Ashley went through a rough 18 months of testing, including new medicine which helped, but caused horrible side effects.
Fortunately, both girls are now doing well with the help of medications that were developed in part due to funding by the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, and programs like Team Challenge. This is why Emily and I decided to run again this past winter. Abby and Ashley are our inspiration, and while we’re thankful that they’re doing well currently, we don’t want any other families to have to endure what ours has gone through.
We’ll continue to fight until there is a cure!
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