It is human nature to struggle. Heck, our life is built on challenges; each one making us the person we have become today. Although some challenges are small, like fitting into that little parking spot because it’s the only one available or dealing with the annoying family member at get-togethers. However, some challenges are bigger. Maybe dealing with the loss of a loved one, being diagnosed with an illness, or losing a job. But what would I know? I’m only 13. My challenges must be little bumps in the road compared to adults’ mountains. But, I happen to know a little more about challenges than that of the average teen. So read on, may my story inspire you, fascinate you, or if you are just reading this to pass the time, read on anyway.
Ever since I was a little girl, my stomach hurt. I would get sick more often than all of my friends, and I was much shorter than most other kids my age. Of course, none of this made sense to my parents because I was fed probably an 85% organic diet, they made sure I was always enrolled in a sport and shoved vitamins down me daily (much to my disliking if they were anything but gummy bear vitamins). Being the good parents that they were, I had not just a pediatrician but a naturopath also! Well, they finally took me to get a blood draw around the age of nine, which was when I was diagnosed with anemia. Anemia is the lack of iron in the bloodstream. I was put on iron supplements in hope of curing the problem, but our success was dismal. For the next three years, we (as in my parents and I) searched for answers to the tummy aches and anemia. Despite taking a fair amount of iron on a daily basis, my body wasn’t storing the iron and the anemia wasn’t getting better. We considered possibilities such as Celiac Disease, which is the inability to digest gluten. What we didn’t realize though, was that the problem was bigger than mere anemia.
The day after New Year’s Day in 2013, I underwent a procedure that no kid should have to face, yet alone a 12 year old girl. It was a colonoscopy. Now you’re probably chuckling to yourself, it’s just a colonoscopy! But imagine being a pre-teen girl and undergoing that. Yeah. It sucked. But it had to be done. I was weak and pale, not to mention having sharp pains in my stomach. My health keeping me away from what I loved most, which was competitive gymnastics.
After looking at the results of the colonoscopy, my gastroenterologist diagnosed me with Crohn’s (meant to be pronounced, krones) Disease. Crohn’s Disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease. Doctors don’t know why someone gets Crohn’s Disease and it has no known cure, although you can be successful and in remission by taking daily medication. We were so happy to have gotten to the root of the problem, and even though we had a long recovery process ahead, we were thankful that I could finally flourish. Through the recovery process of getting on medication, eating a modified diet, and slowly getting back to gymnastics, I started to feel better than I could ever remember. It was truly amazing. I was putting on weight and growing taller. Finally! It was like a major Transformation Tuesday where you see this skinny pale girl, grow into a muscled, taller, happier, young adult.
Because of my struggle with Crohn’s, I have learned that your life depends on the way that you see it. You could be weighed down by your struggles or empowered by them. I could very well have chosen to identify myself as only a girl who has Crohn’s, but instead I have chosen to identify myself as healthy and stronger than ever. I choose to embrace it, not to shy away from the matter. I choose to identify myself as a strong, intelligent girl who is even stronger because of Crohn’s. The same principle goes for anyone’s struggles. Whether they are big or small.
May you be empowered by your struggles, not weighed down by them. May you be an example for others to follow in your footsteps. Whatever that challenge may be.
Jordyn is an old soul residing in a 13 year old body. She is active, happy and shares her golden light with those around her. We are privileged to have her share her story with us.