My story may not pull at your heart strings, but it is my story. In 2003, I became a Registered Nurse. I was finally doing what I enjoyed. I got to take care of people and get paid for it. I took care of my patients, my friends, and, most importantly, my family. Never did I ever imagine that one day I would rely on others to take care of me.
In January of 2010, that all changed. At the age of 29, I was being sent for a CT scan of my abdomen. I had been in pain for 2 days and, finally, one of the doctors I worked with said that was enough and sent me for the test. I didn’t know what to think. I just thought it was a pulled muscle or, at worst, my gallbladder. The results came back suggestive of a Crohn’s flare up. I remember thinking “whatever, I don’t have that”. I faxed the results to a GI doctor and 4 hours later I was being admitted to the hospital for more testing. The final diagnosis: Crohn’s disease.
During my stay in the hospital, I missed my son’s 4th birthday party. Not only did I now have a diagnosis of a chronic illness but I felt terrible because I wasn’t there for my son. I didn’t know what to think. Now the journey began. My doctor and I had to work to find the right medication to help control my disease. Unfortunately, none of the oral medications worked. I was soon placed on IV Remicade. So, here I was, now relying on people to give me my medication. Every 8 weeks, I went into the hospital and sat in a hospital room for 4 hours while I received my medication. Everything was going good or so I thought.
In December of 2010, I went into the ER because of a flare up. I was given morphine and started back on steroids. I slept for 15 hours and ended up missing my shift at work. Upon waking, I realized I had several missed calls from my job. I immediately called to explained my situation. Everyone knew I had Crohn’s. I never went back to that job because the next day I was terminated. I now had no insurance and no way of getting my medication.
My doctor put me on 2 different drugs in hopes of controlling my Crohn’s until my insurance kicked in. Things were good for awhile but in April of 2011, I was in the ER three times because the pain had gotten the best of me. Then in May, my insurance kicked in. My doctor placed me on Humira at that time. I had given family members and patients injections but now I had to face the reality of giving myself one! I knew I could do it but I never imagined how much each shot would hurt. Now, every other week, I count to 3 and press the plunger on the injection. I know the pain will come but I also know this medication is working for me. With my last shot, my son, who is now 5, asked how come I didn’t say ouch? I told him I was being brave and said it in my head. He looked at me and said “It’s okay mommy. You can say it out loud”. I did the only thing I could think of. I held him tight, told him I love him, and cried.
So with my head held high and peace in my heart, I will fight like a girl against this disease. I will never give up!
The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.