Hi! I’m Becky! Thanks for visiting this site!
So, here’s a little bit about me… I am 14 years old (now 17), and I live near Chicago, Illinois with my awesome parents, 2 crazy brothers, and a little sister. I love playing soccer, running, drawing, playing the piano, and feeding my candy addiction. From the looks of it, I’m a pretty “normal” teenager. I mean, no strange antenna sticking out of my head, no pet unicorn, no invisibility cape. But, in reality, no one can truly be “normal”; it’s impossible. Everybody has something different about them, whether it be a secret love for broccoli (seriously? 🙄 ) or an amazing gift in music. Now, while there are many things about me that may stand out from the crowd despite my “normal” appearance, I have created this blog to focus on a big one. Crohn’s disease.
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s at the age of 8. First came the doctors. At the time, I had never even known there existed a type of doctor beyond a standard pediatrician, much less recognize the term “inflammatory bowel disease.” Then came the tests. I underwent a series of procedures I now refer to as “the usual”, in which I was poked and prodded in ways a second grader should not be, to put it lightly. Now, while I am so fortunate to receive care from some of the best GI doctors in the world, and take medications that let me live my life as a “normal” person, I still can’t deny that IBD is there. It is.
However, I have found that despite all the pain and all the anger I have felt with myself and my body, as dumb as it sounds, my disease has given me so much in return. Crohn’s has given me the ability to look awesome even when I feel crappy (yes, I went there). Crohn’s has given me a pain tolerance that allows me to tell jokes while getting 6 tubes of blood taken. (Darn them vampires!) Crohn’s has given me the ability to function like a human even when I have the energy level of a dead fly (dead is your key word there). Crohn’s has given me the patience to answer detailed questions about my bathroom habits to the doctor, the fellow, and the research associate, all without dying of embarrassment. Most importantly though, and in all seriousness, Crohn’s has given me this. This incredible platform in which I can inspire others (and even myself!) to accept us for who we are, and to not feel shame in being different even if nobody else can see our struggles.
About This Blog
While there are tons of articles, books, and websites written about IBD, many of which are authored by those living with IBD, none of them; I repeat not a single one of them, are written by kids. And let me tell you, I’ve searched. For six years. Now, for an adult, it’s easy to say “kids just don’t understand those types of things” or “kids don’t know enough about medicine to say that.” But hey, I’m a kid, and boy do I know a lot about Crohn’s! However, even for those kids and teens who understand their IBD, accepting it and being public about it is not so simple.
For example, when your friend (assuming they don’t know anything about Crohn’s) asks you why you’re eating gluten free all of the sudden, you don’t say “well, I’m not allergic, but I have this thing called Crohn’s disease, and it causes blah blah blah to happen, and so blah blah blah blah.” They would drop dead of boredom before you even uttered the first sentence! The annoying thing is, it’s not your fault; you were just trying to give an honest answer to an innocent question. So, to avoid boring someone to death (even if you might want to 😀 ), if you’re anything like me, you’d probably say “oh, uh… stomach problems?” with a fake smile, questioning yourself because even you know that’s not exactly the answer. I mean, Crohn’s isn’t the most, well, glamorous subject to start a conversation over, but as sufferers, in no way does that mean we should have to hide the truth of our condition from the world. But sadly, without any books, articles, or websites written by someone I could relate to, that is exactly what I did. Until now.
I’ve created “Livin’ the Crohn’s Life” as a resource that kids and teens living with IBD can depend on. This blog provides both information and inspiration that will help you feel confident about your disease without letting it rule your life. This site is the first of its kind; it’s a site for kids with Crohn’s, by a kid with Crohn’s, about kids with Crohn’s. It is my hope that through this blog, I can help others just like me be proud of who they are not “in spite of” Crohn’s, but with it.
This blog isn’t here for me to tell a sob story of how my diagnosis ruined my life. Because it didn’t. I’m not denying that there isn’t pain, and there aren’t suckish times, (and I sure would love to not take 5+ types of stomach medicine and still feel sick), but I’m also not letting my disease stop me from living a life I am proud of and happy with. I want this site to show kids and teens that it’s okay to be different. It’s okay to take pills with obnoxious names, and get shots that are featured in commercials for old men with arthritis, and drink Ensure instead of eating the super-spicy-fire-bomb tacos all your friends are eating. It’s okay to do all of the stuff you need to do for your body without feeling ashamed and trying to hide IBD, because taking care of your needs isn’t something to feel bad about. Everybody’s different, and everybody has their “stuff”, and that’s not something to be ashamed of. Sometimes, our differences and our “stuff” is just invisible. (I mean, those of us with IBD are pretty cool; we can look awesome even when our immune systems are spazzing out. You’ve got to be pretty freakin’ awesome to do that! 😆 )
“Livin’ the Crohn’s Life” combines humor, information, and inspiration to create a place where kids and teens with IBD can feel good about themselves and their disease. It’s a place where we can embrace our condition, yet not let it define us. Yes, life is hard. Yes, Crohn’s sucks. A lot. However, with humor, optimism, and confidence, we can overcome the challenges of Crohn’s disease, spread awareness of our condition, and accept ourselves with IBD, not in spite of it.