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Like a folded piece of paper – A guest post

I have another super-duper guest post, this time from Kayla from Intrestinal Fortitude

Kayla was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at 17, six years after struggling for answers

 

About Kayla:

Despite every bad thing I believed about myself, I fell in love with my second-grade crush, Jon. We have been married six and half years.

Against all odds and diseases (I was also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Dextra-Scoliosis, TMJ…etc.) we have two beautiful toddlers together.

I pushed myself through school, earning an Associates, and then a Bachelor’s Degree.

Writing has always been a passion of mine, so I decided to turn my struggles into a blog. I thought I could use my experiences to help someone, I never dreamed I’d be the one I helped the most.

If you’re interested in the words of a mom, wife, career woman, and chronic pain warrior with a history of surgeries and a penchant for worst case scenario anxiety, I invite you to join me on my journey.

IntrestinalFortitude.

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There are things about my childhood I will never forget: riding skateboards down the hill by my house, building blanket forts, and feeling like the world had endless possibility.

That didn’t always turn out to be the case. In some ways, I feel like I never was truly able to be a kid. While most of my peers had sleep-overs and went to school sporting events, I laid awake crying myself to sleep on the bathroom floor. I puked more than I ate and I bled a lot.




I often wondered what was wrong with me but I could never pinpoint the cause; my symptoms started around age 11 but didn’t progress until I was about 13 or so.

I think we try so hard to be grown up that we forget there is a lot of growing up in being a kid.

Visualize a piece of paper; now fold that piece of paper up and carry it around. Carry it around with you for six years (the length of time it took for a diagnosis) and pull it out from time to time.

Imagine this paper holds your thoughts.

What might it look like?

For me, it was filled with sorrow, heartache, feelings of inadequacy, regret, resentment, and even words of insanity. Picture yourself pulling out this paper every day, staring at the words of your life, and imagine that these words, for better or for worse, shape you. The current you and the future you.

It took a long time for me to understand that I might not ever understand. There was never one thing I could attribute all of my feelings to, at least not then.

I had a doctor who told me I was a spoiled, bored kid, with nothing better to do but waste everyone’s time. I was 15. In his mind, none of the ultrasounds or blood work showed anything conclusive, and from my parents’ perspective, the “symptoms” were triggered by tasks–chores and the daily grind of living.

At 15, I believed myself to be mentally unstable. I feared doctors and needles which was another reason my parents had to believe it couldn’t be real; who would be scared of the people trained to protect you?

To my parents, I suppose my hesitance came off as not wanting to be caught faking the illness. But the hesitance was really about being tired of putting myself through painful and uncomfortable tests just to be told nothing was wrong with me.

Everything was wrong with me.

In March of 2007, I received a phone call notifying me that my labs were fine but that I was iron anaemic, I guess that was something.

I had become accustomed to these types of phone calls so it didn’t faze me. It angered me, sure, but what else was I to do? I can’t remember if the next phone call came hours or days later, but the doctor called my parents. They said I had lost so much blood that they were surprised I hadn’t started blacking out.

I was admitted to the hospital that day and was infused with two pints of blood and had biopsies taken. Looking back, it’s odd the things I remember. It isn’t like I expected to have a party or thought the world would become brighter because I was right… except, I guess I did want that. I wanted something or someone to acknowledge all that I had gone through in thinking I was crazy. During this time, the thing I regret the most is that I stopped believing in myself.

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So, to you fellow fighters I say: never stop believing in you. Never stop advocating for yourself.

I have kids of my own now, and I am grateful to experience the innocence and wonder of childhood, the way it was intended. It isn’t anyone’s fault that I had to grow up the way I did and to be truthful, I am thankful. I could never be the girl I am today without the girl I was then. My story could never be finished without that folded piece of paper.

If you would like to follow Kayla on her blog or social media you can do so by clicking the links below!

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Also published on Medium.

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