Life is ultimately full of choices. I know what you are thinking and things do happen. You get hit and suddenly stuck in circumstances. What I have learned, though, is that you always have a choice. You choose how you want to react and choose how you want to move forward. You can either choose to break down, give up and cry or you can choose to wave your white flag.
Trust me, I have had those days and I have shared those feelings. Ultimately, I chose to pick myself back up and wipe away the tears. I chose to move forward while remaining positive. Most importantly, I chose to not only get through my hardest moments, but fight through them. Because of the strength I have gained through the trials and challenges brought forth due to my illness, I have been able to face anything and everything life has thrown my way.
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease during the summer of 2010 and my condition at the time was so severe that loved ones were concerned for my life. I suffered from extreme appetite loss, debilitating stomach pain and chronic vomiting, all causing life-threatening weight loss in a short span of time. I was left malnourished, fatigued and weak. I was misdiagnosed three different times since my symptoms were not the typical ones associated with the condition. It took four emergency room visits to finally get admitted to the hospital. The repercussions of this illness affected much more than my diet, the aftermath ultimately impacted every component of my life. As I reflect on my life since my diagnosis, I realize that staying positive and choosing to stay strong at even my weakest moments was imperative to my recovery. I know that this is all easier said than done, however, but I also know firsthand how far this can take you.
What I recall most during this time in my life was needing to relate to someone else. I needed to know there was someone in the world who was able to handle it because if they did I could, too. That being said, I hope I can be that someone for you. It doesn't have to be Crohn’s disease, it can be any illness, loss, tragedy or obstacle that has left you feeling defeated. Whatever it is in your life that has made you feel like you simply can't move forward another day, I hope I can encourage you to muster the strength, the courage and the hope to get through. Even if it is the tiniest step, at least it is a step forward. I can say this because I have been there. I have been at the place where I really didn't know if I had it in me to live any longer. Somehow, I pulled myself out of it and found the will to live. I dug deep for the strength to fight.
During these stifling moments in life, your strength will be confronted like never before. Your relationships with loved ones will be challenged and, most importantly, your relationship with yourself will be tested. Ultimately, a new person will emerge. The silver lining? You get to decide who you become. I not only survived, but I am thriving like never before. So, now I hope I can give you the strength, the courage and the hope to get through life's toughest obstacles.
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