April 17th is No Shame Day. A day where people like me can talk openly about their disabilities. My name is Brenna and I have Crohns Disease. It’s been 5 years and a crazy journey that started during my freshman year of high school. Crohns is an irritable bowel disease that can affect the entire digestive system. It’s an autoimmune disease where your immune system mistakes your cells for foreign invaders thus causing massive amounts of inflammation and pain. My disease is primarily in my ileum in my small intestine. I now have a build up of inflamed scar tissue, called a stricture, in my intestine so thick that a colonoscopy camera can’t push past it to get a better visual on the rest of my system. I was on remicade for 4 years, until I grew immune and now I’m unmedicated and scared. I worry daily about hospitalization and medical bills. Living this way, I forget almost what it was like pre-disease. I get infections at an alarmingly easy rate because of the immunosuppressive drugs. It makes things like getting my nails done difficult. My weight is all over the place as steroids make me gain and sickness makes me shed all my healthy weight. My skin is definitely changed. I break out and react to things more often, I can also no longer tan as remicade has made me increasingly photosensitive. This disease at times embarrasses me. Makes me feel ugly, unworthy, and like I’m complaining about stuff that doesn’t matter. Some days I feel like I should just “get over it” and push through it like a healthy person. Then the next, I’m in the hospital for a serious obstruction. Many people will look at me and say I’m healthy, but invisible diseases matter. My pain is real and my struggle is real. I used to feel like if I didn’t give off the appearance of a healthy person, no one could love me. Today, I have a fiancé who loves me more than I think I’m worthy of, crohns and all. I’m in college online because it works with my schedule and between my symptoms. One day, I know I’ll find remission and the daily pain will stop. Until then, I’m beautiful and I can take on the world one step at a time.
Unveiled at the New York Auto Show
Kelley Blue Book