Don't Let Crohn's Disease Stop You
As I was killing a few minutes before the school pick up line started, I happened upon an episode of The Doctor's about a woman named Nysha. Nysha was diagnosed with Crohn's disease when she was about 12 years old. When Nysha turned 25, after dropping down to a mere 25 pounds, it was determined that she needed surgery to regain her health.
Up to 75% of Crohn's patients may require this kind of surgery, according to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation (CCFA). In Nysha's case she needed all of her large intestine removed, a procedure called a proctocolectomy. After her intestines were removed, a hole or stoma was placed, connecting what was left of her intestines to a spot where an ostomy bag could collect any waste. This is called an ileostomy and it can be a major life-altering surgery.
What struck me the most about Nysha's story was not all of the medical terms or information. While The Doctor's did a wonderful job explaining Inflammatory Bowel Disease and the ileostomy procedure, Nysha's strength and spirit sent a message far greater than those facts.
Nysha, who is now in her 40s, has lived over 20 years dealing with her ostomy bag. She talked briefly about some of the downsides, like when her bag leaks or having to change her bag frequently. Mostly though, Nysha provided hope.
What the viewer took away from this episode is that, with the right attitude, you can do anything. Nysha's been married, been divorced (twice), been pregnant, owned her own business and LIVED her life. With joy. She didn't let her disease define or limit her. I believe she will be able to do anything she wants to do walking through life with strength and her signature sense of humor.
In her own words:
You know, having an ostomy, I dont think I would ever choose to have this but it did save my life and for that I am grateful. I love my life and I love every day. There are people way worse off than I am. Everyone has their problems and this, to me, is really minor. Life's messy, we all poop. Everybody poops. Even you.
Want another inspirational story on Crohn's? Meet Robert Hill, the first person to climb all Seven Summits with an ostomy.