Meet my best friend I never asked for, Crohn’s disease.

My life forever changed when I was 6 years old, the year 1998.

I didn’t get my first kiss, that one happened much later in my life.  If I remember correctly, boys still had cooties then too. Don’t some of them still do?

I didn’t get my first pair of jelly sandals. Any of my 90s girls remember those things? Okay I am sure I totally did, but that one is not memorable enough to qualify as a life changing moment.

At age 6, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. I wish I could go back and talk about how this diagnosis came about, all the events and tests leading up to this life changing news. I really wish I could. But I cannot. I do not remember any of that. The memories are extremely fuzzy, pretty much not there. All I know is that 1998 is when it happened. I have a tattoo on my wrist to prove it.

One thing I do remember was being in Alabama on vacation when my mom began to realize that something was up with me. Something was not right. After that vacation, I am sure that things got a bit crazy with tests and needing answers. I will say it again,though, I don’t remember.

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As I think back on it now, I have realized that perhaps there is a reason that I do not know how this crazy adventure of living with a chronic illness all began.

Perhaps I am supposed to remember those early years as just that, early years of being a child and having no cares in the world.

Perhaps I am supposed to remember rocking my jelly sandals and running away from boys on the playground because they had cooties, and vacations in Alabama.

In the end, would remembering the beginning stages of my illness change the future and present stages? It wouldn’t. I have countless memories and stories of the years that would follow and my journey of living with a chronic illness. Crohn’s disease is a part of my life, a big part. No matter what life brings, Crohn’s will always be by my side. As time has passed and I have gotten older, I have realized that I am okay with this uninvited best friend for life. Does this best friend suck and totally get on my nerves the majority of the time? It sure does. However, just like most best friends, this friend named Crohn’s has shaped me in to the person that I am today. It is a part of my that is never going away, and that is okay.

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