5 04 2012

Today I am ecstatic.

Over the past few weeks I’ve noticed that my energy level seems better, which tells us the Tysabri is finally kicking in. And now I have the official ok to start tapering my Prednisone over the next three weeks.

As long as everything goes according to plan, three weeks from now I will be completely off the Prednisone, which is more than glorious. I will be free of the crazy side effects and able to just feel like me again.

Thank you again for all your prayers, and keep them coming! Tapering Prednisone is always when the flares have kicked in in the past and I’m hoping to just avoid that this time. If this works, I will sing the praises of Tysabri. For real.


Body Image

14 12 2011

As you know, I’m on prednisone right now. And I’ll be really honest. It makes me feel really crappy about myself.

I’ve always been uncomfortable with how I look, and prednisone makes me gain weight and makes my face puffy plus gives me more insecurities by making my moods crazy bad.

I went to a CCFA meet and greet yesterday and a woman there said after I mentioned I’m on prednisone, “Oh, I can see you have the moon face.”

What? Really? That’s something that I can see in myself but was hoping other people didn’t see. And that comment cemented this impression in my mind of a giant face. And being on prednisone makes me fixate on it more. It’s this terrible cycle of badness.

Today in class we had this really neat activity where the kids did a scavenger hunt around the school to discover facts about different countries. They wrote their facts down in a passport. As the teacher was explaining how to fill out the first page of the passport, including height at weight to make it feel more real, a girl raised her hand and said, “I don’t want to include my weight. That’s really private and makes me uncomfortable.”

It was that moment where it hit me how ridiculous I am being, and how ridiculous we allow our culture and our media to make us feel. This little girl, this seven year old, is already so uncomfortable with herself and her weight. And what everyone else sees is a smart, funny, talented little girl, and she doesn’t see that.

It is so easy for us to get distracted from all that we can offer and be bogged down with our faults. I see all the side effects from my medications and my mood swings and weight fluctuations. I see sometimes this ostomy that I have and all the baggage that my disease brings and I have a hard time remembering that I bring a lot to the table as well. That I am a good friend and a good teacher and that I put all of myself into my relationships with the people that I love.

I challenge you to think about all the ways you sell yourself short. I challenge you to think about all the things you have to offer. Remember that to others you are smart and funny and talented. Let’s work on making a culture of love and self-acceptance so seven-year-olds can love themselves the way they are.


19 11 2011

In church tonight we talked about being thankful. Being actively thankful. We have so much to be thankful for every moment of every day and we become used to it all to the extent that we feel that we deserve it, instead of seeing it as what it is, a blessing.

So in the spirit of almost Thanksgiving and in the spirit of being thankful for all of the gifts in my life, I want to tell you about a few.

I am thankful for my family. They keep me grounded. They call me out when I get crazy. They love me no matter what I do, no matter how many things are wrong with me, and no matter how unreasonable I am. My family gives me a taste of what unconditional love is.

I have the best friends in the world. And I’m not even biased. My mom says all the time that she is amazed at the people in my life. I am blown away by their capacity to love and open my mind. These people teach me how to live life the way that it should be lived. They teach me to laugh at myself and appreciate every moment.

I love that when I come home from a rough day my dog is tall enough to look out the window of the door and just stands there, his whole body wagging, waiting to welcome me home.

I have a job that I come home every day from feeling rejuvenated. I look forward to work. I get up in the morning and go see my kids and leave with more energy than when I started. And I know how rare it is that my career happens to be what I’m passionate about and I know how rare it is for someone my age to know without a doubt that this is what I love and am meant to do and I’m thankful for that as well.

I grew up going to Willow Creek Church, which I loved. It was a hard transition for me to move to a much smaller church, but through these past years I’ve come to love the community of it. It’s nice that people are worried about me and pray for me and celebrate with me through my life, and I am blessed to have that.

I’m thankful for Hope College. That school has the biggest heart of any place I have ever experienced. I’m thankful for what they taught me academically, but mostly what they taught me about how to live.


I am thankful for brownies and baked goods, red beans and rice, cranberry muffins, and s’mores. I’m thankful for brussel sprouts. For fall. For the White Sox. I’m thankful for comfy chairs that I get possessive of and for crafty projects. I’m thankful for art, for Monet and Van Gogh and for doodles in the corner of my notebooks. I’m thankful for the way movie theaters transport you to different worlds and for the nuggets of knowledge you gain from every book. I’m thankful for tattoos and coffee dates and pajama pants.

I’m thankful for every moment that I’ve had Crohn’s. These experiences have taught me who in life is important. I’ve learned how to prioritize things that matter and because of that my life is fulfilling. Although it sucks to have a disease, learning to deal with it with grace has taught me how to overcome challenges and truly live.

And of course, dear readers, I’m thankful for you.


23 08 2010

I have been fascinated with tattoos for as long as I can remember.

Now, to look at me, you might not think that. I am short, and even though I’m in my twenties, I’m still mistaken for a twelve-year-old occasionally. When you first meet me, I’m generally soft spoken.

People make snap opinions, and they tend to be wrong.

I got my second tattoo about a year ago. I love stained glass. One day at church, the screen with the words of the song had a picture of the chapel window from my college. And it hit me. This is it.

Once people ask me if it’s real, they want to know what it is, why I chose it. The easy answer is that I love my school. It was a good time in my life. I love that window.

But really, it’s a reminder. The tattoo says, “Spera in Deo.” Hope in God. After all I have been through with doctors and drugs and surgeries and a dysfunctional body I got this as a reminder that God never puts a challenge in my life that I can’t handle. I have been made stronger through every down time. I am who I am because of what I’ve been through.

I know that I’m here for a reason. I have Crohn’s and an ostomy for a reason. I can handle this.

Don’t diss the ink.