When my youngest sister was taken to UNC Hospital last September to have her colon removed, we knew her surgery would be a three-step process. The first portion was to simply remove the colon. Ulcerative colitis caused her immune system to mistake food and good bacteria (that helps with digestion) in her intestine for harmful/invading substances... so her colon was essentially attacking itself. Unfortunately, her symptoms did not get better after being treated with various immune system suppressors, so removing her colon was the only option. Step one... done.
The original plan was to have the second surgery in November and the third surgery in December (with the possibility of being able to start college in January... oh, how little we knew!). As you all know, first this happened, which obviously pushed everything back, and then an additional hospitalization at the end of December/beginning of January pushed things back even further. In my last colitis-related blog post, Corrie's second surgery had been set for May, assuming no more setbacks came her way.
Good news, y'all: Corrie came to Chapel Hill earlier this week for a pre-surgery scan and everything is still clear! She will have her second surgery to essentially begin constructing a makeshift colon out of her small intestine on May 6... in less than two weeks!
HOWEVER, just ten days before she goes back to the operating room (aka, THIS Saturday), Corrie and the rest of my family will be participating in the Triangle Take Steps for Crohn's and Colitis Walk, an afternoon to raise awareness for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, as well as a fundraiser to support research in hopes of finding a cure.
After Corrie's diagnosis, we were surprised to learn that almost everybody knows somebody who is struggling with Crohn's or colitis: a spouse, a sibling, a friend, a co-worker. After seeing firsthand the challenges of living with these chronic diseases, my family is excited for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others who continue to fight. So many of you have supported us throughout the past 8+ months in more ways than we could have ever imagined, but if you would like to make a donation to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America in honor of Corrie, or in honor of anyone else you know who is affected, you can do so here.
I've learned a ton about Crohn's and colitis during the last year, and while this hardly scratches the surface, I'd love to share a bit with you. Knowledge is power, right? :)
If you are interested in learning more about Crohn's and colitis, visit the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. Learn more about just Crohn's disease here or just ulcerative colitis here.
Thank you for supporting my family as we participate in Triangle Take Steps for Crohn's and Colitis, and thank you for thinking of us as Corrie prepares for her second surgery on May 6. I'll be sure to keep everyone updated, so check back often!