On March 18th, 2014 I ended a chapter in my life. The chapter of my life that began with a miserable and broken girl who was completely controlled by a horrific disease called Ulcerative Colitis. I was depressed. I moped around the house with absolutely no energy and no hope of leading a normal life. I watched many videos and read many blogs about people with chronic illnesses achieving their dreams. But here I was, pumped up on prednisone and afraid to move.
I was helpless. Watching my husband live his life while I sat there slowly decomposing from the inside out. Stupid disease! I felt alone. I fought alone. I was in the dark. I felt like there was no way out. I was destined to suffer forever. I felt like I couldn’t talk with anyone… No one truly understood.
We are Ninjas!
I couldn’t live like that. I couldn’t let this disease get the best of me. Not for me alone, but for my husband’s sake. And then inspiration struck me. I was a fighter. Everyone with an IBD fights on a daily basis. We’re like ninjas! Our diseases are invisible. We look fine. But we’re sick. We’re silent because we don’t like to discuss our disease with others… for various reasons. Every day, we’re in a battle. A battle for our lives. We are ninjas!
I got out my sketchbook and started sketching for the first time in months. It wasn’t my normal sketching… a little cartoon ninja took shape before my eyes. Being trained in the fine arts, I was never much of a cartoonist… for which I was completely jealous. But here she was. A little ninja wearing a dark suit, a diaper, and toilet paper, with a giant spoon for her weapon. Ulcerative Colitis Ninja, I thought to myself. No, that doesn’t work. Too long. I needed something short, something catchy. And then I broke one of my rules. I shortened the name of my disease. Colitis Ninja. I loved it in spite of myself.
Since then I have met so many amazing people who have touched my life for the better. Kelly from #purpleproject. Eric from Vegan Ostomy. Victoria from Colitis and Me (as well as the other ladies from the #GetYourBellyOut team). Jacklyn from Flareup Hope. Marisa from Journaling IBD. Amber from About IBD. Frank, Stephanie, Ryan, Sarah 1, Sarah 2, Sara Ringer (Inflamed and Untamed), Katelyn, Lisa, Rockwell, Kristin, Dina, Michael, Meagan, Dan… and so many others. I want to thank each and every one of you for helping me get through my surgeries. Ya’ll are awesome.
I believe everything happens for a reason. Not just because that’s what my faith teaches, but also because I’ve witnessed it to be true in my own life. Because of my disease I’ve learned so much about myself. I’ve learned more about God. I’ve made so many good, faithful and wonderful friends. I’ve discovered my strengths. I’ve discovered more passions. I’ve discovered new hobbies. Most of all, I’ve been able to help others, and by doing so, help myself. In a way, my “curse” has become one of my greatest blessings.
In honor of the fact that I began blogging a year ago on the 18th, I’m giving away some prizes! You could win an #IBDninja t-shirt & wristband combo!!! The t-shirt was designed specifically in celebration of my 1 year bloggiversary!
How can you win? Just follow me on Twitter & Tweet with the hashtag #IBDninja from now until March 21st (NOTE: Facebook Likers will need to like me on Facebook & tag Colitis Ninja in a post.), and I will put your name into a drawing to be chosen at random on the 22nd of March. Not only will you have the chance to win some awesome stuff, but you’ll also be raising awareness for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. I want to see if we can’t get #IBDninja trending to raise awareness for IBD!
If you are not interested in trying to win a wristband or t-shirt, both are available for purchase. Click here to find out how to get a wristband. And visit my Zazzle store to buy a t-shirt or mug.
All proceeds from wristband sales go toward raising awareness for IBD and also used for cool giveaways (like this one!). Royalties from purchases made on my Zazzle store will also go toward raising awareness… just know that the majority of funds go toward Zazzle (I don’t make the rules!).
Finally, thank you all so much for joining me on my journey with Ulcerative Colitis. From here on out I am going to do everything in my power to keep fighting, keep raising awareness and keep encouraging you. I will not stop until we find a real cure for IBD. I truly appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you for your words of kindness, encouragement and prayers.