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They say freedom is never free. Everything has a price. Nothing worth having is easy.

This week America celebrates her anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. The day America declared independence from the Kingdom of Britain. Our freedom was costly. From the battle of Bunker Hill to the battle of Yorktown, many lives were sacrificed in our fight for freedom. It wasn't just the soldiers who fought that made those big sacrifices (though, I would say this is the ultimate sacrifice), but also the family members of those soldiers. Our forefathers worked diligently to break free from the bonds that ensnared us. It was a long a difficult battle.

We, as sufferers of inflammatory bowel diseases, could say the very same thing. Our battles with Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are probably some of the most difficult we will ever face. We fight doctors. We fight those who don't understand our diseases. We fight medicinal side-effects. We fight pharmacies. We even fight our own bodies--our most difficult challenger.

Some of the IBD ninjas out there have conquered so many battles. Some are fighting now with barely enough strength to keep their eyes open. The burning pain. The countless blood draws. The endless agonizing nights we spend lying and weeping on the bathroom floor begging for relief, begging for death. We just want to be free!

My husband asked me recently if this surgery has been worth it. He asked me if I was glad I had it done. Now, granted I'm only halfway through this ordeal, but from what I hear, the worst is over. Physically, at least. I thought about his questions for a few moments, and then I said, "Yes. I am glad. Because right now I'm not in pain. I no longer feel as if my intestines are on fire. I feel free."

I realize that a colectomy is no true cure for UC. It is an autoimmune disease and therefore I still have the risk of developing another autoimmune disease. I am afraid that the doctors got it wrong and that I didn't actually have UC at all, but instead it was Crohn's! In which case I would still be suffering. But still, I wouldn't change a thing. Because I feel free. Even if it only lasts a moment, I am free of pain. I am still dealing with the aftermath of Prednisone (hairloss, moonface, joint pain, etc.), but I'm no longer worried about not making it to a bathroom in time. I'm no longer worried about bleeding to death. I'm no longer dealing with the pain that comes from repeated trips to the bathroom.

Surgery was no easy choice. It was a huge price to pay. But I am thankful and blessed right here in this moment to have a bit of freedom from my suffering. I look around and see so many others who are still suffering. So many others are literally fighting for their lives. Seeing this makes my struggle seem so insignificant. I can only hope that one day we can find a cure.

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