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#HAWMC: Day 9, "Challenger"

CHALLENGE: Challenger - Share with readers about a time you had to overcome a daunting challenge. What words of encouragement would you share with others who find themselves facing a similar difficulty? #HAWMC

When deciding how exactly to approach today's challenge, I didn't have to think about it too long. One of the most challenging things that I've faced is surgery. On the 15th, it will have been a year since I had my colon removed. The weeks leading up to the surgery were not easy.

It was back in March of 2014 that my GI had basically given up on me. He told me that there really wasn't much else he could do and that I should contact the surgeon.

I had been on Prednisone for a year. Every time I tried to taper off, I would start flaring again. My body was steroid dependent. I'd tried diet, natural remedies, Simponi, Humira, Balsalazide, Mesalamine, etc. Nothing was helping and I was tired of trying different medicines, waiting for them to kick in only to be disappointed again. I was in pain, swollen from the steroid use and I was ready for the next step.
We scheduled an appointment with the surgeon a few days later. He wanted to schedule the surgery the following week, but my sister's wedding was in a couple of weeks and there was NOTHING that was going to keep me away from that.

I hobbled down the aisle at my sister's wedding. My hair was falling out, the moonface was painfully evident (I HATE seeing photos from that time), my bowels were constantly burning and I had hemorrhoids the size of small grapes. It was awful.

After she was married, I had three days to mentally prepare for surgery. I had several breakdowns. I screamed, I cried, I couldn't sleep. To this day, I do believe that this was the hardest decision I ever had to make... looking back, however, I know that it was the right one.

What I would like to tell anyone else who has to face the ileal-anal pouch anastomosis is that firstly, you're not weak for turning your back on medicines or alternate therapies. A person can only take so much pain and disappointment. You are not alone in this. There are so many people who've been there before you and are willing to help you through the process. It is scary, and there are potential risks, but honestly, I'd do it all over again. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. My email is No question is stupid and I want to help you any way that I can. We all need someone who has been there sometimes. And I can tell you there were so many people who helped me during that time. They were true godsends.

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