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For better, for worse. In sickness and in--uh, never mind.

"FEBRUARY 13, 2011
Inquiring minds want to know... 
Alright, everyone. I realize not all of you know my current situation. And I'm sorry. I've been a little under the weather and busy trying to get better. Here's what's going on... 
About a month and a half ago, I started having some digestive issues that got worse. I went to the doctor twice. They did a few tests and last week, they sent me to a GI specialist for a colonoscopy. They found that my colon was inflamed and put me on antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications. They also did a biopsy to determine whether it is Crohn's Disease OR Ulcerative Colitis. I should know the results at the beginning of next week. 
Between Monday and Friday, my blood count dropped 6 points to 26, so my doctor sent me to the hospital yesterday to get a unit of blood. HOPEFULLY once they determine what I have, I can get back on the road to recovery and BACK in karate classes. 
So that's what's been going on. I hope I've answered your questions. Before I go, I'd like to thank everyone for their support, encouragement, love, prayers, food, offers of help, etc., etc. I have the best friends out there and I'm SO thankful for each of you. 
Also, a quick shout-out to my sweet Dave who has been so patient and loving during this time (and who has also generously offered to be my donor for the blood transfusion <3 ). It has been stressful and he's seen me have some major breakdowns over the last few days. I love you Davey."

These are the words that I wrote in a note on my Facebook page just days before I got my official Ulcerative Colitis diagnosis. Back then I would tell you that it was the hardest thing I'd ever faced. At the end of the note you'll notice that I gave a shout-out to my sweet Davey. Two weeks previous to this we had celebrated our one-year dating anniversary. Little did he know I'd been experiencing symptoms of IBD since New Year's. Who wants to tell their relatively new boyfriend they've been having embarrassing symptoms? Not this girl!

I had mentioned having an upset stomach the week before this note was written. Dave was frustrated and worried that I was a hypochondriac so he angrily told me to "Go to the doctor! And there better be something wrong with you." I was scared.

"Have you ever seen blood in the bathroom?" I asked.

"No." He said.

"Well, I have."

"Just go to the doctor." He said before hanging up.

Hearing these words I cried thinking back to previous boyfriends.

My first boyfriend took me to the ER in my sophomore year of college with a 103º fever that wouldn't break. I had some sort of food lodged in my tonsils (random, I know!). The day after this he told me he couldn't handle me being sick and dumped me. Uh... what?

Another boyfriend couldn't handle my low blood sugar issues. "You're always sick!" He complained. I'd had several instances where my blood sugar would drop to the point where I would get physically sick and puke my guts out on top of getting a monster of a headache that I would have to sleep off until the next day. Since then I have learned to get a handle on it.

I just knew Dave was going to leave me, too.

Obviously Dave was concerned about how my disease was going to hold us back... hold him back from living his life. Anyone would worry about this.

Dave told me that he didn't realize the severity of the situation–even after I'd called to tell him that I needed a blood transfusion the following day. We were living three hours apart at the time and he was going to drive in to go to the infusion center with me. He told me that when he arrived and saw me weak, skinny and pale, he knew it was serious.

Six months after my diagnosis, Dave proposed to me (IBD almost ruined it, by the way). Never being one for a bunch of frills and wanting to get married in October, we decided to have a small ceremony with close family and a minister on the front steps of Dave's family's cabin. And so, eight months after being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, Dave and I said "I do." on October 23rd, 2011.

Dave married me not knowing that I would have two more flareups later on. He married me not knowing that one of those flareups would be a year-long battle to wean me off of Prednisone. He married me not knowing that I would have surgery and live with a bag for three months being forever marked with battle scars.

I write all this mostly for you single people dealing with chronic illness. You may wonder if finding someone to stand with you during your illness is even possible. The right person will. The right person will not be looking at your health. The right person will look at your heart. The right person will see you for who you are all ailments aside. Someone who truly matters... that is someone who has the strongest character... that person will be the one to stand beside you come what may. Anyone who wants to leave you at the first sign of trouble isn't worth your time. I mean, think about it: Do you really want to be with someone who won't accept all of you? You can't help that you have a disease after all.

Dave would tell you that I've been through hell and that I'm a strong person (I'm not.). But I would say that he's the strong one having had to deal with a sick person for most of our 4 year marriage. He married someone with a chronic illness. Only a very special someone would be able to endure something like that. Most people would have left me at the diagnosis. But not Dave. I will forever be grateful that I was blessed with such a man. He is the most loyal, the kindest, friendliest, wisest, most dedicated man I know. And I thank God every day that he has given David to me.

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