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Getting Diagnosed with IBD as A Child

I’m different

I remember it like it were yesterday. I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (I would later find out it was actually Crohn’s disease) and from the moment I found out I had a disease I felt different. I also felt

Afraid

Alone

Damaged 

Un-lovable

The Before and The After Diagnosis

My school picture the year I was diagnosed. Blonde hair, lots of freckles, oversized tshirt
Me the year I was diagnosed

I felt a lot of things that day. I suppose I am not the only person to experience this. There are moments in your life you can recall so easily and then moments you have little recollection of. The moment I was diagnosed with IBD is a day I will never forget because immediately everything in my life was separated into before diagnosis and after. It felt like time moved in slow motion or had stopped and all I could think about was that I had a disease. 

“Disease.”

I didn’t even want to say it. The word felt dirty. I was tainted, my body damaged. I wanted to shower just to feel clean but no amount of showering could ever wash away the disease inside of me. 

It was summer so there was no school. My mom and I left the doctors office and drove to the city I used to live in to pick up one of my friends who lived down the street from the first house I grew up in because she was coming over for a sleepover.

I was silent the entire ride as I went over in my head what had just happened. I was scared, I had a disease, everything had changed. 

I, ME, Sara Danielle Ringer had a disease. 

At that age I thought that everyone who had a disease was contageous and going to die because the only thing I knew about illness was what I saw in movies or read in books. I was already so self-conscious and hyper-aware of everything about myself at that age. Would people be scared of me? Would they think I was gross? What if they didn’t want to be my friend anymore? Was I going to die? What did this all mean? All I knew is from that moment on things changed.

I’ll never forget that car ride home (which turned into me telling my friend and a lot of crying) and the change that happened inside of me. The change that happens when you go from a healthy person to someone who has a disease.

Sara

Picture of me and my best friend Jessica when we were 12 years old sitting on her porch.
My friend Jess and me. We both ended up with Crohn's disease but she was diagnosed in early adulthood. You can see how much smaller I was compared to girls my age. IBD slowed growth and puberty for me.
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