Friday, August 26, 2011

24 Hours

In 24 hours, I both left the land of the healthy and returned to it.

My last few days in Halifax before my return to Boston are filled with last-minute visits with friends, errands, and packing (that I have yet to do...). Thursday I had made plans with a couple of friends to meet up for lunch around noon, just enough time to head to yoga with my Mom in the morning. We were in the class when half way through it, I felt my blockage pain pulsate in my upper belly and just like that, I knew I was knee-deep in another blockage. Luckily I was on my mat closest to the wall, so each time we would turn to it I would make a face of pain and hold back tears. However stupid, I wanted to finish the class and when it was over, told my Mom that I was having a blockage and needed to get to the hospital.

But, what about my plans? I wasn’t going to see these friends for another six months, so I decided that I’d go and meet them for lunch and then meet her at the hospital. Stupid? Probably. But, I operate on a purely stubborn system and so I set off downtown to go to lunch. I even had some salad, what the heck I figured, it couldn’t make things worse (well, maybe). I dropped my friends off and set out to the ER.

They say French food consists of butter, butter, and butter. By the same logic, the ER consists of waiting, waiting, and waiting. Finally I was taken to a room and then the process of stabbing (aka putting in an IV) began. I was given a Johnny shirt to which I said, I’d rather not. The nurse looked at me and asked why, to which I replied that they weren’t very attractive - followed by the fact that I was in leggings and a t-shirt and could lift whatever needed lifting for their exam. She made me put it on. Why? Do I have to be in uniform? Apparently. I’d like to think I’m patient and whatnot, but when you’re coming at me with a very sharp needle and aiming to put it in the inside of my wrist, I’m not the happiest camper on planet earth. In my experience, that is the worst place to have an IV and then she proceeded to stab (I use the word stab because it was exactly that) my other hand for bloodwork. But bruises aside, the tasks were completed and I set about listening to playlists on my iPod as the fluids slowly dripped in. Pain medication is fully necessary during a blockage - or really, any painful experience - but they make me so loopy and like my head is going to float away, and then they make me want to throw up. I began to upchuck on my bed before a basin could find it’s way under my mouth.

But 8 hours and four bags of fluids and injections of pain meds later, I had turned my metaphorical corner and was feeling better. In my family, returning from the hospital means the traditional stop at Burger King for fries, even at 1 AM (thank goodness for 24 hour drive thru’s). They were delicious - even if I sat in the passenger seat throwing up as my Mom ordered them and then threw them up at home, they were delicious nonetheless.

I passed out in my bed, my head spinning with my impromptu ER plans. And with my head pounding with an incoming headache compliments of pain medications, I rolled myself in my covers and went to sleep.

My last 24 hours were eventful, but not the fun kind, the annoying Crohn’s kind. At the hospital, I said that I had begged for a port or some sort of permanent access line and that I never got one. My Mom said, “Well, that’s because we always thought it would be the end.” To which I replied, “It’s called chronic for a reason.” This summer I have been to the ER five times for blockages, which is a little much if you ask me. It can be difficult to stand up and pick up the pieces of my life after I keep being pushed down.

The land of the healthy is a lovely place to be if you can appreciate it. And sometimes, 24 hours is all it takes to do just that.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Guest Post: Sara's Story

Here is Sara's story - someone who knows that an IBD diagnosis can't get in the way of living life. She has a wonderful Facebook support page with over 1,500 members - all gutsy, of course. We asked her to share her story with us, and we're so honored to be able to share it with all of you.

My name is Sara I am 31 years old, and I was diagnosed with Moderate - Severe Crohn’s-Colitis In May of 2009. It took ten years for me to get my diagnosis. I was diagnosed with countless Bowel Infections and Stomach Flu’s. I went to the doctor at least least 20 times over the years with my symptoms of G.I. bleeding, weight loss, dehydration and 25+ bathroom trips per day. I was given antibiotics and each flare up eventually went away on its own. There was a period of time that I stopped going to the doctor, because I felt crazy. I blamed myself and thought it must be something that I am doing wrong, too much stress, too much working, or not eating properly.
January of 2009 I got really sick, and was bleeding a lot, and having major pain. Problem was that each flare up I had, always started off just like a flu would- Fever, body aches, sick stomach etc. But I was bleeding. Why were they not helping me? I went to the doc 3 or 4 times, while I continued to work 40+ hours a week, as a chef/cook at a hotel. I was fading quickly, nothingstayed in me. Finally one morning in early May, I woke up and saw that I was bleeding heavily. It really scared me, so I phoned in sick to work and headed for the E.R. I told the nurse that I thought I had crohn’s disease. (I had been researching my symptoms). She smirked at me and said:
" ya okay, we will see". I was given pain meds, blood work and was asked to please wait to see the GI on call. That was when I met my amazing G.I. doctor whom I am so lucky to have! He listened to me, and said that he was fairly certain that I had Inflammatory Bowel disease, either crohn’s disease or Ulcerative colitis. Later on that evening, I saw that same nurse again. She apologised to me and said: “I guess you were right”. Unfortunately, I was.

PICC line, TPN, IV steroids, pain meds, 6mp, and a total of a month long hospital stay. I did get our after two weeks, only to end up back in there two weeks later for another two weeks. Then came Remicade. It took a long time to work for me, but it did. It cleared up the bleeding ulcer’s in my colon. Unfortunately I had to stop taking it after 10 months, due to severe inflammatory arthritis that I had developed. A year and a half later, as I sit here and type this, I am still suffering with what they call “Crohn’s Arthritis.” My hands so painful and my fingers swell up like sausages. There have been days where my wrists and shoulders hurt so bad, I couldn’t pull up my own pants after using the restroom.

Am I in remission? Well, I guess you could say that my colon is. I still take pentasa, which seems to help maintain my large intestine. I still suffer with the crippling arthritis and perianal crohn’s- exterior inflammation and fissures. In the past 2 years, I have been on pretty much all of the Crohn’s medications. I recently started Methotrexate, and I am hopeful that it will soon start to work, and help all of my auto-immune related issues, so I can get back to work, and pursue my career in Culinary Arts. It’s a challenging career, both physically and mentally, but I’m just not ready to give up on my dreams. I do have crohn’s, but it certainly does not have me, well, let me rephrase that: It might have me for now, but I will get control back, and I will keep fighting it.

When Crohn’s Disease gets me down, all I have to do is count my blessings. I have an amazing and supportive family, A partner who loves me for who I am, and a roof over my head. There are so many other people all over the world who don’t have any of these things. I am blessed. Never ever give up hope, because without hope, we have nothing. We are never alone in this IBD fight, we have each other and its important to reach out. Reach out for support and also reach out to those who need support. You can make a difference in someone else’s life, just by sharing your story and this is my story so far. I would like to leave you with a little something that I wrote about 6 months or so after I was diagnosed, and I think we can all relate to this.

The Five Step Never Ending Roller Coaster of Chronic Illness

When I was first diagnosed with crohn’s disease I had to stay in the hospital for a few weeks. I spent hours and hours staring at the wall and thinking. I thought about the grieving process that is used to describe the steps that a person will go through after the death of a loved one. I started comparing the steps to what I was going through and it seemed to fit how and what I was feeling. The only difference is that they never seem to end, or even go in a particular order, and rather than grieving for a person, we are grieving our own health & wellness.


“I can go back to work, I’m fine.” I remember being in my hospital bed and my GP came to visit me one morning on my 2nd or 3rd day in there. The first thing I asked her was, “When can I go back to work?” Instead of answering my question, she told me just to concentrate on getting better. I really thought I’d be back there in a week or so. For months, I think i really thought this thing called Crohn's would all go away and never come back. Didn’t matter what i was told about it being "chronic" I would have my old life back and everything would be fine. To this day, I occasionally still have moments of denial and I’m sure I always will, but it has definitely gotten better.


I was and at times, I still am, so mad! not that my body is attacking me and not someone else, I don’t ask “why me”?! Its because i cant do the things i used to be able too. I’m mad that i can't make plans with my friends without disappointing them at least 50 percent of the time.\ I’m mad that my loved ones are constantly worried about me. I’m really mad that I’m letting my team down at work. Logically I know it is not my fault, but I still get angry at myself, as well as the hand that life has dealt me. I Know it could be a lot worse and I know I am lucky to have my arms and my legs amongst other things. Its just that being in pain and having no energy is one of the most annoying things to me. I want to…..but I just can’t because my body wont let me. This brings me to the next stage.….


I quite enjoy making deals with myself- “Its okay to eat that bowl of chilli because i picked out most of the beans and i will eat a piece of bread and that will soak up the bad stuff.” What? no it won't! I’m laughing out loud right now because of how ridiculous that is! I deserve this ice cream because I Haven’t had any for so long. While I may deserve it, it still makes me sick, and I know the outcome. I call it: “Eat Now, Pay Later” Once I told myself I was in remission because I had no pain for a few hours and actually had some energy, so it was okay to eat a few handful’s of popcorn. So silly, I know. Where is the step called GUILT? I think we need one of those….


Yes, I think we have all been there. I like to bargain with myself even more while I’m depressed. Well I have to lie on the couch and not move all day because I’m a sick person. When I’m feeling depressed my favourite thing to do, is stay in my pyjamas, no shower, no deodorant, messy hair. I watch TV for hours and drink way too much coffee. Sometimes I would go 3 days without a shower. Until my partner would politely say- “maybe you should change your shirt.” Then I would drag my sorry self to the shower. These days pass and I do feel better eventually. It’s a phase, just like the others.


Yes there have been many times i have told myself that it’s okay, no problem, I can handle this. Could be worse and I’m thankful that I only have Crohn's disease and not something worse. I tell myself that this disease is easy compared to what many other people have to deal with on a daily basis. I can move on, I can live my life and it will get better each day. God wouldn’t give me something that I could not handle. This is all very true, until I start the stupid process all over again!  
I swear I go through every single one of these steps over and over and over again- every single day and it never ends. It feels like roller coaster that keeps on going and going and going.

The good news is, there are many positives in this. I know I am very thankful that I still have all of my body parts. I am also thankful that that I still have hope. Hope that I will be able to make it back to work one day soon, hope that I will get some energy to do the things I love. Hope, that we will one day soon find a cure for IBD. I also know that i don’t want my old life back. Only because this crappy disease has made me who i am today. I appreciate the little things in life and I try not to take things for granted (Like being able to eat). I know now who myreal friends are. My family and i talk even more now--i know its out of concern, but either way, its brought us closer together. I also have so much more faith in my relationship with my partner. He has totally amazed me, what he can put up with and handle and how sympathetic he is and how much he really takes care of me. I truly am blessed to have all of my family and friends, this life and this body.


Monday, August 22, 2011

#3 Tour for the Cure: Ants & $91.50

Sunday at 11 AM could not come fast enough. I could barely sleep the couple of nights before, a mixture of excitement and nerves, unsure of how the day would turn out. When the Tour was in Dartmouth back in August, I was unable to attend, which ironically, prompted me to meet with Andy outside of the event and ended up proposing to follow his incredible journey across the country on the blog. But seeing photos from other Tour sites and the great things people had to say made me ache a little bit - or a lot a bit - that I had missed out on it.

First of all, I’d never done yoga outside, let alone yoga to support IBD awareness. And it just seemed impossible that the opportunity was so close for me to attend an event and that I’d missed it, that I decided to organize an event here in Halifax in support of Andy’s Tour - a satellite event, if you will. After coordinating with my local yoga teacher who graciously agreed to be of immense help and setting up a Facebook event, Sunday at 11 was set and I was finally going to be on a yoga mat in the great outdoors.

What I’ve found with many Crohn’s events that I have taken part in is that the turn out in terms of numbers isn’t always so extreme, but it’s the spirit and the passion that makes you stop and think, “Wow, this is unbelievable.” We gathered on the grass with our yoga mats, my Mom and I lugged over a cooler of water bottles we had brought, and a canvas ‘Andy’s Tour for the Cure’ for us all to sign to send off to him with the donations. I gave a little spiel about what an important and amazing cause it is and then it was off to the races and we got moving.

I broke poses a few times to run and snap some pictures of the group warrior poses and planks - there were quite a few I’ll add! - and then would hop back on my mat (and shoo off the tiny ants) and continue on. Cars would pass, the curious stares of onlookers at a bunch of people on colorful mats in the sunshine, I would often see them upside down in my downward dog. I tried to pick which moments to run and take pictures, but at one point decided that the most significant moments deserved to be preserved only in memory - which, I think, may be the most meaningful even if I can’t hold the picture in my hand. Being still at the end of class, surrounded by the trees and ants and cars and the sun penetrating through the leaves, it felt so incredible to be at the class and be a part of the Tour. I couldn’t help but be jealous of Andy for traveling across the country and feeling this way at each event!

On Sunday, the 17 people at the event raised $91.50. It may not be enough to buy a new car or even a week’s worth of groceries, but it’s $91.50 more for the cure, for awareness, and for Andy’s tour.

Andy - thank you for persisting and bringing us IBD and self awareness through yoga, you are a survivor, a warrior, and mostly, a true inspiration.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

To accept, or not to accept!?

Ever since I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease I have always said that I live by the quote "I have Crohn's Disease, Crohn's Disease does not have me." Recently I've realized that I don't really live by this quote as much as I like to think that I do. Physically I live by it, because I don't allow the fact that I have Crohn's stop me from doing anything that I've ever done before or anything that I want to do. I still push myself daily to do all the things I did before Crohn's Disease, and I don't plan to ever stop. However, mentally Crohn's Disease definitely has me. Some days I don't have a problem, and it doesn't bother me, other days I feel like my world has been taken from me, and I'll never truly get it back.

Recently my boyfriend made me realize this, he showed me without realizing what he was showing me. He always tries to make me feel better about myself, make me feel like I don't have Crohn's, and make me feel like I'm no different then the stranger walking down the street. I've found this really hard to accept, maybe mostly because I'm the baby in the family. I've always been spoiled(my sisters will LOVE me admitting that one), and babied to some extent. When I got sick, my parents were always right there beside me whether it be wiping my tears away, crying with me, or even laughing with me. They were there after every surgery, and with every step to recovery that I had to take. I guess I got really used to it. Also, when I was first diagnosed I always talked to a counsellor for pretty much the first 7 months. I found it hard at first to go from talking to someone daily to talking to no one, but I wasn't going to admit it, because I always kept things to myself growing up.

I guess in the long run, keeping alot about how I feel about my Disease has caught up on me, and it was hard for me to accept that I haven't really fully accepted my Disease yet. I was diagnosed almost 5 years ago, and I still get upset about having Crohn's. One day I'm perfectly fine about everything, I don't care that I've been sick, I don't care about what I've gone through, and I don't think about what I might have to go through in the future. Other days, I feel like everything I went through was just yesterday, I feel like my life has been stolen from me, and I think about all of the "if's" when it comes to my future with Crohn's. I've had days home alone when I just lay in bed crying, thinking "why me". I find it hard to think about the concept of "it could always be worse". I find myself only thinking about where I've been, and what I've gone through. I find myself thinking about how differently my life would be if I had never gotten sick, where I could be, and what I could be doing if my life had turned out differently.

Maybe now that I've accepted that I haven't accepted my Disease yet, it might be easier to slowly find a way to accept it. I'll still have my days when I'll get upset and get down on myself, which I think is pretty normal, but hopefully I can make those days less often and less frequent, perhaps eventually almost non existent?

Colleen Lynn

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Guest Post: Kathleen's Story

So Gutsy Generation - it's your turn to talk. We want to share some amazing stories from some very gutsy people that we are happy to call our Crohnies.

This is Kathleen's story. Kathleen has a great blog that we came across and we reached out to her to ask her if she'd share her story and strength with us.

Get ready, get set, get inspired!

Hello You! My name is Kathleen. I was eventually diagnosed with Crohn's Disease around September of last year. This was a massive relief after over 12 months of incredible pain and sickness amongst less palatable symptoms. Not to mention just sheer frustration at never getting to the bottom (for want of a better phrase) of the problem.

I was entirely ignorant about the disease until the doctor told me he suspected I had it. All I was initially told was that no one knows why it starts or what the cause is and as yet there is no cure and no guaranteed treatment. It was made clear it would be a long process trying to find out how to make me feel better. This terrified me at the time, but the fact that I had finally been given a diagnosis overshadowed any fear of the unknown - all I focused on was the utter relief at finding out what was wrong.

Having now become friends with fellow sufferers and become part of the wider Crohn's 'community', I appreciate just how lucky I have been to be so far along on my road to recovery, and how grateful I should be to have gotten an operation so early in my Crohn's 'career'.

I got a bowel recession in late January this year. After months and months of experimental drugs, steroids, liquid diets, and painkillers, the doctors finally agreed there was no alternative. I am now living a relatively pain-free life which is truly amazing.

The arrival of Crohn's into my life has been a revelation, in more ways than one. Yes, it sucks to have an illness that will be with me for life. It's absolute panties if i'm honest. But it's here and it's set up camp permanently. I'm incredibly lucky to have a wonderful partner who's been by my side every step of the way, he was with me long before Crohn's was even a twinkle in my bowels and makes me feel secure and confident even though my body is ever-changing. I have amazing family and an incredibly supportive group of friends who have shown me that Crohn's has changed absolutely nothing in terms of how they see me. I'm still plain old Kath, although 'now with added Crohn's!'

This only serves to make me more interesting apparently, and I now have a big scar which I find perversely exciting, can't wait to see what it looks like as the months and years go by. One day I may tell the grandkids how I fought off that pesky shark... :)


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Food For Thought

The CCFC calendar is broken down into several 'seasons' if you will - the HnW season which we just (very successfully) finished, the awareness season around November, then the big spring season with the M&M BBQ which then leads back into the HnW season.

And so - it's that time of year again, but not for the HnW or the BBQ. It's time to sit together with our families at the dinner table over some good food.

And how, might you ask, is this relevant to bowels and medications and the CCFC?

Good question. It's the 7th annual M&M National Family Dinner Night. And while there might not be a nicer night than being with your family over some M&M food of your choice, for each person who registers, M&M will donate $1.

It's a buck a bowel people, so let's get registering so we can get eating.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

#2 Tour for the Cure: Karma

They say what goes around comes around - so when it's positive energy and motivation to find a cure, we can't go wrong!

We can't wait to hear about the event, and how inspired Andrew makes you!


Friday, August 12, 2011

Of Course

August 10th, 2010 - in Boston, having surgery.

August 10th, 2011 - in Boston, en route to New York City.

Again, irony, nostalgia, whatever you want to call it, it’s a little weird. But believe it or not, this story isn’t about my last summer, no, this one is about this summer. For anyone who has ever been to New York City - or dreams of going - a car is a very impractical thing to have in the city. New Yorkers are intent of jaywalking (regardless of traffic), taxis drivers can be ruthless, so we decided to keep our car in Boston and take the bus into the city.

So that seemed like a good idea. We piled on the bus, I sat with my sister and my parents sat nearby, and we soon busied ourselves in our laptops and iPods and snacks. I was intent on watching ‘Anne of Green Gables’ - of course, classic Maritimes - and was happily doing so as my little bag continued to fill up. Now, I was wearing white shorts (I will explain later why this is probably not the best idea on a bus) and decided to wait until we were a little closer to the city to use the bathroom on board. About half an hour from our final destination, I handed my computer to my sister and told her I’d be right back. Well, so I thought.

First of all, there was no vacant/occupied window on the bathroom, so I awkwardly stood there knocking on the door and trying to discern if anyone was using it. But I finally opened the door, closed it behind me, and flipped the switch to the right to lock it. As I was emptying my bag, the bus jolted and I almost painted my white shorts in poop, but thankfully did not (but again, maybe white shorts were a little risky in hindsight). And then naturally, after flushing and Purell-ing, I went to unlock the door and go back to watching ‘Anne’. Only - the door was not unlocking. I wasn’t worried, my hands were slippery with sanitizer, but after drying them off, the lock was not budging no matter how much I fiddled with it. The handle was turned all the way left in the track, which should have unlocked it, only no. Of course. I was locked in the bathroom on a moving bus.

I was laughing, I mean, it is funny and something that would happen to me, but I was also contemplating my escape. I didn’t have my cell with me - though maybe it will be advantageous to begin doing that in the future - and decided it was impossible to get out on my own. It wasn’t going to be a miraculous escape, but this was my two stage plan: 1) wait for my family to realize something was wrong, and 2) bang like mad on the door.

I began to pound the door after a few minutes, trying to politely scream that I was locked in, but I was sure that everyone was plugged into their iPods and that no one would hear. But someone did, and I could feel them try to rip back the door. A long story short, the deadbolt was stuck in the door and the bus driver had to pull over to bang it open. When I emerged, EVERYONE was turned around and looking at me. Of course.

It’s a good story - combining the best of bad luck and bathroom humor. Traveling with IBD, and an ostomy, are always eventful for me, but I find it the least stressful to try to find something funny in every situation, because, as they say, if you don’t laugh you’ll cry.

I made it to New York in one piece with stainless white shorts (though narrowly so), and will be out running in Central Park tomorrow. I can’t wait to be running and moving in the city that never sleeps, in the place where I want to live one day in the future, where Crohn’s was officially discovered in 1932, feeling free and well and whole.

Because, of course, it is really a magnificent feeling to be alive and happy.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bag Day: Take One

Admittedly, I have a twisted sense of nostalgia. The past few weeks of blog posts have been consumed with ‘my last summer’, a phrase that is now as familiar to me as ‘once upon a time.’ But today really is the day, one year ago today, they wheeled me into the OR and 7 hours and an ostomy later, I emerged.

So now, on my first bag-birthday, I thought I’d share what I wrote the morning of my surgery, before my family came, before the nurses came, before the surgeons came, when it was just me, myself, and my colon.


“Calm Before The Storm”

It’s quiet.

But soon things will be crazy and non-stop, soon I will have no colon.

It’s finally August 10th and soon everyone will be at my bedside, crying I’m sure, and I’ll hold their hands and try not to let their crying make me start crying - but who can’t stop the urge to cry when her whole family is crying?

I don’t think I’m strong or brave. I think I’m ready for my life and if that means ready for this, then that’s what it means.

The calm before the storm may be nice, but I’m looking forward to the rainbow after the storm now.


I have to say, the rainbow is really nice from this end, even if it took some all-consuming battles to get here.


Friday, August 5, 2011


There’s a certain language exchanged comfortably among the IBD community - we understand words like ‘ESR’ and ‘biologics’ and ‘PICCs’, words that invariably bounce over the heads of many others. And in some ways, I’ve found it becomes an adoptive personality, a mask if you will, that is put on me around others at times.

This may explain it better: at a recent family friend’s function, I was introduced to a man who’s a GI. So of course we must have a lot in common, right? There’s only so much I can say about my life before hints start to rain down about my IBD. I tell him I want to be a pediatric psychologist for chronically ill children. He smiles and notes that it’s very specific, why he asks. Sigh - here it comes.

Just because I have IBD doesn’t mean I am IBD. There may not be an ‘i’ in team, but there’s certainly one in our disease. The depth of my life can shrink away in replace of the basic facts: 20 year old female, 8 year history of Crohn’s, permanent ileostomy. But those are only a handful of facts about me - do you see the kid next door who had lice two years ago being summed up as only that?

The blame is scattered and not easily absolved. In part it’s society, not understanding that I’m a person behind my illness, it part it’s the fact that I’m always in hospitals and that a large part of my life is about my disease, and in part, it’s about me. I have chosen to be involved with the CCFC and YAC, I choose to contribute to this blog and bare my life to a willing reader.

I would sincerely hope - and if this is inaccurate, please someone tell me - that someone reading this blog says, “Okay, this girl goes to school away from home, has long-term career goals, does yoga and tries to run, and is a little obsessed with Grey’s Anatomy - and has Crohn’s and an ostomy.” I do have IBD, but I’m a million gazillion other things - just as like you.

Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like without IBD. And this is what I’ve come up with - I think I’d still be determined and gutsy (only with more actual guts...), but I’d be on a different path. My life isn’t more or less meaningful for having IBD, that choice is up to me and what I decide to do with my life.

I wouldn’t trade anything for the community of gutsy people. You are inspiring and supportive and you empower me with your spirit. But you are still you, you are still amazing on your own, and you should never have to compromise who you want to be for who you think IBD makes you.

Because remember, anyone can have IBD - but nobody else is you.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

McDreamy Makes Dreams Come True!

This day should be marked down in history books and told to small children (or at least my grandchildren in a few decades). Today I received the best birthday present/any time present possible!

The best part about this story is that it’s because of another IBDer. I emailed her on a whim, loving her blog, and we soon struck up a lengthy email conversation. A very long story short, she knew someone that she knew I loved and made a huge dream of mine come true!

A very large envelope arrived in the mail today, which is exciting on it’s own, and I opened it up happily. I pulled out a handout about Patrick Dempsey, to which I was like, “Okay.... why?” And then I turned it over - AND SAW HIS AUTOGRAPH! Yes, Patrick Dempsey, or as we like to call him on Grey’s Anatomy, ‘McDreamy’, had scrawled, “Jennie, Keep up the good work with the Gutsy Generation, Love, Patrick Dempsey.”

Patrick Dempsey knows about the Gutsy Generation! He signed it for me! He even spelled my name right!

I am so excited, I even called my Grandmom in complete excitement and amazement. You never know what connections someone else has and how your life can change because of them. It’s absolutely incredible and makes me so happy to have met my friend and bonded over our mutual IBD-ness.

Patrick Dempsey - thank you, I love you dearly, and I will certainly continue on being a part of The Gutsy Generation.