Brandy’s Story

I’ve had Crohn’s disease for 20 years, and was diagnosed at 17. I have been involved with CCFA since my diagnosis, and it has played a huge role in my life. Not only does CCFA fund much-needed research to find a cure or new treatments, but they also provide a “community” for those of us (and our families) who are affected daily by inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).

IBD has had an impact on my life ever since I can remember. My Dad was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease as a young adult, and I can remember him being very sick at times when I was a kid, including ER visits for bowel obstructions and surgeries. But through all of it, he remained my hero and my role model, to show me you can enjoy life and follow your dreams with this disease. Unfortunately, complications of this disease took his life too early. My hope is to find a cure so that my children don’t have to ever worry about Crohn’s disease.

I am so lucky to have a wonderful support system. Not only did I have the support of my Dad, but also my Mom, who has been my rock during some very difficult times. My husband has been with me since before my diagnosis at 17, and he has supported me through all of this, including dealing with all my health ailments as young newlyweds, which took a lot of patience and understanding. Over the years, I have suffered from so many aspects of this disease and I have had various surgeries (including bowel resections and a temporary ileostomy), I have taken almost every drug used to treat Crohn’s as well and am currently on a combination of treatments.. treatments. don’t know what my future holds, but these drugs have enabled me to function and enjoy life, and I currently consider myself almost in remission. While remission from Crohn’s is wonderful, many with IBD never truly achieve “complete” remission, as many of us have scar tissue in our GI tract that can cause ongoing issues.

The first year I walked in Take Steps was 2004, just a couple months after my daughter was born. I was so weak and very ill, and I had to stop at every single restroom and take breaks along the way. My husband and I were one of the last people to finish, but we did it and I was proud. I have come a long way, because now I have the strength to complete the walk.

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