Janelle’s Story: Hello there! My name is Janelle, and I live in Arizona. I am 26, and just finished earning my Bachelor of Arts degree in Education at ASU! I am especially proud of my accomplishment of graduating ASU, because back in October 2012 I was dying. Literally.
All my life I have been someone who had an especially sensitive stomach and GI system. However, it wasn’t until October 2010 that I had what I know how to be my first Crohn’s attack. I wasn’t even in town; I had been on a trip to Southern California with my boyfriend to check out apartments at that time, as we had wanted to move there.
We were out apartment hunting one day after we had eaten lunch, when I felt that sudden pain of stomach cramps that ensue before a need to run to the bathroom…FAST! We drove back to our hotel and the rest of the day and night I was in and out of the bathroom with horrible stomach cramps and attacks. I got a fever and became horribly dehydrated.
It was scary, because I knew it wasn’t the flu, but it was something worse than I’ve ever had before. So I figured it was food poisoning or something. I wrote it off as a one time thing. (How terrifying!)
Since that initial attack in 2010, up until September 2012, I experienced occasional attacks similar to the one in California. In October 2012, my whole body and my health deteriorated with a ferocity I couldn’t control. I was very scared; but I again wrote it off again, this time as the flu.
It was lasting for weeks, and was only getting worse. But it had to get better right? Wrong.
I only got sicker, to the point I couldn’t eat, I was pale and weak, and I had no energy. I remember calling my doctor and asking if I needed to go to the ER. I was so alone and confused. He told me I should if I felt I needed to; otherwise, he was going to schedule me a colonoscopy for that following Monday, as he had always been concerned about me showing symptoms of Crohn’s or Colitis.
I was shocked! 23 years old, about to get a colonoscopy? My world was spinning and I knew my life was about to change. On Halloween day October 2012, procedure results came back positive for severe Crohn’s disease. From that day on, my life has changed in ways you can’t imagine. I’ve been through hell and back.
Yet through the love and kindness of my parents, family, friends, and college professors, I made it. My illness has put so much into perspective, and I take very little for granted. That is why the following January 2013, I quit my job and put myself into school at ASU to fulfill my dream to be an educator, and to inspire!
What would you like other people to know about Crohn’s Disease?
What I want for other people to know is that Crohn’s disease (and Colitis- they are very similar, but Crohn’s is the worst of the two because colitis is predictable and the symptoms go dormant for months. Crohn’s disease is continuous) affects everyone!
Don’t think this is something that just effects older people. Through my journey for regaining health, recovering, and learning to live with Crohn’s, I have come to find that two of the largest groups of people living with Crohn’s are children, and people ages 15-25.
Young people! And now as an educator who is around children all the time, I am extra, extra sensitive and cautious to their health and actions they express about their health.
Because little children do not yet understand to identify their “tummy ache” as something life threatening.
So often, due to the lack of education or awareness, and the reason why I put my proceeds of my shop towards the CCFA, caretakers and parents dismiss their child’s reoccurring symptoms to simple childhood ailments.
But without proper diagnosis (I had been misdiagnosed twice before I found out it was Crohn’s!) and medication, Crohn’s will becoming debilitating and incapacitating.
So my plea is to ask you to please become aware and educated on what the symptoms and signs are of Crohn’s and Colitis; for your children, family, and yourself.
And know there are medications, resources, and support out there to help, such as the CCFA which I donate to! I myself am a great resource! Anyone with questions please never ever hesitate to send me a message. I’ve made it a long way; and I can now say I am happier, healthier, and stronger than I’ve ever been before! Life is good, and the sunshine is magic!
Kids brands I love: Misha LuLu, H&M, organic items, Zutano, Tea Collection, and unique boutique or handmade items. I like rare, colorful, and one of a kind pieces!
Favorite item in the shop right now:
Imaginary Fashion Coalition: Lucille Ball, Katy Perry, and my mommy!
Life Motto: Have courage, and be kind!
Best Parenting Advice I’ve ever heard: well, I’m not a parent yet. But, that doesn’t stop people from trying to forewarn me about things to do, haha! The best advice always comes from my own mom though. She just reminds me, kids are great; but they are expensive. So create a stable life foundation before kids come, to ensure that they will be well taken care of and grow up in a positive environment. I agree with that!
Advice for Newbie Kidizen members: Appearance and communication are everything! Having your items displayed in a professional, appealing, and snazzy way helps people feel like you truly take time and effort for your shop, and that makes them more likely to enjoy your items!
And always communicate. Even if it’s because you made a mistake and you feel embarrassed, still communicate. It makes all the difference.
Also, I am someone who loves books, and I promote reading and parents reading to their kids! So I always send a gently used book with every order as a complimentary thank you! That’s kind of my unique trade mark! (THIS IS BRILLIANT!! Love it!)