Caravan Sonnet: September 2013

9/30/13

One Pure and Holy Passion

This song (from so long ago) has been going through my mind again and again the last couple of days. I hope and pray that the lyrics and the words bless you and encourage you as they have blessed me these past few days.

One Pure and Holy Passion
Give me one pure and holy passion
Give me one magnificent obsession
Give me one glorious ambition for my life
To know and follow hard after You

Give me one pure and holy passion
Give me on magnificent obsession
Give me one glorious ambition for my life
To know and follow hard after You

To know and follow hard after you
To grow as your dicsiple in your truth
This world is empty, pale, and poor
Compared to knowing you, my Lord
Lead me on and I will run after you
Lead me on and I will run after you

Give me one pure and holy passion
Give me one magnificent obsession
Give me one glorious ambition for my life
To know and follow hard after you
To know and follow hard after you
To grow as your disciple in the truth
This world is empty, pale, and poor
Compared to knowing you my Lord
Lead me on and I will run after you

Lord to know and follow hard after you
And to grow as your disciple in your truth
This world is empty, pale, and poor
Compared to knowing you my Lord
Lead me on and I will run after you
Lead me on and I will run after you
Lead me on and I will run after you 

9/26/13

Chronicittles: Lauren's Thyroid Cancer Story

{Chronicittles Disclaimer: Those that are sharing their personal chronicittles stories are sharing just that- their stories. They are people that are struggling {or have struggled} with the ins and outs of a chronic illness and have found ways of surviving and thriving. Their stories are meant to encourage, inspire, and challenge those that are struggling but are in no way meant to be a physician's advice. Please be aware that this is a space for learning and encouraging and not a space that will allow critical comments of any persons story. A reader should consult with his/her physician regarding any information gleaned from these stories. Thank you so much for reading!}

It's with great pleasure that I share with you Lauren (from Simply Free) and her chronicittles story! Even though I have never met her "in person" I am honored to call her a friend! She is truly inspiring and I am excited to have her share her story!
*all pictures below are Lauren's*
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For most of my life I was an incredible active individual. I was in great shape and health problems were never of concern. Until I was 10 years old. I went to get a routine physical for a sports camp and was told I might drop dead at any moment. I was told my body would fail me and that the heart murmur I had in addition to what the doctor speculated was Lou Gehrig’s Disease would only complicate things and was certain of my imminent demise at any moment. After several rounds of testing over the course of the next eight years coupled with various other “mystery” ailments, we came to find that while, yes I had an irregular heart murmur, I did not have ALS, but that I had Mitral Valve Prolapse, a very treatable and non life-threatening heart condition. All of this to say, that through those eight years or trying to figure out what was wrong, I learned my body and what was “normal” for me. I knew how to identify each abnormality in my body; for fear that it was something related to my heart that might need immediate attention.

A little over a year ago, I was not feeling that “normal”. I was constantly tired; my throat felt like something was continuously caught in it, and I had gained a few pounds in a few months. Attributing it all merely to a new birth control and the fact that my husband had just gotten over a nasty cold, I wasn’t all too worried, but was certainly keeping an eye on things. And that’s when we discovered I had a large nodular on my neck while he was giving me a simple back massage. So I decided it was time to go the doctor, trying not to let my mind wander, convincing myself my lymph nodes were inflamed due to a cold.

Not thinking it was so obvious, he noticed the nodular right away and sent me for a thyroid ultrasound. And then the fear set in. After they determined the mass was a tumor (2in x 1in x 1in in size contained to my thyroid), they sent me for a guided ultrasound and took a biopsy of the cells. The results from that showed that from the cells on the inside of the tumor (they could only test the inside and not the outside with the biopsy), the inside of it and those cells they took are atypical and that the inside of the tumor could be benign, but that the outside could be follicular cancer of the thyroid.  So many “could bes”, so many unknowns.

After much researching, we skipped the endocrinologist and went straight to the surgeon, a friend of the family. I meet with the Surgical Oncologist at the Kirklin Clinic in Birmingham at the end of Feb, having a CT scan done first and then met with him to go over that and all my other records. He confirmed everything we already knew, and also was able to provide us with some new info. The tumor is contained to the right lobe of the thyroid and the left side looks normal. Which was great news! He also said that from what the scan showed, my lymph nodes look unaffected and that the mass has not gone below my collar bones, which was also good.

All that to be said, I had surgery (right thyroid lobectomy) on April 4th at UABto remove the mass. I was 26. The thought of cancer seemed unfathomable, but I had already lost two college friends to the cruel word, and the thought of what may lie ahead both terrified and challenged me. I knew I wasn’t fighting this alone.

During the surgery, he removed the right lobe & they didn't find anything else wrong with my lymph nodes or anything so that was great! They wanted to test the mass (tumor is such a harsh word) further, and if they found after testing that it was malignant, then I would have had to go back and have another surgery to remove the other part of my thyroid and have meds to take daily. However, if they found that it was benign, I wouldn't even have to take pills. I was left with this uncertainty after surgery while trying to recover with a sizable incision wound on my neck, as well as stiffness, soreness and pain in my neck and chest.  I remained home from work for three weeks to heal, and spent any time outside wrapped in a scarf despite the blazing heat of Coastal Alabama. It was certainly a better alternative to the incredulous glances of strangers who passed by, contemplating my ghastly wound between my collar bones, wondering if I had been attacked and held at knife point.

This was somewhat of a process trying to find answers and waiting for results, but it was quite an encouraging one in actuality. Everyone at UAB was just incredible from the ladies at admission, to the nurses, techs, and all of the surgical team.  It really was a great overall experience in regards at the hospital given the situation and I couldn't have asked for anything better. We were bathed in prayer and surrounded by so many wonderful friends and family both at the hospital & from far away.  And having my sweet husband by my side through it all has been such a blessing.  He truly has been the embodiment of comfort and love and has just been the most incredible man through this all. We were (and continue to be) confident in the Lord's plans and trust fully in His provision, comfort and peace. 

A few days after the surgery, we received news that it was benign. Benign. Such a beautiful word. And while the potential for the other side of my thyroid to develop a similar tumor, and this process could be repeated down the road, or that somewhere else my body my turn against me, I am prepared. And for at this moment, I am cancer free. Testifying to His providence, and to His healing. 

Any helpful thoughts, suggestions, or encouragement that you would pass on to others:
After finding out what was wrong, the question I had been getting is one of concern.  Not only for my physical well being especially now that I am out of the hospital, but also for my emotional state.  With everything that had been going on, my general response had been a generic one since I had been filled with such a myriad of emotions that have been rather difficult to voice.  I can however say that in the midst of all those feelings, my answer to the question “So, how are you feeling?” could be simply summed into one word. Blessed. Completely loved, taken care of, and inexplicably comforted. Curious of course; wanting answers and learning patience in gathering them. Terrified quite honestly; I had no idea what to expect before the surgery, and even through the recovery process there were still moments of fear that came upon me. And large amounts of pain, naturally. But anger, not at all. Being angry for this experience would lessen the value of what the Lord had been teaching already me through it all. Especially when it came to love and comfort.  To be surrounded by such amazing friends and family that not only expressed their care for me with such incredibly sweet emails/letters and silly text messages/pictures, but ones who have acted on that by keeping us busy with dinners, events, and outings to show their support as well. To have a husband who not only had been by my side for countless doctor’s appointments, but one who has embodied the very meaning of unfailing love through that seeming time of “worse” by holding me close and never ceasing to show how much he cares for me even with the most gentle kiss of the forehead when I needed it most. I am simply just incredibly blessed.

Any resources (websites, books, etc.) that you would suggest:
This article was of particular comfort to me that I was not alone in what I was feeling:

Want to connect with Lauren? You can find her here:

Lauren would love to here from you! You can email her at:  simplyfreeblog@gmail.com
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Thank you so much Lauren for your encouragement and strength in sharing your story with us! Your courage inspires all of us! 

Are you a "chronicittle" (someone in their 20s or 30s who is struggling with a chronic illness) and would like to share your story? If you would like to find out more information please feel free to email me at: caravansonnet@gmail.com! 

9/25/13

Fellowship College Fall Retreat Boards

Last week I was so honored when my sister (who works as a college life resident at her church) asked for my help in creating some visual aids for the upcoming retreat. She had the quotes that she wanted displayed and the boards that she wanted them. After that she  gave me free reign after that to create something. Since it was a co-ed retreat I wanted to create something that could be good for both girls and guys. I love the song that was the theme for the weekend! It was such a delight to create these and I am so humbled and honored that it was so well received! So glad that y'all had a wonderful time on the retreat! 








9/24/13

Notes from the Porch {five}: an update

Thank you so much to everyone who so kindly left such sweet messages and encouragement after last weeks post. Your words are such a blessing to me in this long journey. I wanted to take a few moments to update y'all as I am so thankful for each of your prayers. It is TRULY a blessing to me. Each day I see answers to so many different prayers in a thousand different ways. 

Last week I met with a couple of my doctors for different appointments. I joked on instagram that I would be a millionaire if I could figure out how to stop patients from having to fill out all of the new paperwork (or updated paperwork) that comes with each doctors office. *smiles*


During one of the appointments (with my hematologist)  it was decided that since my iron level is dangerously low and my body has stopped having the ability to process and absorb iron(due to the Lymes) that I would need to get at least a couple of Iron IV's. This was a little bit of a shock but all of my doctors were on the same page that this was a necessary thing to do. It was a shock because iron IV's come with lots of risks to them. I had my first one yesterday and I am SO thankful to report that I had NONE of the severe reactions that can accompany this type of procedure. While I do feel like I have the flu today, I can definitely handle that. Not breathing and heart going out of control not so much. PRAISE the LORD! I covet prayer for the next treatment which is next Monday. After this the doctor will take some additional blood work and we will evaluate whether the Iron IV's need to be a regular weekly treatment for a while or if there is a better course of action for the future.


If you are friends with me on Facebook then you know that we praised the Lord that one of the areas that has been a concern for the doctors came back from biopsy as non-malignant! PRAISE GOD! I still have some additional areas that need to be checked and removed but we are so grateful for this news this week!

I have done some exploration and was pleasantly surprised to find out that there was a Lymes Support Group in my area! In fact it is held (but not sponsored) at the church that my parents attend. Because the church doesn't sponsor it there was never a formal announcement made about it so I was so happy to discover it by researching several different venues. I have contacted the leader and am hoping to attend my first meeting next week! In addition to this I have connected with a few people online that are battling Lymes. Their courage to fight Lymes is such an inspiration to me! 

I started reflexology last week and am hoping to see how that will help in this process of getting well. One of the things that I have noticed is that my stomach has felt less pain after only one treatment! I was so delighted by that!

I had a wonderful phone consultation with my doctor from the Whitaker Wellness Institute today. I am very excited for the plan that we have in place for the next couple of months! If you are a person who is seriously ill or fighting a disease you understand how lovely "plans" are! I am definitely thanking the Lord once again for such an AMAZING doctor and for bringing me to the Whitaker Wellness Institute. 

One of the key components of going back out for treatment is the expense aspect. (If you would like to see a complete breakdown of costs you can click HERE.) I can't thank y'all enough who have donated and have financially supported me - not just for this upcoming treatment session but in the past and throughout this long journey. Y'all are such a blessing! THANK YOU so much for each of you that have been praying for the financial aspect. Truly this is something that we are begging the Lord to provide. Due to all of the unknowns, previous treatment costs, travel to so many different doctors and hospitals last year, and so many ongoing health expenses we are in need of this money. I am SO glad for a BIG God who always provides! If you would like to help out you can do so here:

Thank you again to all of you who are SO supportive. Text messages, cards, phone calls, prayers, etc. constantly show love and support throughout this long journey. While I sadly hear of chronically ill people losing friends along the way (and I sadly have experienced this with a couple of people) I am constantly overwhelmed at the outpouring of love and support in multiple different ways from so many people. 

Thank you again so much for all of your support! 
Love, Rebecca

9/23/13

looking Back... to a lovely evening ski

It is hard to believe that summer is truly over and that fall has officially arrived. This past weekend I finally had the chance to finish going through some pictures from the final weeks of the summer. Over the next few days I have a few pictures to show from during that time and today I am excited to share with y'all a lovely evening ski. If you are a water skier that you understand completely when I say that there is something magical about skiing in the evening. Usually there are not a lot of boats and there is something almost powerful about skiing during that time of the day. We had one of those nights when good friends were up and it was a lovely evening. 

The night was simply gorgeous and once again we are so grateful for the boat that the Lord provided that we prayed for!
We are always so grateful for our view from our cabin. We truly never take it for granted.
Truly the clouds are "the dust of His feet". 
A beautiful summer evening that spoke of the Lord's peace.
It was a beautiful evening for Nate and Wes to ski!
As we welcome fall I hope that y'all have treasured memories like I do of this past summer! 

9/19/13

Thursday Health Thoughts: Surviving an ER Visit

{Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.}
As I mentioned to y'all last month when I shared about creating an emergency room bag  I wanted to suggest a couple of things that can help you "survive an Emergency Room visit" *smiles*. These tips are in no particular order but I hope that they will bring you some help for those unexpected and unwanted trips. 

(1) When you arrive at the ER make sure to clearly and specifically state what the symptoms are that you are dealing with. If you can't breathe- make sure that you state that immediately. 

(2) If you don't feel that you are being listened to by the check-in nurse and if you feel that you need more attention then ask for the charge nurse. If you still do not have the attention that you feel that the situation needs feel free to ask for the head of the ER nurse or a patient advocate. 

(3) Don't shout at anyone- be calm but be persistent in a respectful way.

(4) Remember the reality that ER visits are meant to be for serious issues and life-threatening emergencies. If you don't fit into either category you probably will not be seen for several hours. 

(5) Before taking a medicine double check that they are aware of your allergies. It is not uncommon to see several different nurses or doctors in one visit. Some information- especially important information- can sometimes be lost in translation.

(6)If you notice that someone is not washing their hands when they come into your room gently remind them to do so. (You don't want to go into the ER with a broken arm and come out with the flu.)

(7) Ask questions.

(8) Don't be afraid to speak up for your needs. Waiting is appropriate but if your loved one is very sick and you need attention don't be afraid to ask for a nurse to come help.

(9) If you are going to drive yourself (or have someone drive you) and you are not going to come by ambulance consider calling your doctor to alert the ER that you are coming (if it is a serious situation). 

(10)If you can try to go early. One statistic stated that most ER's are busiest at 7pm.

(11) Make sure to ask if you can go to the bathroom or eat something. Certain tests are compromised by eating.

(12) If you are not comfortable with your doctor request a specialist or a more senior ER doctor. You have the right to do so and if it is necessary use this right!

And finally... 

(13) "The American College of Emergency Physicians says that sometimes a patient will come in with mild symptoms, and while they are waiting, their medical condition worsens.  It's very important for emergency patients in waiting rooms to notify the triage nurse if they are in pain or if they start to feel worse.  If they are still concerned, they should ask to speak to an emergency physician or a patient advocate.  People should not leave the emergency department without being seen."

9/15/13

Notes from the Porch {four} ~ "I'm doing fine... getting better everyday"

I find myself saying the above when people kindly inquire about how I am feeling. I usually say this with a smile or with a confident tone (if I am talking on the phone)and to be frank sometimes I think that I may be trying to convince myself that I am in fact doing fine and getting better everyday. But in reality I think that while I have improved in some small measures I do know that this journey and battle is far from over. While I am not in the "crisis stage" of last year, there are small crisis' that still arise at least once or twice weekly. I have been able to adjust and not be caught off guard by some of the stranger Lymes symptoms and issues. And I am so thankful for a wonderful doctor (well a team of doctors for the various health issues *smiles*) who is helping me get on the road to recovery. 

Today though I felt the need to explain a little more about what I mean by "I'm doing fine... getting better everyday" because I recognize that for some people who are not as close to our family or in the "tribe" there might appear to be a "seeming" discrepancy between needing additional treatment and yet moving forward with a book contract and some speaking engagements. Due to some questions that we have received in this regard I have decided to be a little bit more "open" in this post about where things are at. {For those of you that know me very well you know that this is really outside of my comfort zone as I am typically a very reserved and private person. I share all of the things below simply to share how appreciative I am of your lovely support during this extremely difficult time.}

It is hard to explain how a "typical" day looks for me. I usually try to "sleep in" in the morning but typically wake up at 4am and then drift off back to sleep around 5:30am to sleep for a couple of more hours. After I wake up I have to lay very still for a while as everyday I wake up exhausted and extremely nauseous. After about 20 minutes I am able to move a tiny bit, take several herbal supplements, use my infrared heating pad,  and then spend time with the Lord. 

After that I force myself to eat some breakfast (as I am never hungry because of the constant nausea) and then proceed to take more vitamins, supplements, and medication. After breakfast if I am feeling well enough I will spend a couple of hours on schoolwork or the book out on the couch. If I am not feeling strong enough I will spend the time in bed writing. If I don't have any doctors appointments in the morning (which is rare) I will spend the morning like this. If I do then I will work on both of these things in the afternoon. In the late morning I will take an additional medication and then it is time for lunch. 

After lunch I take a 1-3 hour nap and then work some more on the book or schoolwork. If I have completed those tasks for the day then I will write for the blog. Somedays are a struggle for me to write and that is why some weeks on the blog I only have a couple of posts. After the nap I also have to take additional supplements and spend some time doing the "hot and cold therapy" which is trying to help my stomach muscles and colon literally "relearn" how to work properly. I start to get incredibly sleepy around 5pm and need alot of help from my family for the evening hours in preparing food, sometimes walking, etc. {It definitely is a team effort and I am so incredibly thankful for them.} 

After dinner I do some other alternative therapies including stretching and more "hot and cold therapy" and then I will "watch" an hour or two of TV with my family while trying to work on some of my Etsy orders. TV, computer time, and noise are extremely limited throughout the day as to much stimulation can be overwhelming to my system and there have been some studies that suggest to much stimulation will impede healing more quickly.  I end the day spending time in more scripture, prayer, and sometimes catching up with dear friends. A couple of more supplements and meds and it is off to try and sleep a little bit. (Sleep is incredibly difficult for Lymes patients so any night that I can get 4 hours of consecutive sleep is a blessing!)

Everyday contains a million different issues that are hard to describe and everyday has a little bit of a different twist. I try to spend at least an hour a day researching about Lymes and alternative treatments and also spend some of my day doing these tips and ideas (i.e.- juicing, etc.) As far as how I feel each day-  at any given moment it is not unusual for me to deal with extreme stomach pain, nausea, headaches, vomiting, gastrointestinal issues, numbness in one of my legs, tingling in one of my arms, difficulty concentrating, shaky feelings, light-headedness, extreme fatigue, extreme sensitivity to light and noise, sensitivity to heat, loss of appetite, extreme inflammation (weight can fluctuate between 5 to 15 pounds from day to day), vision issues, pain in my joints (I was recently diagnosed with arthritis), dizziness and vertigo, heart that races uncontrollably, shortness of breath, etc. Emotionally I often feel like a completely different person then when this journey started. The best way that I can describe how I feel daily is to tell someone to imagine that they have the flu, a migraine, and mono all at the same time and times it by ten. That is how I feel. 

So I share all that to say that I was honestly shocked that I received some surprise emails that I would need additional treatment because everyone has heard me say that "I'm doing fine... getting better everyday" and that I signed a book contract and have been speaking. I was surprised that there seemed to be some confusion about a "dichotomy". Honestly, I think that if people know me at all they know that I like to look at the good in the amazing blessings that the Lord gives me everyday rather than talking all of the time about the above. It may appear that there is a dichotomy but I know that it is the Lord who is showing that in my weakness HE is strong. The Lord provides the strength and the concentration to accomplish the plans He has set forth before me. I spend hours and hours praying about the book and speaking engagements and I am confident that the Lord is the one who is giving me every word because it is in HIS timing. And the other thing that is a complete miracle is that EVERY speaking engagement that I have accepted or attended - the Lord has blessed and anointed with HIS supernatural energy and HIS blessing. TRULY, the promises of the Lord never fail: "And as thy days are, so thy strength shall be". 

When my health first started to crumble and disintegrate and I started to spend more and more hours bedridden and not even able to stand on my own I prayed a prayer that has truly continued to be the prayer of my soul throughout this journey:

Thank you Father, for these my friends and family, and all who read this blog and interact with me everyday. Thank you SO much for these beautiful people, who are so very dear to me. Let my grief in what I wanted my life to look like at this moment, in the things that I miss about "normal life", and the other hidden things in my heart, be mine alone. Anoint my countenance with the oil of joy; that none may ever feel embarrassed to laugh in my presence. May no joke or sharing of the ridiculous or funny be stifled because I am there and suffering. Wrap me in the garment of praise, that I may not burden others with the heaviness of my grief, but may they only see you in your power, goodness and faithfulness to every generation. May my hearts cry resound with "though He slay me, I will trust in Him" for your glory precious Lord.

So while I am doing fine and getting better everyday I understand that I am still a long way from being free from Lymes. I can't thank you enough for all of your support. Thank you for all of your continued prayers and your support of Rebecca's Run, for your daily prayers for strength, and for your prayers for healing. You are such a blessing in my life! If I can encourage you with anything it would be: Follow the Lord. Believe in His promises sweet friends. Hold onto Him. He is soo good. 

EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.

9/9/13

Rebecca's Run 2013

{You can click HERE to go directly to Rebecca's Run website.}
It's hard to believe that the day has arrived to announce this exciting event! As y'all might remember Emily offered to run a race in honor of Rebecca a couple of months ago. Since then, with the help of sweet people and many prayers, things have turned into an incredible event. TRULY the Lord is so good to have blessed me with such a beautiful community and tribe!

So what is Rebecca's Run ?
Rebecca's Run is a virtual race just like any other, except that there is no "official" race location, only an official race weekend. A virtual race provides the opportunity for anyone to participate no matter where you live. A virtual race allows you to simply register for the race and then during the designated race weekend (October 11th-13th, 2013) when you want and where you want (outside, indoor track, treadmill, or participate in another race). After you have completed your run/walk email (email to: rebeccasrun@gmail.com) in the results when you're done if you would like to be considered for a winning prize. All the results will be compiled for each category (1/2 marathon, 10k, 5k, and walk opportunity) and results will be posted on this website after the race is over. We welcome any pictures or stories to accompany your weekend- please use #rebeccasrun in any social media context !

What is the purpose of Rebecca's Run?
All proceeds from the race will go directly to help meet the costs of Rebecca's medical bills, specifically her costs in California for her October treatment weeks. (Please click HERE for the exact breakdown of costs for the October trip.)

How do I participate?
Click HERE to go directly to Rebecca's Run website, register for the race, or to buy a t-shirt or wrist-band.

What if I can't run, but Want to Donate Anyway?We are humbled and so grateful for your desire to contribute to this project and Rebecca's health expenses. If you would like to just donate without participating in the run or would simply like to support Emily running then please click  HERE and then click on the "donate" button on the side. THANK YOU!

Have Questions?
Click HERE to find out answers to FAQ!

What else can I do to help?
I am very humbled and grateful for your heart! Please help us spread the word by passing on the Rebecca's Run (http://www.rebeccasrun.blogspot.com/) website to your friends and family who you think might be interested in helping out! As always, we welcome and covet your prayers for daily strength and for healing. 

What happened to Rebecca's old "Go Fund Me Page"?
Words can not express how grateful we are to each person who has contributed to the old Go Fund Me Page. We continue to thank the Lord for each of you daily. Currently we have suspended the original Go Fund Me page to focus on this particular event. 

Thank you so much for all of your support y'all! I am so grateful for each of you. 
Love, Rebecca

9/5/13

Chronicittles: Sarah's Ulcerative Colitis Story

{Chronicittles Disclaimer: Those that are sharing their personal chronicittles stories are sharing just that- their stories. They are people that are struggling {or have struggled} with the ins and outs of a chronic illness and have found ways of surviving and thriving. Their stories are meant to encourage, inspire, and challenge those that are struggling but are in no way meant to be a physician's advice. Please be aware that this is a space for learning and encouraging and not a space that will allow critical comments of any persons story. A reader should consult with his/her physician regarding any information gleaned from these stories. Thank you so much for reading!}

It's with great pleasure that I share with you Sarah's story! Even though I have never met her "in person" I am honored to call her a friend! She is truly inspiring and I am excited to have her share her story with y'all!
*all pictures in Sarah's post story are Sarah's *
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Hi everyone! My name is Sarah, and I blog over at Limited Space Organizing. Rebecca so kindly asked me if I would share my chronicittles story with y'all!

When I was a sophomore in college, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis.  It is an autoimmune disease that I will have to deal with for the rest of my life.  I have a very mild form of it (luckily), but basically I have ulcers in my colon/large intestine.  I take medicine everyday to keep it under control, and will have to get colonoscopy's every three years for the rest of my life as long as it stays mild. I had a colonoscopy this past May, and they said everything looks normal, which means, the meds are working!

Being 24 years old and knowing that you have a disease is really hard to deal with. I know that there are people younger than me dealing with worse issues, but that doesn't mean this hasn't been hard to deal with. It's difficult being "young" and already having to take medication everyday. I always imagined I'd be A LOT older before that started. I often find myself asking, "Why me?", and  "What did I do to deserve this?"  Most people don't have to get their fist colonoscopy until they turn FIFTY years old! Although it has been four years since I've been diagnosed, I still haven't wrapped my head around it and accepted it. I have to make sure that I eat healthy and exercise, which is what we are supposed to do anyways, but I also need to watch my stress level and anxiety, which I have a real problem with. These could cause flare-ups, and an increase in medication, and I really don't want to do that. I feel like the first step in accepting this disease is announcing it, and stop holding it all in. I need to continue in prayer for God to heal my body and to keep this disease in a mild state.

Apparently, autoimmune diseases are hereditary and very common, and some are worse than others. This is not the only autoimmune disease I have, I also have Raynaud's Syndrome. Whenever I'm cold (could be in the snow, or too cold of A/C) my toes turn white and go numb.  It's nothing serious, and I don't take medication for it, but it's just something added onto the list of health issues I have at the ripe old age of 24. I am hoping that writing this will help me get over the fact that I will have this disease the rest of my life and help me to accept it, and for anyone else out there who feels alone. If anyone needs someone to vent to, or just some encouragement, please don't hesitate to email me! limitedspaceorganizing@gmail.com

Thanks Rebecca for letting me stop by today to share my story!! Don't forget to come visit my blog, Limited Space Organizing, I'd love to meet all of you!
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Thank you so much Sarah for your encouragement and strength in sharing your story with us! Your courage inspires all of us!