Although I love the life I live, it hasn't alwasy been easy. 2001 is when my health started its downward spiral. After being misdiagnosed with what doctors thought was a simple bout of Jaundice that later led to increased detrimental health consequences, I was finally diagnosed with Autoiummune Hepatitis in 2002. In a brief explanation, what this means is that my body has now recognized my liver as a foreign object and is trying to reject it any way that it can. Upon a new diagnosis, doctors sprung into action in hopes to get ahead of this Chronic Illness, taking samples of various tissues and putting me on an assorted cocktail of new medications. If any of you remember me from middle school, this is when you saw me at my worst as I swelled to a plump little chubby cheeked kid. Somewhat comparable to Violet Beauregarde from Willy Wonka in size; it was tough. Things declined so rapidly that my mother reached out to the lovely folks at the Make-A-Wish foundation in hopes that they might be able to help if in fact this was my end all. It was such a blessing, that to this day I am still thankful for, that I was accepted and granted a wish in 2004. It just so happened to be Idaho's 500th wish granted. While things may have been tough during this time, the Make-A-Wish foundation did everything in their power to see that I hadn't a single worry during this wish process. That I was able to feel like a normal kid again, even if it was just for a moment.
After years of various treatments and countless prescriptions, I was doing well for the most part considering. There have been months where my liver test numbers have been really high but for the most part things have been kept under control. That all changed yet again in 2016. Early 2016 I was diagnosed with Ulceritive Colitis, having ulcers spread throughout my entire large intestine. Upon diagnosis, doctors were quick to move because of how fast this disease was progressing. Not even a month after diagnosis, doctors wanted to do something that I hadn't ever fathomed; removal of my entire large intestine. Surgery started early 2016 and was the first part of 3 procedures that took the course of nearly 9 months to complete. For these 9 months I was given a temporary colostomy bag which, truth be told, was pretty traumatic. I did my best to hide it from the world and only tell select friends because I was embarrased to think that at 23 years old, this could be my new life. Luckily my doctor was able to create what is known as a J-pouch without many complications. October of 2016 was the last of the reconstruction surgery and time to learn how things now worked with 5 less feet of intestine.
All of 2017 was a hard year of learning and adjusting to a new lifestyle and a new diet full of various restrictions. With just a few exceptions, the J-pouch was performing really well. Towards the end of 2017 though, I found myself sick more often than not and it wasn't until a 4 day hospital stay in November that the doctors discovered yet another surprise. Crohn's Disease. I was formally diagnosed with Crohn's this year, and have been on the path to get it under control ever since. I have recently started infusions that range anywhere from 10 to 20 thousand dollars per infusion but haven't had enough yet to notice significant changes. The unfortunate truth to these infusions is that they will completely wipe my already compromised immune system, and to me, that is scary.
All of these significant lifestyle changes have led me to the path of stem cell treatment. There are so many proven cases of stem cells having significant results, especially with autoimmune disorders. I don't know where this thing called life is going to lead me next, but I know that I've been given what could be a life altering opportunity and I want nothing more than to see this come true. That's why I come to here, in hopes to raise money for a dream, that alone, is just a bit too far out of my reach. I want to thank you for any future donation, no matter how big or small, each one will bring me just that much closer. I want to also thank you for reading this, I know it's long, but I wanted to be able to share my story with all of you. Thank you.
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