BENEFITING: United Ostomy Associations Of America Inc
Life is simple really when things get rough-giving you only two choices. You can give up or get up and fight. I chose to fight and I need you to help continue that fight. Diagnosed at age 22 with ulcerative colitis, I spent my young adult life navigating symptoms of severe abdominal pain, fatigue and bowel movements in excess of 10 per day. It became normal for me to be hospitalized one to three times a year, given Prednisone (often referred to as the Devil's Tic-Tac's due to the horrendous side effects) and IV steroids to reduce the inflammation and sent on my way. I took daily medicine and managed the best I could-until I simply couldn't any more. It was a crash and burn situation where I was having accidents at work-and I'm a nurse. December 23rd, 2013 I had the first of 4 surgeries to remove my diseased colon and have an ileostomy created. Mabel my ileostomy gave me my life back. March and May 2014 were subsequent surgeries to create a new internal pouch from my small intestines and though learning to function with new plumbing was an enormous and painful adjustment, I thought I was finally "cured". However, I wasn't....and continued to struggle for the past three years with severe inflammation of my internal continent diversion called a j-pouch (names as such as it is in the shape of a J). October 2016 I was rediagnosed with crohn's and started on weekly Humira injections and Imuran as well. This August, my husband Terry and I will be doing a trip of a lifetime and pushing the limits of my illness. We will be taking his Harley Ultra 2300 miles from the suburbs of Detroit to Irvine, California for the United Ostomy Association of America national conference. This organization represents me and a million other individuals with continent diversions and ostomies. My ostomy was the first time I felt like I had a "normal" life in 10 + years and it's my turn to give back to an organization that has given me so much. UOAA promotes quality of life for people with ostomies and continent diversions through information, support, advocacy and collaboration and can only do it with donations. 2300 miles though on the back of a motorcycle?! Yes, because I will live life to its fullest and refuse to allow my illness to run my life. The ride will include part of the iconic Route 66 and current plan is to do the entire trip in 7 days, allowing time for rain and fatigue. It involves immense planning from preventing my Humira from getting above 77 degrees while crossing the desert in August to packing two distinct wardrobes as I am a presenter at the conference in Irvine to the fun stuff-picking the hotels and must sees on the route. Please help support United Ostomy Association of America and my crazy idea to life my life the way I want! All money raised will be donated to UOAA as my husband and I are finding the ride itself entirely ourselves.