Hello to all reading this. My name is Mary Horsley and I battle with Crohn’s Disease. I am a United States Navy veteran, a communications and journalism student, licensed cosmetologist, fur mom, and wife to my lucky husband, Philip.
I write about my Crohn’s Disease experiences, as well as my fight with migraines, infertility in my marriage, some carpal tunnel syndrome, nerve pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and my other mental health struggles, to name a few things. Discussing my own diagnoses and opinions has quickly become a major aspect of my life, and I look forward to writing and learning more about IBD as I share my personal journey as a Crohn’s patient receiving care from the U.S. Veterans Health Administration.
Before my issues really began, I never had problems with my body. I was healthy — or so I thought. All of a sudden, I started to suffer from stomach issues, like bleeding and urgency, and now this has led to almost three years of recurring problems, my multiple diagnoses, and loads of fun tests and medications.
Further, I often deal with body aches and insomnia, along with some dermatology and neurology complaints. I can assure you my life is no longer boring. From doctors’ appointments to abdominal scans, differential diagnoses to new treatments and chaotic side effects, chronic illness has taken over my everyday life.
I have memorized the gist of the past three years as a list: Five ER visits, three colonoscopies, two endoscopies, two pill-camera endoscopies, two butt-hole surgeries: one perianal abscess with a fissure that led to one fistulotomy, one double-balloon endoscopy, and a Meckel’s scan. All mixed with numerous physicians, hospital locations, and, countless needle pokes and hospital bracelets.
The positive in all of this? We found an extra spleen floating around, and a random ganglioneuroma in my bowel that was later removed. I got a small “tattoo place marker” inside my stomach. I have met a number of supportive people who I can happily call my friends, and gained a humor for all things bowel-related, something I never would have discussed before.
I started Remicade infusions this past winter after trying a number of other medications. I am still fighting for relief and peace of mind. I have come to accept my illnesses, ailments and issues, and I have found ways to stay positive and find the silver lining in things, often with the help of my fellow Crohnies and Chronic Illness Warriors.
Considering my troubles, I had concern accepting my new lifestyle changes and the things that are out of my control, so I began sharing my story with other Crohn’s and IBD patients through my personal blog, It Could Be Worse. What began as a hobby soon became something I look forward to weekly, as writing helps me vent and express what I am going through inside a body that looks OK on the outside.
“It Could Be Worse” is the phrase I have chosen and tried to live by since my diagnosis of Crohn’s last year, the inspiration for my writings and my blog posts. Like anyone, I have my good days and my bad days. I am human, after all. But I remember that it could be worse, and it helps me to remain grateful for what I do have and be optimistic in my daily life. It helps me to know that I can overcome my struggles and that I am doing what I can with the hand I have been dealt.
Because it could be worse.
Much Love and Crohnie hugs — Mary
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