The fall of the queen of the mountain

I’m Karine, 31 years old and I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in the summer of 2008. Before that moment, I stood up proudly with confidence at the top of the mountain. During primary and high school, I was in perfect health and in great shape, so I played several sports and I had a busy social life. I was a happy girl surrounded by a loving family.

After high school, as I am an empathic person and because it’s natural to me to help people, it was obvious to me that I would have a career in the health field so I went to school to become a nurse. It took three long years of effort to finally get my diploma and license. This was around 2007. At that time, I was studying full time, working more than 30 hours a week and I was still in good health and energetic.

In July 2008, in the middle of my university studies, the tumble started. The queen I was began to have huge abdominal pain, more than a dozen bouts of bloody diarrhea a day and very significant weight loss. After more than a month in the hospital, I was told that I had a chronic inflammatory bowel disease: Crohn's disease.

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My intravenous Remicade treatment then began. At that point, my life could resume its course but it would be a challenge to slow down its pace.

Between 2008 and 2010, I was in a period of complete adaptation. I had to juggle active outbreaks of the disease and moments of remission. I was managing my university studies and working full time while being hospitalized several times for complications related to the disease or simply to fight all kinds of viruses because my immune system was weakened by the medication.

In September 2009, I had a big surprise: a baby was growing in my sick belly. At that moment, the speed of my fall from the mountain accelerated very quickly. The queen I had been had to face a battle against a very aggressive outbreak of the disease while being pregnant. In June 2010, at the 32nd of my pregnancy, I had an allergic reaction to Remicade. After the exams, I was rushed to the operating room because my bowel was fissured, my blood was infected and my baby, who was in distress, had to be taken out of my body. Everything happened so fast. I was in free fall. When I awoke in intensive care, the doctors explained to me that they had to remove a large part of my bowel and do an ileostomy because my bowel had been in such bad shape.

My little prince and I then met in intensive care. I was in complete denial about my ileostomy. The following year, I gave myself body and soul to the care of my newborn while forgetting about me. I was only a mother. I was no longer a woman, I was no longer a spouse, I was no longer a friend... Events reduced me to a point that I no longer loved life. I felt terribly bad inside and cried secretly every day.

I thought I had reached the bottom of the mountain, but my fall created a huge hole. From the bottom of this crater, a second fight was waiting for me: major depression and post-traumatic shock.

This is through my story that I will address the theme of mental illness because being an ostomate, by choice or not, can be very difficult to accept. It’s also taboo. By reading my articles, you will discover how I managed to get out of my hole and then start the long hike back up the mountain. I will also explain to you how I managed to put my crown back on and to stand up straight again on my mountain.

This is my story.


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