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Meet Lenette

We asked Lenette about her life living with Crohns.

Tell us your Crohns story?

I began having health issues in my mid-twenties, around 2007. I had an appendectomy with my small intestine adhered to the appendix. IBD was suspected but somehow that fell through the cracks. I began experiencing diarrhea and abdominal pain and I eventually became used to it and it didn’t seem as abnormal as it should have. In 2009, I was diagnosed with a perianal fistula. It was repaired after several surgeries. I had several ER visits after that fir severe abdominal pain and the final straw happened with an intestinal blockage in 2013. I was referred to my current GI doctor. He was wonderful. He listened to my entire story, took notes and then explained that he believed I had Crohn’s disease and gave the reasons why he believed that. He then lined up testing to confirm the diagnosis. I received that confirmation on December 31, 2014. 

I began Humira in January 2015 and I’m still taking it twice a month to this day! After continuing to have worsening symptoms, I had an MRE in 2016 that showed extreme stricturing in my small intestines. That fall, I had 12 inches of my small bowel and terminal ileum removed. I had a rough recovery, but once I healed, I felt like a new woman! It’s now been almost 5 years since my surgery, and besides a few flare ups, some joint pain and fatigue, I have been doing great! 

Although my Crohn’s is currently in remission, I have to listen to my body and rest when it is telling me to rest. That can mean that I may not get to do the things I was wanting to do that day and that is always frustrating. I have noticed that when I get good sleep, drink plenty of water and eat fairly well, I do feel better. I also take vitamins D and B12 to help keep deficiency from happening

Do you have any advice for anyone who has recently been diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel disease?

One helpful piece of advice on the road to diagnosis and beyond- keep your medical records in a binder and also have a “one-pager” to take with you to any appointments so that you don’t inadvertently leave something out.

I started my Instagram account- @_lifewithcrohnsdisease_ 5 years ago on September 18, 2016. It was two months prior to my bowel resection and I was desperate for someone to talk to in the IBD community. It was such a blessing to me and I’m honoured to have become a place where people can ask questions or find support. IBD is such a complex and debilitating disease and it can be difficult to have a positive outlook. My goal is to build community and bring a positive light to the IBD community. 💜