Crohns Disease Disabled Single Mom Seeks Grant To Get Thru Rough Patch
by Latasha Ward
(South Bend, Indiana, USA)
My name is Latasha Ward, and I am a Crohn's disease disabled single mother of four.
I am 38 years old and I was born and raised in Osceola, Arkansas. I come from a family of eight.
My mother and father are still married, but I don't have a close relationship with them or any of my family for that matter.
My life started when I had my first child. I knew I had been blessed by God. At the age of 23, I had relocated with my kids to South Bend, Indiana with no clue of to what to expect. At that time it was just my two daughters and son. I had to do it for them.
I did not have family or friends that I could call up to help with anything. But I always knew that if I ever needed anything that I could call on God. God blessed me with them so I did what I had to do as a single mother to make ends meet.
As of today both of my daughters have graduated from high school and my son will be graduating from high school this year. My oldest daughter is in college in Notre Dame, Indiana at Saint Mary's College and she will be graduating May of 2013. I'm so proud of her.
My fourth child came into our lives in 2006, and things were going great for my family and me. I had just got a promotion at work, and finally things were looking good for us. Then, out of nowhere I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in July of 2007.
Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease or IBD. It causes inflammation of the digestive tract. Crohn's disease usually occurs in the small intestine (the ileum) and the large intestine (the colon).
But it can occur anywhere in the digestive tract. It occurs when your immune system produces too much protein called tumor necrosis and it attacks the healthy cells in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Some of the symptoms that occur with Crohn's patients are abdominal pain, diarrhea which may be bloody if inflammation is at its worst, vomiting and weight loss.
It may also cause complications outside the gastrointestinal tract, such as skin rashes, arthritis, inflammation of the eyes, tiredness, lack of concentration, fevers and fistulae.
People with Crohn's disease experience chronic recurring periods of flare-ups and remission. This is a lifelong disease.
In 2007, when I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, it had flared up to the point that it was out of control. I lost my ability to be the head of the household.
The disease took charge of my life. I was unable to keep my job, house and car. The things I had worked so hard for were taken away from me.
First I had formed two abscesses in my abdominal walls. I had two tubes put in me for five weeks, and during this time I lost 80 pounds. My average weight was always around 180-190 pounds and I had dropped to 98 pounds, the smallest I could ever remember being.
My first surgery was in 2008; it was to remove some of my colon. My second surgery was in March of 2010; a small bowel obstruction caused me to have some of my small intestine to be removed.
With the disease there are a lot of medications involved, along with anxiety, stress and depression. Because this disease is a very controlling disease, I had become less independent. I had been put on bed rest for the last five years.
Crohn's disease can take over your life. I had to deal with losing weight, vomiting, fevers, falling from when my legs gave out without warning.
This disease does not care where you're at, I could be at home cleaning my house or out in public grocery shopping and my legs would give out on me. Not only that I didn't have control of my bowels at all.
While the Crohn's is flared up, the pain cannot be explained. I had to reschedule many appointments because I was unable to get there due to being so sick I could hardly move, plus I didn't have reliable transportation anymore.
I missed out on so many special events. I lost my first grandson in 2009, and that added to everything else that I was going through. I began to feel so depressed, and longed for the ability to be the old me.
I wished I could work, go to church, and be the mom I used to be, the person I used to be. I was always told that I was a strong individual, now I was weak.
In May of 2010, I returned to the doctor because the stitches in my stomach from a previous surgery were sticking out. I had to go through MRIs, CTs, ultrasounds, colon exams and blood work. I was in and out the hospital with so many doctors and so many appointments.
Since the surgery in March of 2010, I knew my Crohn's was shown as active meaning it was under control.
By March 31, 2010 though, I started experiencing pain, swelling and leakage where the infection was taken out. I had to return to the doctor in October of 2010 because I just wasn't getting better.
Crohn's is a very tricky disease, but there is one person that Crohn's cannot trick and that is God. I got to the point in my life where I was tired and I was ready to give up. God stepped in and worked things out in my life.
On February 2, 2012 I returned to the doctor and had another surgery. Finally he took two stitches out of me in two different spots that had been causing the leaking, swelling and pain.
Another spot in my stomach is still causing some leaking and a little bit of pain. So I had to do another MRI and a colon test to see if my Crohn's was active. The test showed that there was no sign of my Crohn's being active though.
Since that test was done, I have been a little better. I have been able to move around a lot better. But I need to get my finances in order, so I can get through the hardship of not having transportation to get to my appointments.
If I get my finances in order I can at least try to get better by making it to my appointments so I can gain my ability to get back in the work environment.
I just want to try to be the person I used to be before this Crohn's disease took over my life. If my income gets better, I know I can get my life back the way it used to be.
I am looking for a grant to help make my process of getting my life back more achievable. This is just my story of how no matter what you're going through in life God can get you through the rough patches in life.