I haven't gone into detail about my condition because that's the thing - it is My Condition. It is personal. It is preexisting.
Since Congress just decided that my condition makes me less than, I am going to share it with you. Maybe you can share my story with your Representative - I already shared it with mine.
Over two years ago I went to get fitted for a suit for my wedding. At 30 years old I weighed 104 pounds - about 15 pounds lighter than I had weighed at 25. I exercise and eat fairly well I losing some weight was not a shock but that much was...scary. Doctor's appointments and tests were done. Diagnoses were considered but it was not until last year, after a third round of tests, that I got a clear diagnosis: Crohn's Disease.
In the simplest terms Crohn's is an inflammation of my intestines. As my specialist told me, sometime in my past I aggravated the lining of my guts and my body never stopped trying to fight the intruder. The results were not good.
Before treatment I had trouble putting on weight. I would occasionally, seemingly without cause (hint: there was one), have these intense cramps. For about eight hours I would be in almost constant pain. When I wasn't in pain I was counting down the seconds until the next attack. I would sweat, shit, vomit. I couldn't keep water down.
So a year ago I started treatment. Humira - you've seen the commercials I'm sure. Good news is the side effects haven't hit me (besides fatigue). I'm gaining weight (up to 118 pounds) and in two weeks will be running my first half marathon. I now know what sets off the Flares and haven't had a major episode since November.
Why am I writing this?
I have a job and insurance. But what if I didn't?
All those tests? Tens of thousands of dollars.
My medicine? One year's worth is more than my annual paycheck.
I have been steadily employed for almost 10 years. I have a Master's Degree in my field. I did nothing to deserve Crohn's. I never smoked a cigarette and drink in moderation. I try to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
But I have a preexisting condition, so somehow one party perceives me as Less Than.
So to the members of Congress who are did this I want you to know you're cowards. You couldn't do what I do. People like me may be sick but that does not make us less than. Our treatments may tire us out and have side effects but they also make us stronger.
Stronger than you.
Five years ago I never would have thought that every two weeks I'd be giving myself an injection. But I do that every two weeks just to live a life.
What do you do?
We are sick and we are still getting treatment and we are going to make your life miserable.