Life with Tara…IBD From a Twenty Something Year Old”…going to college

This week I thought I would speak about some­thing my read­ers would be inter­ested in since recently I have spo­ken to a lot of IBD’ers going into col­lege or afraid to dorm.

My deci­sion to dorm hap­pened senior year. I never gave any thought to it before because my col­i­tis was always flar­ing up.  I lost all hope in hav­ing any type of life that didn’t include being on my bed and run­ning straight to the bath­room at all times of the day.  I got accepted to over 13 schools because some­how I had a 91 aver­age even with all my hos­pi­tal­iza­tions.   Plenty of schools in the city had accepted me and schools in the state of New York, but deep in my heart I love New Jer­sey for some rea­son.  I am not sure what clicked in me but one day I told myself I was tired of being frag­ile and decided that I really don’t care what any­one has to say.

August of 2007 I moved into Saint Peter’s Col­lege.  It was the hap­pi­est day of my life so far because I actu­ally felt “nor­mal”.  I was just one of the many faces of fresh­man mov­ing in.  I wasn’t “the sick girl”, “poor baby”, “patient”, “con­ta­gious”, or any other silly label you can think of.  I met my room­mate, Paula and knew that this was going to be great…until I saw the com­mu­nity bath­room that is.  How was I sup­posed to share a bath­room with over 16 girls on one floor?!?! Yeah, sure there were about 5 stalls but I didn’t want any­one to smell, hear, see, or be near me when I did my busi­ness.  I was just get­ting used to my fam­ily deal­ing with it.  I know males can’t relate to this but girls LOVE to travel in packs when going to the bath­room.  All I could think was every­one is going to judge me, hate me, or spread the infor­ma­tion all over cam­pus that I was always in the bath­room and it wasn’t pleas­ant.  For­tu­nately, I wasn’t flar­ing up and I went to the bath­rooms when every­one was either really drunk, early in the morn­ing, or really late at night.

The thing most col­leges don’t tell you is that they have cafe­te­rias and stu­dent unions with stores and café shops.  The choices are end­less!! This is the point in my life where I wanted…NO…I NEEDED to be “NORMAL”! I did not want any­one ques­tion­ing my food choices or lack thereof, so I ate every­thing.  I had no fear; I ate ice cream, corn, pizza, salad, nuts, fried foods, milk, frap­pu­ci­nos, espres­sos, ranch dress­ing, creamy Alfredo sauce, etc.  The list goes on and on…I had no care in the world and weirdly enough for a good amount of time my body was a trooper.  It let me eat every­thing with no con­se­quences. I think I should thank it for that.

Not too sure if you guys real­ize but drink­ing is a big part of col­lege appar­ently.  Liquor is every­where at all times.  Peo­ple drink and party like the world is about to end.  I am not going to lie to the read­ers, I drank. I tried it.  Even know­ing what it would do to my bleed­ing ulcers but I learned my les­son quite quickly.  I can­not tell you guys not to drink because temp­ta­tion will be there and I am not your fairy god­mother but please drink respon­si­bly and be pre­pared to be in chronic pain after­wards.  Look­ing back on it I can hon­estly say it wasn’t worth it but I am happy I have the expe­ri­ence of drink­ing like I wanted to die, to share with you guys.  Oh it was only one night but I am in no rush to try that ever again.

So we have finally come to the last bit of my irre­spon­si­bil­ity while in col­lege.  I did not take my med­i­cine. I am not too sure what I was think­ing.  I didn’t care, I didn’t want peo­ple to see me tak­ing my med­i­cine and think I was less of a per­son, I was too lazy to get refills, and again my obses­sion with nor­malcy drove me to hate the med­i­cine that was keep­ing me in remis­sion.  I used and abused my body know­ing that my dis­ease was lurk­ing in the shad­ows and didn’t care at all.  I thought I was invin­ci­ble and I actu­ally for once felt invincible.

After all of this I ended up in a hor­ri­ble flare up, back in the hos­pi­tal and after only one semes­ter of dorm­ing, I was back home and sick.  I basi­cally did it to myself.  I wanted to share this story so my read­ers didn’t do it as well.  Who cares if you are not the same as every­one else? Embrace your dis­ease and let every­one know about it.  Don’t be ashamed because your real friends will stick around for­ever.  Do not get me wrong, Col­lege wasn’t all bad things, I think some­where in between every­thing I talked about I went to class too! Ha-ha! I also made a life­long friend named Mandy (not Amanda) who, to this day, I still talk to and I am the god mother to her chil­dren.  Look­ing back I wish I took bet­ter care of myself to enjoy the full expe­ri­ence of col­lege but I know there are cer­tain peo­ple out there with such bad IBD that they couldn’t even fathom being away from home or liv­ing in a dorm.

Thank you so much for reading…until next time.

Tara Men­doza 

YouTube: Hel­loGlama­zon


pic1tara pic2Tara

Thank you sweet Tara, I can actu­ally relate to you about being in the dorms my first year of col­lege and feel­ing inveci­ble. I, myself, ended up in the emer­gency room 2 times and had my room mate freak out because I had not edu­cated her prior to me get­ting sick what was going on in my body. I also stopped my med­ica­tion on my own. I actu­ally ended up eat­ing very lit­tle because I feared a lot of the food and lost 15 pounds… after my first year away I ended back home and con­tin­ued my edu­ca­tion at a local col­lege. You are so bold to share the hon­esty of your story and I know many young woman out there will appre­ci­ate this post! ~ Sarah 

About the author

Sarah Choueiry

I’m on a life jour­ney to find health through love, com­pas­sion and edu­ca­tion. This has been a jour­ney that started before I even knew it had begun, at the age of 12. My name is Sarah Choueiry, and I am what I like to call a Crohnie. I am the CEO and Founder of The Crohn's Journey Foundation.