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.
IMAGES TARA WANTED TO SHARE WITH YOU DURING HER DAYS IN THE DORMS :)
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