Friday, June 10, 2016

Facing Forward: Kenzie

Facing Forward is a series that shares the lives of people living with arthritis and other invisible chronic illnesses. The goal of the series is to see how we are similar and how we are different - and to remind us to keep moving forward because we aren't alone!

Name: Kenzie
Location: Oregon
Diagnosis: Indeterminate Colitis, Psoriasis, Fructose Malabsorption
Age at Diagnosis: 23 for Indeterminate Colitis and Fructose Malabsorption. 25 for Psoriasis.

How are you currently treating your condition?
I am currently on weekly Humira for my Indeterminate Colitis and Psoriasis. For the Fructose Malabsorption, I do my best to avoid foods that are high in fructose and fructans.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced since your diagnosis?
Finding a medication that works for me. I was first started in Lialda and after two weeks of horrible side effects from it I ended up in the hospital. After that, I was on prednisone for a few months and then I got bridged over to budesonide but that only worked for a while. I was then started on Imuran and I had an allergic reaction to it. In July 2014, I was started on Humira. I was on biweekly doses for that for about a year until I had to go on it weekly to keep my symptoms under control. I still have flare-ups and when that happens my doctor puts me on Prednisone and Hydrocortisone suppositories.

What are your favorite tips and tricks for managing everyday tasks?
I have a Passion Planner that I use for everything. It helps a lot with work, planning appointments, and things I want to do. I also recently started using ToDoist. It's a great app that is an awesome task manager. I've been able to get a lot of tasks completed that I've been meaning to get done. Like scheduling a dentist appointment!

I also do my best to focus on what I can do not on what I can't do. I used to stress out a lot about my to-do lists because I wouldn't get everything done that I would want to get done. That type of thinking caused me a lot of stress. Changing my thinking to focusing on what I can do every day has helped me a lot. If what I can do for the day is sit on the couch and watch TV, that's ok. There is nothing wrong with that.

How do you manage to keep facing forward every day?
Facing forward every day is not always an easy thing. One thing you have to realize that you don't always have to face forward. It's ok if you're feeling down. We've all been there. The important thing is to keep going.

I keep facing forward because I hope that one day there will be a cure. I also don't want to let this disease hold me back from my goals and dreams. I also don't want to be my disease.

If you could go back to diagnosis day and tell your past self one thing, what would it be?
To immediately get on Twitter and find my people. The IBD family on there has made such a difference in my life. I really wish I had found them sooner.

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