In this installment of our stories for this month, we have a feature with Mackenzie Cameron!
“Kenzie” lives with Crohn’s disease and is an active role model in the community. She is using this opportunity to share some knowledge about the significance of community and why it’s so important to have representation for our community far beyond our inner circles.
Without further ado, here is “Kenzi”
My journey with Crohn’s disease started the summer of 2020, it began with abdominal pain and a lot of throwing up.
I went on countless trips to my doctor's office and emergency rooms, trying to get some relief and answers. Despite the tireless efforts of me and my family, these trips only led to me being misdiagnosed and told my symptoms didn’t make any sense.
As months went on, my symptoms began to worsen, and my body wasn’t able to digest the food I was once able to eat.
After finally standing up for myself and my health, on December 31, 2020, I was taken in for an emergency upper endoscopy and colonoscopy. I’m thankful for my gastroenterologist for making me feel understood at such a confusing and scary time and for making me feel like my health matters.
I’m currently in a place with my Crohn’s journey where the only thing my medical team can do to help are referrals to the chronic pain clinic to deal with the side effects of my most recent biologic medication.
Why is it important for the Crohn’s and colitis community to be represented?
Kenzie: As someone who lives with Crohn’s disease, this is so important to me. The Crohn’s and colitis community has played a huge part in helping me gain support, make friends, and advocate for myself.
There are so many people who don’t know what inflammatory bowel disease is. This is why it’s so extremely important to educate and to talk about Crohn’s and colitis. The more we are able to see that representation on social media, on TV or just out in society, the better it is for everyone living with these diseases.
How does it feel to see this community represented in the media, in a clothing line, by influencers, etc.?
Kenzie: Seeing the Crohn’s and colitis community being involved in the media lately has made me so excited for people like us – we are gaining more momentum and awareness for these awful diseases. We are starting to make strides in “being heard.” It wasn’t too long ago when seeing this kind of representation of the Crohn’s and colitis community would’ve been a pipe dream.
Even to see the collaboration with Lazypants (which I'm so obsessed with), it's a conservation starter and makes people ask questions. Living with an invisible disease makes life difficult, especially when you’re hearing comments like “You don’t look sick” or “Huh, you look fine”.
For me, that collaboration (and my sweats lol) holds a special place in my heart. It has played a huge role in helping me understand, accept, and learn how to live with my own Crohn’s disease.
The social media boom for the community has been incredible to watch and I hope it continues in that direction – it is so important for all of us now and ultimately those that will be diagnosed in the future.
What is one thing you would tell someone who doesn’t know anything about inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and why?
Kenzie: One thing I would tell someone who doesn’t know anything about IBD, is to be grateful for your intestines and all the foods your body can digest and handle. Those living with these illnesses aren’t as fortunate and you definitely shouldn’t take that for granted!
Thank you for following along this month! Make sure to complete Quiz #3: The Crohn’s and Colitis Community!
Happy Awareness Month Everyone!