Nicky’s Story

I was always the youngest person in the doctor’s office. Back then, younger people didn’t used to get Crohn’s, but I was one of them who did. I felt like I was the only person walking around with it, and I never felt like I belonged. I was diagnosed at 16 and began taking steroids in 11th grade. By college, I was malnourished and had lost over 100 pounds. My abdominal pain was so severe that I put myself in isolation. I didn’t interact with the outside world like I wanted to for fear of having an accident. It felt like I was being punished. How do you fulfill something without having to run off to the bathroom? I couldn’t enjoy life because I stole my own happiness. At age 25, I miscarried my first son. The doctors bluntly told me that I’d never have children again because of the severity of my disease. I’ve always wanted children, and now this disease was taking the one thing I wanted from life away from me.

“I allowed my disease to control me. I gave into everything that was taken from me, and I didn’t know how to gain back control.”

When I was diagnosed, I didn’t know how to speak up for myself. Hearing people say, “You don’t look sick,” when they have no idea what I have to go through each day. I knew I had to look to my faith for support, so I cried out to God. This allowed me to regain my voice and learn why this plan is in place for me. Since 2018, I’ve had my colostomy. I’ve had so many surgeries, and at one point, my kidneys stopped working. I was told it was a miracle I was still here, and I was still here because of God. This disease is so unpredictable. Often, we don’t understand what part we play after we’re diagnosed. Though I didn’t have a lot of control physically, I began to navigate mentally and put myself in a better place. I became my own advocate, birthed a healthy baby boy, and at this moment, I can say I’m blessed. People say, “Don’t look back,” but I don’t believe in that. It’s reflection, it’s growth, and it allows me to see how life has transitioned from one stage to another.

“I will never go silent again because my voice is my purpose. If I can impact one person, I’ve done my duty.”

Nicky’s Advice:
Give yourself grace. You don’t always have to understand what’s going on, but grab onto the strength you have, lean onto your resources and people, and you will keep going. Things won’t always be picture perfect, but do your best to wake up, show up, and conquer each day.

Nicky’s Instagram: @nickyrene3