Friday, March 16, 2012

Crafting with Crohn's Disease

When I began this blog adventure, I told you a little bit about my life. I believe that part of my responsibility as the author of my blog is not only to inform and inspire you on everything I know about scrapbooking and stamping, but to also share the things that go on in my life outside of my studio. I feel like the more you come to know me, the more you’ll enjoy what I write about. So, with that being said I thought I would share with all of you what my life is like living with a chronic illness called Crohn’s Disease. I hope that by hearing my story maybe it will help another person out there not to give up when faced with the reality of living with a chronic illness, and how crafting has saved my life.

 I began crafting as a child with my mom. We tried all kinds of different crafts. We would sew, paint, do wood work, glue things together. You name it and we did it. It was such a wonderful time in my life. As a late teen, I began experimenting with rubber stamps and then scrapbooking. That was it. I was hooked! With all of the different crafts that we dabbled in, these became first of all my favorite, and then they became my passion. I would eat, sleep, and breathe rubber stamping. As I grew older, my husband began taking me to the different stamp stores. We could be five miles away and I would lean my head out the window and say to him “It’s coming up soon, Honey. I can smell the rubber!” Needless to say, my husband thought I was nuts!

When I became a young adult, after the birth of my daughter, I began getting very sick. I would catch cols and flues all the time and then I started with vomiting and diarrhea. I would go to the doctors only to be told that I had the stomach flu, or maybe I had anorexia (which is a joke because I hate to throw up!) Or maybe, and this one was my favorite, maybe I was suffering from post partum depression. My daughter was three years old for goodness sake! Needless to say, the sicker I became the more depresses I was. On top of all of that I rarely picked up a rubber stamp. I was in a very bad way.

In 1984, after three years of illness and a 60 pound weight loss, I was finally diagnosed with an intestinal illness called Crohn’s Disease. I know this is weird to say, but I was actually happy. It took me years later to figure out that I wasn’t happy to have a disease, I was just happy that we finally knew what was going on with me. But all of it took a toll on me. My doctors told my husband that if they were to operate on me now, I would die on the table. Not because my illness was that out of control, but because I had lost the will to live. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. After some long conversations with my family and a visit from my little girl, I decided that I needed this surgery and most importantly, I needed to live. As I started to heal from my surgery and my heart began to heal from the depression, I still wasn’t back to my old self. My mom suggested I should start rubber stamping again. As I would finish one project and then begin another, I started to feel a weight being lifted off of me and I was beginning to just feel happy once again.

Through the years since my diagnoses and that very first surgery, I have had many ups and downs in my life. This disease sucks the life out of you and your family. Since 1984, I have had 51 hospitalizations and as of last year, I have had 20 surgeries. I have had my spirit broken and repaired more times than I can count. Each time I would return to my life’s passion of rubber stamping and scrapbooking. There are three things that have saved my life more than once over these last 28 years. They are, my faith in God, the love and support of my family and friends, and of course my passion for rubber stamping and scrapbooking. Without any of those things, I would not be here today and I certainly would not be able to carry on. And I continue to thank my mom for nurturing my love of crafting all those years ago.

So, I'll leave you with this thought. If you’re living with a chronic illness or dealing with some bad things in life, stop and smell the rubber (or roses if you're not a stamper!). It changed my life and it can change yours too.

 Thanks for joining me. Until next time…

Crafty hugs,

Stampin’ Queen Creations

Give The Queen A Call!!!


Terry said...

You are an inspiration!

Jennifer Priest said...

Very inspiring story!!! Thank you so much for sharing Lisa :)

Wendy Crafts said...

What a wonderful attitude!

Carol said...

You are such an inspiration. I am blessed that you are a friend.

Cindy deRosier said...

What a wonderful story. I'm glad that you have control over your condition and not the other way around. We all have our struggles, be they health or something else and you are right that smelling roses/rubber is the best way to handle it. Best wishes.

Regina said...

Lisa!!! I found your blog today and when I read you have Crohn´s desease I had to write you.
I live in Belo Horizonte, Brazil and my older son also has Crohn´s desease. We received his diagnoses when he was 15 years old (today he´s 39) He had one surgery when he had 22 and the doc removed 24 inches of his intestine. His Crohn is near the appendix. Thanks to God he had just one hospitalization. But... he is on theraphy and he also takes very care of her food. The doc told him that he can´t eat nothing that has seeds, peels and no cabbage, lettuce, such things that has fibers. He also didn´t eat red meat and milk because his first doc told him about this. I think that all his care helps him a lot.
Hope this helps you too.
God bless and protect you and all your family!! I know how much is hard to all you.
Have a marvellous week!!

Regina said...

I forgot to tell you that he tooks a lot of medicines every single day!!

Stamping From The Heart said...

Hi Regina,
I'm so sorry that I didn't respond to you sooner but I just read your comment. I'm sorry your son has Crohn's Disease. It's a very nasty disease and I always hate to hear when someone else is living with it, especially children. I'm glad to hear that he has only had one surgery and I pray that for you and your family that it stays that way!
Thank you so much for getting in touch with me! And please tell your son to hang in there, never give up and always keep his faith!!!

Crafty hugs,