School, Finals, Stress and Crohn’s Disease

So, I just finished my fall semester of my Senior year in college and it feels awesome to be done for a few weeks before starting back my last semester as undergraduate and graduating in May! But, at the end of every semester I like to blog about the semester, how it went and issues or triumphs I had especially relating to my Crohn’s Disease.

For those of you who do not know or have not read my blog I am finishing up my Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and then hope to pursue further education to eventually get my PhD in Microbiology with a focus on Immunology. It has taken me 6 years to get a 4 year degree due to my Crohn’s Diagnosis and multiple surgeries and hospital stays. I feel lucky to even be where I am at now and almost graduating with my first degree because I know a lot of people with IBD have had to stop school and go back years later or not able to go back at all so I feel blessed to be here!

This semester was a rough one, if you keep up with me on any of my social networks and activist channels you will know that the week before Thanksgiving I was admitted to the hospital here for a week due to issues pertaining to my disease. Every semester since my diagnosis in 2009 I have been hospitalized at least one time sometimes twice each semester and luckily I have never had to take any incompletes in courses. The stress of school and life in general often times is the reason I get put in the hospital because it tends to cause my disease to flare up and trying to manage that stress throughout the semester is not an easy task. There have been times I had to withdraw from a course and retake it the next semester due to not being able to keep up and getting behind but that has not happened as much as it could have. Being hospitalized mid semester always has some type of effect on my schooling whether its getting a bad test grade or eventually having a lower grade in a course than I would like, but it still does not alter my path and where I want to go in my career. While in the hospital I was told it was very likely that I have another disease one that is fairly rare and involves my liver and possibly my brain and in January I will have a liver biopsy done to confirm. All of this happened a couple of weeks before final exams started and also missed some exams so it made it a little harder to catch up but I did and I finished the semester. 

Just to finish the semester without having to drop any courses and only being hospitalized once is a feat in and of itself. During my time off I am going to focus on my Health Activist work, my page and other accounts to try and give as much of my time to the community and giving back and helping people. I will also be focusing on my health and preparing for the upcoming procedures I will be having in the New Year and working on my stress levels! It is not easy living with a chronic illness especially one that feels like living with the stomach flu almost every day of your life, living in and out of hospitals and doctors offices, but living sick makes it that much easier to stop and see all of the good that is happening around and trying to stop and enjoy the small things in life. School is important to me and eventually I will get where I want to be and there will be plenty of more bumps in the road of course, but I also will continue to work in the IBD community, continue raising awareness and advocating for others who cannot advocate for themselves. I am looking forward to the next few weeks off and resting and enjoying christmas with family and friends and ringing in the New Year. I also hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Aaron Blocker
www.facebook.com/ItTakesGuts