Hello, my name is Ani Rosen and I am a typical teenage girl living the SoCal life. I am currently a freshman at UCLA, a dance major and member of the UCLA dance team. Though I experience life like any other 19 year old, my experience with Crohn’s Disease has shaped me into the person I am today. Only diagnosed four years ago, I was suddenly thrown into a world that I did not understand. I didn't know medicine infusions, blood draws, lab tests, pill camera studies, and colonoscopies would suddenly become part of my lifestyle.
I’ve been dancing since the age of three. Not only is it my passion, but my sister and I have been committed to driving 2-3 hours round trip to Anaheim 5 days a week, to dance 5 hours a day since 2009. Now I am beginning a new chapter of my dance life at UCLA studying dance and representing the Bruins at the Rose Bowl and at Pauley Pavillion. After three years apart, my sister and I are reunited as dancers for one last year on the UCLA Dance Team, where she is one of the captains, and I am the only freshman rookie. I never imagined the idea of something so dear to me being taken away due to something I could not control.
At the beginning of my freshman year, while most kids might have been nervous about their transition into high school and the wondrous opportunities lying ahead of them, my symptoms became unbearable. My life paused and I spent a long 3 months in bed, not able to get up or move forward with the things that were most important to me. I truly thought I would not be able to go back to school and dance because I was weak, and not confident enough to pick my life back up.
3 MONTHS in bed
As I was spending this time trying to recover, I wasn't comfortable telling my friends about my disease because I felt embarrassed. My best friends would tell people at school, "I had the flu" or "I was having some health issues," but at a certain point, people were wondering what was going on with me. Once I began telling my friends what was wrong, I couldn't believe the support I received. I suggest that everyone with Crohn's should include his or her community because it is not something to be ashamed of, and having a basis of support really helps the recovery. Thanks to my incredible family, friends, doctors, teachers, and more, I was able to get the support and love that lifted me up in the time of need.
A YEAR LATER
Almost a year later, I had the confidence to go back to dance and complete the year with multiple wins at nationals with my team. I was also able to end my freshman year with a 4.08 GPA even though I missed a great amount of school. I’m sharing this not to flaunt what I’ve accomplished, but to show that anyone can lift his or her life back up even in the hardest times. Through this experience, I realized that having this disease will not stop me from anything I want to pursue in life and should not stop anyone. To everyone with Crohn's, don’t let go of what is most important to you. I can ensure that the fight is worth it because it makes us the strongest versions of ourselves.