On to the next procedure... Here is a pic of me during the pill-camera study. This pic was taken at the peak of my 20 lb weight loss. Also during my pill-cam study, I was connected to (what it seemed like) 1000 wires!
Here's a picture post-colonoscopy... All I wanted was food and SLEEP, but thanks to the amazing Dr. Shervin Rabizadeh and his team at Cedars Sinai Hospital, my procedure could not have gone better!
In a time of lonliness, nothing spoke to me more than my two best friends surprising me with food and fun!
One of my first times out of the house at a beautiful family dinner in Malibu. We were celebrating my sister's birthday at Nobu!
I can't believe I opened my front door to this surprise! Thanks to two of my amazing school friends.
Sometimes, a bear hug from your best friend/sister is all you need during tough times. I want to thank Sydney for all of her support, and for lifting me back up onto my feet. I truly could not have done it without her.
And most importantly, here are two pictures of my family and me at the end of the year dance banquet. Not only has this year been a roller coaster for me, but these three people have stuck by me through it all. I appreciate every ounce of support they have provided me through this process, and these pictures really exemplify the fun we had together on this night!
It was my birthday and I was told we were going to a family dinner when my dance friends surprised me! I hadn't seen them in months and it truly meant the world to finally see them. We had pizza, mini bundt cakes, and I had the best time!
In March of 2017, I experienced my first serious flare. It began with a mystery high fever which put me in the hospital for five days. This was only three weeks prior to the biggest competition of my life - The Dance Worlds in Orlando, Florida. Though well enough to leave the hospital I really shouldn't have been traveling let alone competing at my highest level. But nothing would stop me from going, so I convinced my sister to leave college for a week (since parents weren't accompanying dancers) and she helped me travel during this time when I was so sick. This competition tested me mentally and physically but we ended up winning third in the world and this victory changed me forever. I have never been so proud.
In January of 2018 I spent five days at Cedars-Sinai with Appendicitis. I told the ER doctors that I knew I had it. I could tell they did not take me seriously (ageism) but it turns out I was right. For those of us with chronic illnesses, we know our bodies. They did not want to do surgery due to my Crohn's so I remained in the hospital on heavy IV antibiotics for five days. UGH but the therapy dogs sure helped my spirits.
In April of 2017, Stacy Dylan, of Connecting to Cure Crohn's and Colitis, asked me to be the Keynote speaker for their annual "Rock the Night" fundraiser. I told the story of getting sick and coming back from my 3 months in bed, to create my own website and raising over $11,000 in front of 500 guests. I myself had just gotten out of Cedars-Sinai from my recent flare, and had just returned from the Dance Worlds in Orlando. This was a true honor for me to be chosen for this opportunity.
In July of 2018, my dance team, Dance Precisions, won the Victory Cup with our dance "Dream State", choreographed by Kirsten Russell at Starpower Nationals. This was one of my proudest moments as a dancer because we won this as a team and our studio had not won a senior Victory cup in five years. At this same nationals, I also won first runner up (second place) in the senior solo title competition and the trophy I won was almost as tall as me!
In May of 2019 I went to prom, graduated with a 4.08 GPA, and was accepted to and chose my dream school, UCLA. Despite a bout with an intestinal infection over the summer, my health was okay and I now face doing my Humira shots and taking all of my meds and supplements on my own. Please wish me LUCK!
At UCLA I was reunited as a dancer with my sister, with whom I danced my whole life. Last year she was one of the Captains of the Dance Team and I was the only freshman rookie. I am also a dance major. Dancing at UCLA one last year with my sister was a dream. Now she has graduated and I am a veteran on the dance team and have to navigate this university by myself. Representing the Bruins is both a true honor and a real challenge during this Pandemic.