Alright, I figure if I am going to do this I need to do some filling in about my life and how it is shaped by Crohn's. Here are the things that you absolutely must know about me:
I am a dancer/choreographer. I am currently pursuing a BA in Dance with a double concentration in Dancemaking and Dance Studies from Columbia College Chicago. I graduate this coming May. (WOOO!!) Obviously, dancing with a chronic disease is a complicated and confusing thing.
I was diagnosed with Crohn's my freshman year of college, but had been having seemingly random symptoms for years. At the time I was attending Cottey College, a small, two-year women's college in Missouri, where I grew up. It was a rough time and, after being diagnosed and getting set with a course of treatment, I never really talked about my disease. I, like many others who face illness, was determined not to let it define me, and so I did not discuss it, or really even think about it.
Eventually, this denial wreaked havoc with my body and I lapsed into a major flare last summer. My body entirely broke down and I had become so weak that I was unable to walk from one end of my apartment to the other without having to either throw up or sit down. After a while, with a lot of help from my amazing family, I found a great doctor who has helped me to start back on the path to health. It has not been easy, and, of course, it is not over, but I am worlds better than I was a few months ago thanks to my doctor, my family and friends, and my realization that not thinking about my disease was no way to handle it.
These months have led to incredible amounts of self-discovery and a sort of re-defining of myself. I filed as a disabled student at the beginning of last semester, a decision that, while I hated it at the time, saved my ass several times last semester while I was figuring out medications and my body was changing. In dance, consistency is everything, and that was just not a feasible goal for me anymore. I will get there eventually, but for now I am re-defining myself as a disabled student/dancer/person. And that is okay.
I have actually begun writing and choreographing work that deals with the social construct of disability and have found that it is something I am sincerely interested in pursuing. Hence: this blog.
This is only a very small little tidbit of my life, but it is a start. We'll see where it leads!