Brenna's Story: I know I can do anything when I put my mind to it

My name is Brenna. I am almost ten years old. When I was seven, I woke up one day with stomachaches and bloody poop. After my doctor sent me to a pediatric gastroenterologist, he suggested a colonoscopy. That was the first time I had anesthesia, and it smelled really bad. That is how I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. I was put on steroids but first I had to learn how to swallow a pill, which was really hard for me. I puffed up like a balloon and my chubby face annoyed my sister more than me (which is weird). My doctors tried lots of different medicines (including some that went up my butt!) but none of them worked. Then we tried Remicade, which I didn’t like getting because the IV needle hurt my arm, but then we got a special cream to numb my skin. The Remicade worked for a little while but then didn’t. Then my mom had to give me shots in my butt, but that didn’t work either. About four months after I first got sick, we started planning a surgery to remove my large intestine. I was really upset about that because my family had to cancel their vacation to London. I thought it was really nice of them to cancel their whole vacation because of me. (We got to go a year later.) My first surgery was to take out my colon. My surgeon was really funny and played Lady Gaga in the operating room because he heard I liked her. I had mixed emotions about having surgery, because I was happy I wouldn’t have colitis anymore, but it was my first time having surgery and I felt scared and nervous. A while after my first surgery, my stoma started prolapsing, which is when it comes sliding out of the space on your stomach. That really freaked me out and my mom had to make me a special stoma belt out of elastic to keep it in place. I ended up having three surgeries all together, and now I have a J-pouch. Between my first and third surgeries, I had an ostomy bag which I emptied by myself (but my mom helped me change the wafer twice a week). I named my stoma Rosie and I decorated a special ostomy bag to wear at my 8th birthday party. Today I’m happy I got the surgery because I don’t have ulcerative colitis anymore, but unfortunately my J-pouch gets infected and I have to take antibiotics. But now I am really good at taking pills so it doesn’t even matter that they are huge. Now I feel like the bravest girl in the world because I had three surgeries, and I know I can do anything when I put my mind to it.