Meet Aria. This strong 12 year old has battled chronic illness since age 5. For some, the unfair reality of being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease can create a bitterness and resentment. That reaction is 100% valid, but it can also add misery to an already miserable situation.
Aria is an example of someone who has chosen, despite the unfairness, to move through her life with kindness, humor and love.
Aria and I have something in common, we both are diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, and we both have had our Large Intestine removed.
Aria just celebrated her 5 year “no-colon” anniversary, and I recently celebrated 10 years since I had my colectomy!
I had the honor of meeting Aria, and experienced such a valuable lesson. It didn’t matter that we are 16 years apart in age, or that our lives are vastly different. We connected in empathy and understanding. When you have experienced the isolating feeling of being “different”, it is incredibly comforting to find someone who just “gets it”.
Aria sharing her experience with me was so impactful. It was a reminder that we have a unique opportunity to connect with others through shared pain, and remind each other that we aren’t doing it alone!