Nothing is as it Seems

The Invisible Battle Against Ulcerative Colitis

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Grace Gaumer is a senior with the inspirational ability to find beauty within the ugly. Throughout her four years here, she has continued to push through even during the hardest times. Her strong willpower and determination are just two characteristics that make her a role model.

“I was originally diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at the age of 14, but my doctors recently discovered that the inflammation in my gastrointestinal tract was in my large intestine so they thought I may have crohn’s disease; they still aren’t really sure which one I actually have,” said Gaumer.

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers in your digestive tract resulting in severe abdominal pain.

“The most challenging part of my illness is trying to live a normal life. I’m constantly having to watch what I eat or change up my medication. Daily, I have to stay on top of all my pills, and every eight weeks I go in for an injection, which I’ve finally started to do by myself without the nurse’s help. There’s a different mountain to climb every day depending on how I’m feeling or what my symptoms are like that day,” said Gaumer.

Despite having to manage schoolwork and activities outside of school, Grace has her hands full looking after her health and making sure she is on top of everything. To her peers, it may be hard to tell that she is struggling with health complications. But Gaumer describes this as “the beauty of an autoimmune disease; all of the ugly stuff is on the inside.”

“I can definitely say that there have been many times where I wanted to give up. My junior year my health hit rock bottom, and it didn’t look like it was going to get any better any time soon. I was in such a bad place where I didn’t want to even bother trying to get better, and I didn’t want to hear anything my doctors had to say to me,” said Gaumer.

Even though Gaumer reached a point of no hope, she chose to not let her health problems take over her life. She continued to fight, even when she didn’t want to or didn’t think she could.

“As of recently, I have really had my health at a baseline. I’m not 100 percent in remission but I’m not being admitted to the hospital like I have been in the past; my symptoms aren’t a violent rollercoaster anymore,” said Gaumer.

“Dealing with my day to day issues was something that took a lot of time. I’ve learned that I need to let things go when it comes to my physical health, and that has been a huge help to my mental health. I’m capable of handling so much more than I ever thought I could,” said Gaumer.

Grace is an inspiration to those who are also dealing with similar issues; she continues to tackle each day as it comes and refuses to give up no matter how hard it may get.