In today’s episode, Crohn’s Warrior Jessica Porter shares her journey with IBD and is proving that you can do anything with a chronic illness. Jessica’s Crohn’s journey began six years ago when her first symptoms of pain and bloating were becoming a daily occurrence. In late 2014 the pain was worsening and in 2015 she went to the hospital, barely able to walk.
The doctors found an abscess that had grown to the size of a large fist that was attached to both her appendix and large bowel and was close to bursting. The surgeons removed both the cyst and appendix along with one foot of bowel, but after the surgery her doctor remained adamant that she didn’t need further medication, despite her Crohn’s symptoms continuing. Finally after making the decision to move back to her hometown and find a new doctor, she was put on Humira immediately and found relief.
It was the following year that she knew she needed to start taking better care of her health and body and in July 2016, she stepped into her first gym. Personal trainers helped her to learn proper form and exercises and she fell in love with weight training. Then in 2018, she watched her current coach go through a fitness competition and she was inspired to take on the challenge herself. Jessica began training under the guidance of her coach and just completed her first bikini competition this past March.
She talks about how her journey into health and training for the competition went hand in hand with her Crohn’s management and how she (and her coach) learned to balance both. Jessica shares her tips for how she managed the fatigue she battled daily and learned that yes, she could (temporarily), give up chocolate! She gives tips for managing flares, how she would de-stress during the day, and talks about how she had to face the major decision to leave her career to work in an entirely new industry that would be less stressful and allow her to put her health first.
It was just a few years ago that she realized how few people actually knew what Crohn’s Disease was when she would tell them about her IBD. It was then that she started advocating in hopes to both educate others who weren’t aware of either Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis and to inspire others with IBD to keep trying new things and continue fighting to find ways to thrive.