In today’s episode Jackie Robbins shares her 30 year IBD journey. Diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at age 8, she spent most of her childhood feeling alone and angry.
Once diagnosed, she was immediately started on prednisone that helped control her symptoms, but caused her to gain weight and eventually wreak havoc on her body image. Her symptoms never fully went away, however, and she spent her entire childhood going into flares. In 1998, at age 17, she had her colon removed and a temporary ileostomy made. Then in 1999 she had her reversal surgery, but things didn’t get better.
While she struggled with symptoms over the next few years, she slowly started to close herself off from the world. Then, in her early 20s, things took a turn for the worse when she suddenly lost the ability to go to the bathroom. She couldn’t hold her bowels anymore and was left having to use a catheter that she later nicknamed her “poop straw.” Though she laughs about it now, and her vibrant personality radiates in her posts, podcasts, and everywhere she speaks, having lost the ability to go to the bathroom spiraled her into a version of herself that you wouldn’t recognize having met her now.
Over those next 15 years, she became more and more distanced from friends and her outlook was negative. But it was only after she found out that people didn’t want to be around her, that she took a hard look at what had happened and how far away she was from the person she wanted to be. She worked on her mindset, focused on exercise (something that has always been a passion of hers), sought the help of a therapist, read many self-help titles, and pushed herself to become the person she wanted to be.
Her confidence grew and she started engaging in activities again. When she signed up for a Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation Team Challenge event and discovered how openly and easily she could talk about her own story, she immediately applied to become an Ambassador.
A year ago, she sat down and started writing about her experiences. Out of that, came her eBook, The Fearless Academy, 21 Days to More Self Confidence. She’s on a mission now to continue raising awareness about IBD and help others overcome their fears and self-imposed limitations. Jackie’s advice, “You have the power to change your story. Don’t get stuck in one that you don’t like.”
Find and follow Jackie at:
Podcast: Being Fearless with Jackie Robbins
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