Crohn’s Fitness Food and my Rocky Road to Health
Written & Narrated by Stephanie Gish
Available now on Audible, Kindle and more!
I’m excited to announce that my book, Crohn’s Fitness Food and My Rocky Road to Health, is now available online (audiobook, eBook, and paperback). 👇
I experienced my first symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) twenty years ago in 2003. From those early days of bleeding intestines and gut pain to reaching remission and working daily to stay there, this book chronicles my experiences navigating medications, diet, and lifestyle with IBD. It is a personal documentation of my quest for better health—physical, mental, and emotional—and many adventures along the way, including colonoscopies, biopsies, and even a cystoscopy!
Throughout my journey with IBD, I have sought out the stories of those struggling with the same issues. It is comforting to know we are not alone and why I wanted to share my story and experiences. Thank you for coming with me on this journey.
From the book:
“It was December when I finally did make the drive to see a doctor in hopes of getting help. But when I got there, I received that all-too-familiar look of skepticism and feeling of being dismissed. As soon as I checked in, I was questioned by the staff as to why I came to the emergency room, why I felt like that was the appropriate place to come after already having symptoms for roughly three months.
I was told I shouldn’t have come, that I should have made an appointment with my primary care provider, but they would see me anyway. I didn’t know how to respond. At twenty-five years old, I was living in a different state from my parents, my husband was out of town, and I had been out of the Army for less than three months. I didn’t know who my primary care provider was or if I had even been assigned one yet. The emergency room was the only place I thought to go and the staff made me feel ashamed for even walking in there.”
20 years with IBD
I wanted to share my journey with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) as completely and honestly as I could, and once the words started flowing, they just kept coming! From my first symptoms with bleeding intestines in 2003 and first major flare-up in 2006, through all the colonoscopies and doctor visits along the way, I’ve chronicled the past 20 years with IBD and my diagnosis of IgA nephropathy.
I scoured thousands of pages of medical records to retrace my path and revisited the roller coaster of emotions I felt throughout this journey, from being dismissed and ignored by the medical community to finding the few health professionals that I felt truly cared and listened. I’ve searched, experimented, and fought for my health through diet, medications, and lifestyle practices and I’ve shared them all here. Thank you for coming with me on this journey!
Be strong. Be grateful. Keep going.
I am passionate about health and fitness, but the road to finding my best health (and best self) continues to be a rocky one! After earning the title of Miss EIU Fitness during college in 2001 and 2002, I experienced my first symptoms of Crohn’s disease in 2003; I received my official diagnosis in 2009. I faced the challenge of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) head on and began my lifetime search of better physical, mental, and emotional health. But just when I thought I had a handle on my health, I underwent a kidney biopsy in 2021 that confirmed IgA nephropathy.
Despite Crohn’s disease and IgA nephropathy, I’ve been determined to not let chronic illness slow me down. Eager to see the world, I spent my first year of college on the Big Island of Hawaii, then finished my degree in broadcast journalism at Eastern Illinois University, where I joined the ROTC program and earned a commission as an Army officer upon graduating. My first military assignment took me to San Antonio, Texas, where I stayed for over a decade until moving to Florida in August 2022, where I’m now surrounded by palm trees, sand, and water — that all feed my soul.