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After nearly 15 years of marriage Valentine’s Day isn’t about a dozen roses or diamonds, it’s about having each other’s backs no matter what and believing in each other.

It’s about encouraging texts throughout the work day.

It’s about helping each other chase a hog around your farm in a snowstorm.

It’s about him being just as excited as you are to get the mail.

It’s about hauling hogs to the locker in a blizzard that you have worked hard to raise as a team.

It’s about stopping to eat supper at a small bar, rather than a fancy restaurant.

It’s about your partner not caring if his wife is wearing Carhartt bibs on Valentines night!

It’s about being partners in love, life, and the long haul. In sickness of Crohn’s disease and health, in the good years and the bad, it’s about teamwork and tackling all challenges as a team! ❤️

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! How did you spend yours?

From the gravel road,

Jen

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Today is my stelara day!

You have probably heard commercials about stelara on the television.

" If you’re an adult with moderately to severely active Crohn’s disease, your family and friends may not fully comprehend how real it is. But you know how agonizingly real and debilitating the symptoms can feel at times, slipping away for a while, only to sneak back unexpectedly. "   🙂

I think I can recite it in my head I have heard it so many times.

It is used for a few different things, but it has been a pretty big game changer in managing crohn's disease for me. I am very open about my disease because I always think if what I can share with someone might help them manage their symptoms then it is all worth it. There is currently no cure for crohns, just medications to manage the symptoms and you need to have an amazing support system in your back pocket.

I have an amazing support system! My family has provided me so much support in the last few years and this guy has slept more nights on a hospital roll away in the last 18 years than he probably cares to discuss.

I am in my second year of giving myself shots every 8 weeks. Prior to Stelara I had been on several different medications, tried no medications, tried Humira, and then eventually had small bowel resection surgery to remove the diseased part of my small intestine. In 2015, the docs removed part of my small intestine and the ileocecal valve because there were no meds that were working anymore and I was having blockages where the scar tissue and disease was located. (P.S. I have amazing doctors, both here and at the Mayo Clinic) I am actually participating in a study for Mayo Clinic right now. (That will be an entire post some other day.)

After I had my surgery I had a really good 14 months with hardly any problems, but then it didn't take long before Crohn's Disease reared it's ugly head again. Since I had tried many other medications my doctor recommended Stelara. After battling with insurance for awhile I was finally approved. The first dose of Stelara is given via IV infusion, if you have no reactions to the med then after that initial dose you give yourself shots every 8 weeks or more often based on the stage of your disease and your symptoms.

When I had my first treatment I attempted to freak out my family via snapchat filter. They pretty much said, "Nope, you look normal." Brothers!

While this disease has caused me much heartache since the age of 21, I have to admit it has taught me so much and helped me to cross paths with people I would have never met had we not been #crohnssistas or #crohnswarriors There are good days, fantastic days, bad days and well, sh**ty days. 😉 My current status is good, though, and we want to keep it that way.

Do you know anyone with an autoimmune disease? Any encouraging words from those of you that might be in the same boat or have a family member dealing with disease?

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