I wrote a letter to Olan Rogers for his scholarship. I didn’t win, but I’m sure the right person did:

“Dear Olan,

I am 23.

I am also a Crohn’s sufferer and I’ve had surgery twice in the past 14 months. I’m writing this because a foot of intestines ago, I was pretty much only able to watch Olan Rogers videos. Ghosts in the Stalls had never been more appropriate.

I have no clue how this disease will affect my life. As much as I’d like to say that this scholarship should be based on merit, I know that isn’t true in my case. I’ve had to drop out of school and after re-enrolling I need extensions on all my work because I’m always in the hospital or so disoriented I can’t think straight.

Through all the suffering, though, I had an amazing experience that has made me who I am today. I met a beautiful young secondary education major in between my first surgery in October 2012 and my second surgery in July 2013. She’s the most important person in my life. I remember trying to hold back the tears the first time we talked about Crohn’s. We didn’t just talk about the general “1 in 200 people have it” talk, or the “it’s IBD not IBS, there’s a difference” talk. I’m talking about the steroid-induced mood swing sob fest, I don’t want my children to have this, talk. The “will I live or die?” talk. Crohn’s isn’t a life threatening disease most of the time, but it’s still a chronic disease that’s debilitating, and when I met Brittany, she knew exactly what she was getting into.

She’s become my caregiver. She runs a cold sponge over my lips in the hospital. She  drives an hour to and from the hospital around her class schedule and still pays full price for overnight parking just to clean up after me in the hospital. She’s a saint for simply living and breathing in the noxious fumes my upset stomach sometimes always produces. She is the best thing that has ever happened to me. And it’s funny, she says that I am her “rock.” Well if I’m her rock, she’s my Stone Mountain.

Well, now that I’ve sufficiently bummed you out, I will end my application with a little encouraging Ben Franklin maxim I tell myself from time to time, “Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.” Right now, I’m not really able to do much of anything, but I can certainly write. And write I shall.”

Olan is a big goof and I’ll never forget watching him tell stories and be the amazing person he is while I couldn’t do much more then that. Thanks Olan.

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