Happy weekend! I hope you had a healthy and productive week.
Let’s jump right back into this World IBD Day mini-series!
As you know, the theme for World IBD Day this year is, “Making the Invisible Visible.”
In line with this theme, I’m sharing FIVE invisible aspects of my life with ulcerative colitis. Definitely check out the previous blog posts in this series:
Thing Number TWO: I Dropped Out of College
If you know me, you might be thinking, wait a second! Didn’t you graduate with a bachelor’s in business?
And to that, I’d say, yes. In 2016 I graduated with a degree in business management, but my several years in recruiting and HR left me unfulfilled. So, in June of 2018, I quit my HR job to go back to school to pursue a second degree. I had plans to pursue nutrition to become a registered dietitian.
That was my DREAM JOB.
But, just a few weeks after I began, I fell into a flare.
The pain was excruciating in the mornings and slowlyyy became bearable later in the day. But it was so bad in the mornings that I couldn’t leave my apartment until the afternoon. I was chained to the toilet.
I was SO lucky that my classes didn’t start until the afternoon, so I was able to barely make it on time.
The Brain Fog
But on top of the pain was the brain fog. I LITERALLY couldn’t remember anything we learned in class. I’d stare at my homework, lost, confused, and feeling as though I never learned it.
And then it happened. I got my first F on an exam. This had NEVER happened before. I graduated summa cum laude in business school, so I knew my terrible scores were my disease—not me.
I didn’t want to give up. This was my dream job. Somehow, I powered through several more weeks. I stayed up late studying and got up early, trying to teach myself what I didn’t understand in the classroom. I did all of this WITHOUT coffee because the caffeine made me run to the bathroom even more.
But no matter how hard I tried, I kept getting Ds and Fs on quizzes and exams.
The Moment of Realization
Once, during chemistry lab, I had to tear off my coat and goggles and run to the bathroom. I barely made it on time.
And I knew…I wasn’t going to pass my classes. The stress, the pain, and the brain fog were not good for me. I knew I had to drop out of the courses.
I cried in my professor’s office when I explained to him why I had to quit. Having digestive issues of his own, he was so understanding and encouraging. He reassured me that I was doing the right thing.
But letting go of your dream job rarely feels like the right thing. I felt like my ulcerative colitis was a puppet master. I was devastated.
One Door Closed, Another Door Opened
But then, something AMAZING happened. I somehow stumbled upon the word “copywriting.”
Essentially, copywriting is conversational sales writing—blog posts, email newsletters, website pages…that type of thing.
And I realized that I could become a copywriter in the health industry! And I didn’t need a degree in dietetics to do that! Since I was recovering from my flare and currently didn’t have a job, I decided to start my own business.
I named it Jenna Writing Services, and now I write and edit for health, medical, fitness, and chronic illness brands.
Closing the door to dietetics opened the door for medical copywriting. I can still help people with health and nutrition, just from a non-clinical side!
And I’m realizing now, that this is my dream job. I’ve always been a writer, and that’s truly what makes me happy.
Finding this career path was quite untraditional. But without that timely flare to make me drop out, I’d have never fallen into health copywriting.
An Invisible Disease
The point of all this is that IBD is much more than an intestinal disease. There’s SO much more going on than sassy bowels. IBD is an invisible illness with sneaky, stealthy symptoms that no one would notice unless I decide to share them.
But I choose to share my story because AWARENESS → FUNDING → RESEARCH → CURES 💜💜💜