Hello! My name is Natalie Hayden and 11 years ago today I was hospitalized in my hometown hospital and told I had Crohn’s disease. Since that day—so much has changed, so much has been endured and so much has been gained.
For the past year or so I’ve contemplated starting a blog as a way to share my story about battling Crohn’s disease—a forum to discuss topics and give advice, a place to help those suffering in silence and a way to build a network of patients and caregivers who can join together and take on all of the ups and downs the illness brings, together.
Battling a chronic, auto-immune disease can often feel isolating. You feel like it’s a battle only you can fight. You never know what the next day (or hour!) brings and constantly find yourself wondering when the next flare will strike. Unfortunately, that worry and wonder only makes the disease process worse.
The date of July 23 has played an interesting role since that dreadful day in 2005:
• July 23, 2008—My furbaby, and rescue dog Hamilton James was born
• July 23, 2013—I met my husband, Bobby, on eHarmony
When I think of this day—it’s a mix of emotions. What would life be like without a lifelong illness? My mind wonders to life BC (Before Crohn’s)…but, there’s no sense in fantasizing about an uber-healthy and pain free life, because that’s not reality. All I can do is reflect on all that’s transpired and be stronger and better because of it.
I’m excited to share my journey with you and to also gain strength from hearing your stories. You may be wondering what the name of my blog means: “Lights, Camera, Crohns—An Unobstructed View.” In October 2005, while on 20 pills a day following my first flare up, I started my first television job in Austin, Minnesota. Since that time I worked as a producer, reporter and morning news anchor until my last show in Springfield, Illinois October 31, 2014. I’ve taken my love for writing and journalism and currently work as a Communications Specialist.
I want this blog to shed light on what it was like living in the spotlight while battling a disease that no one knew I was fighting to what life is like now. The past 11 years I’ve had several bowel obstructions—an “unobstructed view” means a clear, transparent, and “healthy” look without holding anything back.
I hope this blog makes you feel inspired and empowered to take your disease on with a positive attitude and strong will each day. Writing is cathartic and hearing from people who “get it” is the best medicine of all. I look forward to embarking on this journey with you and I’m excited to see where it takes us.