Healthier Stay

Crohnically Dreaming

Posted in Archive Blogs by Healthier Stay on February 27, 2012
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Since age 12, I have wanted to be a Marine Biologist. I wanted to work with marine mammals while living on a boat and eating Crepes Suzette with Philippe Cousteau. In high school my science club spent two spring breaks in Key LargoFL, with the Marine Resource Development Foundation (MRDF). We studied mariculture, ecology, biology and astronomy. The first year we snorkeled the mangrove forests, turtle grass shoals, gorgeous coral reefs and way out in the deep blue sea. Year two, we were SCUBA certified and able to experience those areas in a more in-depth manner. I was in heaven. This was what I wanted to do forever. The one thing I missed was a manatee. I wanted to work with the manatees.

Since Ohio is a land-locked state, I studied Biology with the hopes of going to grad school in Guam. Then I got sick. I realized that with Crohn’s I would not be able to live out on a boat, away from quality medical access and ready access to bathrooms. I switched my major to secondary education and decided I would share my love of Biology with
high school students. Then I fell in love with the Hebrew language and Archaeology and switched my major again. Eventually I was too sick for school and I had to drop out with 4 quarters left. Life sucked. I thought I would just have to deal with the fact that my dreams and my life were no longer compatible.

10 years later… I went to visit my friend Kara in Florida. I decided that I wanted to go somewhere for my 29th birthday. I saved up my money and left for St. Pete the day after my birthday. Kara and I have been friends since 6th grade. She was also in the science club and we were dive buddies for both years. Kara was able to stay on her dream track and now works as an Oceanographer. She had planned a wonderful vacation for us; we went kayaking with alligators, hiking in treetops of a national park and –Dun Dun Dunnnnnnn– snorkeling with manatees in Crystal River! Best birthday trip EVER! The manatees were everything I had expected and so much more. They love to play and be scratched and tickled and one little guy had a crush on me. He kissed me at least five times. I was finally able to swim with the manatees and I was so happy. That was five years ago and I still grin every time I think about it.

This summer my dreams have been reinstated. I volunteer for St. Jude Children’s ResearchHospital’s-Columbus Office, and at their big dinner event each year at The Columbus Zoo. This was my third year at the event and I finally got to meet Jack Hanna! By the way, he is exactly the same in real life as he is on TV. I knew I only had a minute to speak to him, so I complimented him on the manatee exhibit. I told him that I had been to  Crystal River to swim with the manatees and that it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I gushed and gushed for about two minutes straight. Finally, when I came up for air, Jack told me that they need volunteers to help tend to the manatees and aquarium here. All I need to do is take a SCUBA re-certification class. I can’t even tell you how excited I am. I thought I would have to give up on my dreams because of my disabilities, instead, I just have modify accordingly for my abilities

I have several dreams that I gave up, but I’m revisiting them and will do my best to incorporate them into my life. I may not be able to live on a boat, but I can volunteer at the zoo. There is a bathroom next to the exhibit and I don’t need to worry about medical access. I may have Crohn’s for the rest of my life, but now I will have my dreams too. To both of them I say, “Bring it on!”

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