“My name is Camila Almonte, I’m 15 yrs old, and I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in August 2020 when I was 14. This has been a long journey full of a lot of uncertainty, anguish, suffering, worry, despair and a lot of pain.
I began to present symptoms when I was still a girl who was beginning to enter the stage of adolescence; at a very difficult time where you begin to develop, to be more independent, and where teenagers just want to have fun and go out with their friends, but for me it was the opposite. It was at this stage that I was terribly ill. I had stomach pains almost every day, I couldn’t eat well because the pain didn’t allow it, sometimes I had to vomit, I saw myself below 50 lbs, and the worst thing is that I lived most of the time in the clinic.
At my young age I had to undergo surgery, and have been in ICU three times.
Although this disease isn’t easy for anyone, at least it can be controlled. I know it’s difficult to live with this one. I know how much the vast majority of us have had to go through. I know how difficult it’s to endure pain that’s unbearable and that does not allow you to get out of bed. A pain that some days doesn’t allow you to go to work or study, and that sometimes people, friends and family think that we’re exaggerating or making ourselves sick. I know that there are many criticisms that we have all had to go through for people who judge us without first knowing about our condition and the situations we have experienced before, and it really hurts and bothers a lot.
After I was diagnosed, my life changed 100%. Today I can say that I’m very different from the Camila I was before. I’m a stronger Camila, who no longer has pain and who sees the world in a different way. This process has taught me many things such as: loving myself, my body, valuing life more, being strong, giving all the best of myself and never giving up.”