Hi, my name is Caroline Schaffer and I am 11 years old. My parents are from Brazil, but I was born in Marietta, Georgia. I have three siblings, Penelope, who is 5 months old, Shawn who is almost 2 years old, and Caitlynn, my 11 year old step sister.
I am your typical 5th grader, just with a little twist, I live with Ulcerative Colitis. It all started last year…
I have always been very healthy, I had never had to be put on antibiotics before, not for strep throat, not for an ear infection, I had never been sick, aside from the normal stomach bug here, and little cold there. Until, last February came along, and brought me a serious case of diarrhea. I was having to use the bathroom A LOT, but that’s not all, I was having blood in my stool. I didn’t know what it was, or why it was happening, so I didn’t think much of it, or told my mom…until two weeks later. She got super worried and took me to the Wellstar Cobb, the hospital up the street from where we live at. I can still remember every little detail of that embarrassing visit, but instead, I will just save all of us some time, and just cut to the chase, not going to a Children’s specialized hospital was a huge mistake! The doctor at Cobb told me I had a fissure and hemorrhoids, and sent me home with nothing more, nothing less than VASELINE! Yeah, as you can predict, it didn’t help me at all! 10 days later, we were right back there, only I weighed 12 less pounds, and had double the amount of bleeding, but still, they didn’t seem very worried, and sent me home, like they had the time before. That’s when my mom decided I needed to be taken to the Children Healthcare of Atlanta by Scottish Rite.
By then, I had been having diarrhea for over a month, and needless to say, was dehydrated, not to mention, still bleeding. The first doctor I saw there, was Ms. Jodi, who told me how serious all of those symptoms were, and broke the news to me, I had to be HOSPITALIZED. I was crushed, it was awful, I was living a nightmare. They didn’t know what was wrong with me, so they put me on isolation, which meant, the nurses had to dress up in extra protection, wear gloves, masks, even if they were just coming in to say hi. Not just that, but I wasn’t allowed visitors, I couldn’t step out of my room, so I lived in the dark for a week. I would cry, feel like a freak, leave the blinds closed, leave the lights off , lay down and just watch TV, unless I had to use the bathroom. It was the worst thing ever, I feel like the only time I would ever laugh was when my mom was there, because she’s the best mom ever and I don’t think I would be this brave without her. My little brother was 9 months old, my mom was 5 months pregnant, but she never went a day without coming to see me, or sleep with me, no matter how uncomfortable that little couch got. My mom is my hero, I love her so much!!!
Finally, the doctors figured out what was wrong with me, I had C-Diff, which is a bacterial infection. I was going home on some antibiotics, and finally getting my comfy bed back. My joy didn’t last too long, as I was hospitalized in urgency again 5 days later, at my follow up appointment, I was still bleeding. They knew what the next step was, and as they broke some more bad news to me, I couldn’t help but cry some more, and feel like my world as falling apart. Not only did I have to get prepped to do a colonoscopy and endoscopy, which includes being on a liquid diet for the whole day, plus drink a whole bottle of Miralax with every sip of every drink you get, but also make endless trips to the bathroom until my intestines were totally cleansed and ready for the procedure. I HATED EVERY SECOND OF IT, but they figured out what was wrong, I had Ulcerative Colitis. It has been a hard journey, but my mom told me once that GOD NEVER GIVES YOU MORE THAN YOU CAN HANDLE. I am a warrior, I am handling it.