My name is Angela, and I am 29 years old.

I was hospitalized in May 2020 with alcohol-induced pancreatitis, and from there, I was told my days of drinking and eating as I pleased were over.

I had my gallbladder removed in July 2020 and then was hospitalized the week before Christmas with pancreatitis again; although the symptoms were nothing like the first time – the diagnosis is still very serious. It’s been a rough journey learning to accept this and with only being 28 years old. Fast forward to January 2021, and I have been diagnosed with severe IBS; this makes living day to day a struggle due to the pain and confusion of my diet. I spent a week in the hospital depressed and crying, so confused, “why did this happen to me?” There are, of course, no actual cures for pancreatitis or IBS (lucky me).

After going through this and learning how to take care of my body and accept the fact that my life as a young party-goer in my twenties is over, I began to search for support/research groups and stumbled across NPF. I received an email about the Pancreas bowl that’s coming up later this year. I thought, wow, what a great opportunity to show my support and help raise awareness for a life-threatening illness that still has no scientific answers, reasons, or treatment essentially. I also learned we will be teaming with Camp Hope in Columbus, OH, next year, which I look forward to being a part of as well.

We need answers, and we need to support each other. We can’t quit until we find a cure, an answer!

I am healthy today, for the most part, I may have a drink here and there, but I must watch what I eat closely. Through this journey, I have connected with these support groups, and I have become close with God, which I think is the only thing helping me through. It’s hard to explain pancreatitis to anyone because their first response is, “can’t they give you antibiotics?” no, they can’t. There is nothing they can really do besides have you rest, pain meds, and fluids. The complications that followed me after are even harder, so my best advice would be to stay active, find a support group, be healthy and kind to yourself, and most of all, PRAYER.

There is help, and there are resources. Never be afraid to ask for help.

Isaiah 41:10 God strengthens you.

 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”