Pancreatitis - Ashley Herin

My earliest memory of pancreatitis was when I was about four years old I was at Carowinds. I could hear the place bursting with shrieks and laughter as I was in the corner getting ill all over myself while internally screaming with pain. Ever since that day, I knew my life would be challenging and an constant uphill battle. Getting diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis also meant missing some of life’s greatest moments. Birthday parties, thanksgiving dinners, my sister’s college move in day, and more.  However, even in my toughest, lowest, most degrading moments of having to be picked up off the floor with tears streaming down my face, I felt strength. Having this disease always made me forcefully pull strength and will out from the lowest, darkest places within myself. It has also taught me empathy, self love, and forgiveness. At times the difficulty of coming to grips with my disease becomes difficult, but then I remember how blessed I am. Blessed to have a family that has held my hands as they trembled with depression of my disease. Blessed to have doctors and nurses who cried with me when I finally was able to go home. Blessed to have friends who have been understanding of my bad days, even when they fall on the most important days. Blessed to have people just like me, that raise awareness like this. I am not my disease; I am the product of all the blessings around me.