Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Introduce yourself, name, spouse, children, what you do for a living, and how long you and your spouse have been together.
Jessica: My name is Jessica Snyder. I’ve been with my husband, John Snyder, for 12 years. We have been married for eight. We have two wild, crazy, adorable, and smart little boys. Mason is 5 and Dylan is 2. I have been a stay at home mom for 2 1/2 years.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Tell me your story about Crohn’s disease and the support you receive at home with your immediate family.
Jessica: My story starts in 2004 when I started having stomach issues. My mom took me to my PCP because every time I ate I was in extreme pain with vomiting and diarrhea. I lost a lot of weight due to the sudden illness. My PCP told my mom that I was a teenager and just worried about my figure; that I just had an eating disorder. My mom didn’t give up. She demanded that I get an appointment with a specialist and in 2005 I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease.
In the beginning it was tolerable, however, after I had Mason in 2010, My Crohn’s disease started getting worse. In July 2011, I got a stomach bug which turned into a Crohn’s flare, I became so malnourished that I almost lost my life. The doctors pumped me full of medication and it helped for awhile. I found out I was pregnant with Dylan in 2012 and my Crohn’s went crazy!
In February 2013, while pregnant with Dylan, I had an access in my intestines, which caused me to almost lose Dylan, but the doctors were able to get it under control with a high dose of steroids. Again my Crohn’s was tolerable, until January 1, 2015. I was in severe pain, went to the ER and found out that I had a complete blockage in my intestines. The doctors were able to remove 14 inches of my small intestines and 2 inches of my colon. That left me with an ileostomy bag for 4 months.
The ileostomy bag was removed in April of 2015 and since then my Crohn’s has been in remission. I still have days where I don’t feel the best, but overall I feel great! My husband and our families are always so supportive and helpful through everything. I’m not sure what I would do without my amazing support system.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: As a mom with Crohn’s disease, what does a typical day look like?
Jessica: I get up at 6:30 every morning to get Mason, our oldest son, to the bus stop, and pray that I can make it back before I have to go to the bathroom. Mornings are the worst for some reason because I come home, get Dylan up and make breakfast between bathroom breaks. After about 11am, my stomach straightens out and I’m good for the rest of the day.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Do you look at your life differently now than before you were diagnosed?
Jessica: I can’t really remember what life was like before Crohn’s. I was 16 when I started having symptoms.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Living with Crohn’s disease, what is the hardest part about marriage and parenting?
Jessica: The hardest part is that I don’t feel that I have the freedom I would if I didn’t have it. For the longest time, I was scared to go anywhere with the boys by myself. If I have to go to the bathroom, I have to go then! That means stopping somewhere, getting both boys out of the car and rushing in to the potty. And praying that the boys don’t throw fits and I can make it to the bathroom in time.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Has Crohn’s disease changed you? What have you learned since you’ve been diagnosed?
Jessica: Yes, Crohn’s has changed my life in so many ways. I learned to never take life for granted because in a split second you could be pooping in a bag through a hole in your stomach.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What would you like families who don’t live with a “silent disease” to know about Crohn’s and truly understand?
Jessica: Don’t get mad when people cancel plans because It’s completely out of their control.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: How do you explain to your children, so they understand truly what you go through on a daily basis and is this a daily conversation in the home? How do your children view your “illness”?
Jessica:My boys are only 5 and 2 but they understand my Crohn’s. I never hide anything from them and they know mommy poops a lot and sometimes feels really bad.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What advice can you pass along to another mother/family who silently struggles with similar issues?
Jessica: You are not alone, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and your life isn’t over.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What was the scariest moment, thus far, living with Crohn’s disease?
Jessica: In 2011, I was admitted to the hospital for being dehydrated and malnourished. The doctor was at the foot of the bed, my mom on one side, and John on the other. The dr said that if I would have waited another 30 minutes to come to the hospital, I would have been dead. My potassium levels were so low that they were shocked that my heart was still beating. I remember my mom and John both breaking down. 😦
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: How supportive is your spouse and what advice do you have for husbands/dads that you’d like to pass along?
Jessica: John is amazing and he has been by my side since day one. When I got the ileostomy bag, I wanted nothing to do with it. John watched the nurse and learned everything about it and how to care for it, and did everything for me until I was comfortable with it.
My advice to other husbands: Be there for your wives, help them, support them, even when they haven’t showered for a week and look horrible, and tell them how beautiful they are!
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Do you have any support groups, circles, or anyone non family who assists in comforting the struggles you go through?
Jessica: Two years ago I started a support group for women struggling with Crohn’s Disease. It has been fabulous!
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Finish this sentence: Crohn’s disease is:_______
Jessica: A pain in the butt! ;).
If you would like more information about the support group Jessica has set up for Crohn’s Disease, please contact her via facebook by clicking on the link below: