“I didn’t know what was going on. I felt very isolated and very alone,” says Hayden, who at the time would fight through the pain and continue to attend social events, often suffering in silence. “Finding out at 21 that you have a disease that has no cure is a very heavy burden to bear.”
Eventually Hayden settled for a new normal. She powered through her pain and fatigue on a daily basis, until she experienced fewer “good” days because of her symptoms.
Fast forward three years, Hayden was working in her dream job as a TV news anchor when she got hospitalized due to an abscess the size of a tennis ball in her small intestine. After that, Hayden’s doctor ordered a change in treatment.
Then, eight years after she was first diagnosed, she met the love of her life, Bobby.
“On the third date she told me she had Crohn’s. For me, I didn’t know much about the disease, but it had no bearing on how I felt about her,” he says. “I’d never even had a hospitalization, but I knew I wanted to be there for her.”
They kept seeing each other. Six months into the relationship, she had a bowel obstruction which landed her in the hospital for several days.
“A bowel obstruction would make me black out because the pain is so intense that there is nothing else I can focus on,” recalls Hayden. “It brought me to my knees. I could barely walk.”