Hope Warriors

Lauren Barros

Originally Published October 08, 2014

It’s warrior Wednesday!  I’d like you all to meet one of the most beautiful, kind and determined IBD battlers I’ve “met” since my diagnosis. I found Lo on Instagram shortly after my first colonoscopy and she’s been a constant source of support and encouragement ever since. Not only does she kick ass at this disease,  she climbs boulders. Literally. Get to know Lo a little bit below and find her on insta @readysetlo7.  Thanks for being you girl, you give me hope daily.

My name is Lauren Barros and I’m 26 years old currently living in Dallas Texas. I’m originally from Huntington Beach, California (California girl through and through). I was officially diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis Proctitis in December of 2012. I started showing signs of being sick (and I mean really sick) in 2006 the summer I graduated from high school. It took a Dr. (believe it or not) 6 LONG years to finally figure out what was going on. Let’s just say since 2006, it’s been a roller coaster of ups and downs in the emotion category of life.
The day I was diagnosed, my Dr. looked me in the eye as he handed me a prescription and said “your life will improve and all will be ok”. Oh what a load of lies that has proven to be. Since being diagnosed, I have been on many forms of medication such as: Lialda, Canasa, Cimzia, Prednisone, Uceris, Humra etc. Right now I’m not on any form of medication. Reason being, either nothing has worked or the side effects have been too awful. I’ve recently taken a trip to the Cleveland Clinic where I hope that a team of Dr’s can finally help me out. Why Cleveland? Well lets just say that I haven’t been given any help here in Dallas. And this girl isn’t looking to waste anymore time! I’m ready to LIVE!
Since being sick, I’ve learned so much, not just about myself, but about suffering in general. God has given me this experience to have a heart for hurting people and how to be there for them. I know that through all my own suffering; my calling is to be on the front lines helping others carry their burdens.
I’m not going to lie to you and make myself sound like a freak of nature who never gets down in the dumps about my condition. I struggle just as much as anybody with an illness. The hardest thing for me personally has been the mental battle of what UC has brought me. Even when being in short periods of remission (honestly though what’s being in 100% remission?), there are still other side effects other than going to the bathroom that have stuck around. Side effects such as: joint pains, night sweats, being so tired that just running a few errands during the day leave you drained for the rest of the day, not being able to be as active as others etc.
I’m a very outgoing girl who loves to be on the go all the time. I love doing things outdoors such as: camp, hike etc. The hardest part mentally has and still is not getting down and depressed. I’ve seen my body change from a tough rock climbing chick with beautiful muscles to a fragile 116 pound girl who has nothing but skin and bones for a body. I look at myself in the mirror periodically and wonder “how I got this way?” (yeah thanks UC ahah).
But with that being said, I’ve learned to take these struggles and own them. This disease may be taking a hold of my body, but I refuse to let it own my mind.  There are way too many beautiful things in this world that fill me with JOY. This disease is a little thing in a world that‘s filled with worse. It all comes down to perspective.
When life tries to take a hold of my joy, I hold true to Romans 5:1-4 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
I like to think of myself as a warrior who wakes up everyday ready to fight the IBD battle. And everyday this warrior strives to win the battle of IBD.
IBD has given me the chance to meet so many AMAZING people! Many of my closest friends have IBD and daily we lean on one another and fight this battle together and never let each other fall. I met my boyfriend Drew through Instagram, who he himself has battled Crohn’s for 14 years and now lives a wonderful life with an Ostomy. So without having IBD, I would never have met him or any other of my BFFs.
My mission is to get my face and name out there and spread love, joy, hope, smiles, and tears to all those who not only suffer with IBD, but all of those who suffer with an kind of illness. I just want to help others!
Love you guys and please know that a lot of your suffering is just a season in life. Keep your chins up and know that you weren’t given any more than what you can handle. And you aren’t alone.
Keep it up my little warriors,
Lauren Barros AKA Lo