Candlelight Conversations Volume 4: Krista Deveau

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TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOU! WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?

Hi, my name is Krista. I’m 27 years old, I live in Calgary, Alberta Canada with my husband. I am a Kindergarten teacher. I’ve always been someone who enjoyed helping others. I thrive off of making connections and simply just making people happy. Being a teacher, I get to do that every day. It isn’t always the easiest of jobs, but it is so rewarding and I really do love what I do! I leave work every day with a full heart knowing that I may have made a difference in someone’s life. I really believe this was my calling and that this is what I was meant to do.

WE BELIEVE THAT JUST LIKE BROKEN POTTERY PUT BACK TOGETHER WITH GOLD, WE ARE MADE WHOLE AGAIN IN SPITE OF OUR TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS AND ARE MORE BEAUTIFUL AND UNIQUE HAVING BEEN BROKEN. WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOUR KINTSUGI STORY!

I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Crohn’s disease, which is an inflammatory bowel disease at the age of 9. This caused abdominal pain, diarrhea, and weight loss. After having two bowel resections, I started suffering with incontinence and nausea that was debilitating to my everyday life. I started letting the disease take over me and my body. I felt like I lost who I was because my health had become so poorly and it started to affect my mental health. I wasn’t able to do things I loved anymore. However, just seven months ago, I made a huge medical decision. I begged my doctors for surgery which would leave me with an ostomy. Now, I have a part of my small bowel sticking out on the right side of my tummy and a bag attached to my skin where it collects waste since I do not use the washroom like everyone else anymore. I had never been so certain about a decision before, I knew this would give me a better life than what I was living before without my ostomy. Honestly, anything would have better than the torture I was experiencing before surgery. Most people think that getting an ostomy ruins your life but in fact it gave me my life back. I do not regret my decision because it has made me stronger and the healthiest I’ve ever been. I might poop in a bag now but it doesn’t make me gross or disgusting but I think it makes me beautiful because I feel like myself again. I have learned a lot about myself through this journey, I have discovered my strength and resiliency. I have gained so much confidence and started loving my body again because my ostomy finally allowed me to gain weight and just look and feel healthy. I am so grateful for this blessing in disguise. One of my favorite mottos to live by is: “The comeback is always stronger than the setback.”

YOUR STORY IS ONE THAT PERSONIFIES COURAGE AND RESILIENCE. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS WHO ARE STRIVING TO OVERCOME AN OBSTACLE OR FIND THE BEAUTY IN THEIR BROKENNESS?

My best advice would be to surround yourself with a positive community of friends and family. In my darkest of times, I was able to lean on them for support and words of encouragement when I didn’t believe in myself anymore. I try and look at the bigger picture of the situation and focus on the good parts. I am constantly making lists on paper or just in my head of everything that I’m grateful for, every single day. Sometimes life doesn’t always go as you planned but there’s always a lesson to be learned. I truly believe that some things fall apart so better things can fall into place. I always like to take that and make something beautiful out of it. 

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“Sometimes life doesn’t always go as you planned but there’s always a lesson to be learned. I truly believe that some things fall apart so better things can fall into place.”

Krista Nickerson

SHARING YOUR STORY AND OWNING YOUR TRUTH IS SO IMPORTANT! HOW DO YOU PROMOTE AUTHENTICITY?

I think it’s important just to be yourself, staying true to who you are as a person and celebrate YOU! I tried to not let my Crohn’s disease take over who I am because it doesn’t define me. However, without it I wouldn’t have come across my resiliency and how strong I could be. I have passions and dreams just like everyone else. Some days aren’t easy but I always come out stronger. I try and share the good and the bad because life isn’t always so picture perfect like social media makes it seem. You never really know what lies behind someone’s smile, everyone is going through their own battles. I always try to keep that in mind and do my best to be kind to people. I started sharing my story with Crohn’s disease and now my Ostomy to raise awareness because I wanted others to know they weren’t alone. I’ve always just wanted to help others hence why I am a Teacher. 

HOW DO YOU PRACTICE SELF-CARE AND SELF LOVE?

I didn’t always understand the importance of self-care until I got really ill with my Crohn’s disease about 3-4 years ago. I have always been a ‘go-getter’ and I never let my disease be an excuse to not accomplish something. But when I started getting sick, I ignored my symptoms and thought if I would just ‘powered through’, that I would manage just fine. I was so wrong! I didn’t take the time to take care of myself. I put myself into the hospital for a couple of weeks and had to take some time off of work and reduce my hours once I got back on my feet and back to work. I had become underweight and malnourished, I was only 95 lbs and running to the washroom 20 + times a day. Simple everyday tasks like walking up stairs, getting dressed or even showering was extremely difficult and left me feeling exhausted. This is when I knew I had to change something in my life. I started listening to my body and what it needed. Every day is different and how I practice self-care can look differently too. Some days, my body needs a nap, a bath, a long refreshing walk, or a yoga class. I also like to journal and listen to podcast if I ever feel overwhelmed with my emotions or when life gets busy.

In the last seven months, I have completely changed my outlook on self-love. I used to be obsessed with the number on the scale and doing exercise to look a certain way. But now, I have stopped exercising to have that perfect body and instead, I move my body to feel good and to stay healthy. Some days, I may not exactly like the way my ostomy looks on me but I like to focus on the positive. However, I do love the way it makes me feel so that’s what I like to focus on if I am having a bad day. My body has fought and worked so hard for me and it has made me appreciate my body in a whole new way. It is truly amazing what our bodies can handle and do, we need to give it more credit. How could I not love my body for that?

NEEDLESS TO SAY, WE ARE BIG PROPONENTS OF AROMATHERAPY? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE SCENTS?

I really like soft smells, nothing that is too overpowering. My favorites and go to scents are vanilla, lavender and peppermint. I use lavender to help me sleep and peppermint if I’m sick with a cold or if I’m nauseous, which are symptoms of Crohn’s. There’s just something about a warm vanilla scent, I love to have that in my living room. It makes me feel warm and cozy!

WHO DOESN'T NEED A INSPIRATION? WHAT INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS DO YOU TURN TO FOR YOUR DAILY DOSE OF INSPO?

I found and connected with many different individuals on Instagram that have the same medical issues as myself. It is a great community to be a part of and I’m so grateful to be part of such a supporting community. The Instagram accounts that I always look forward to seeing and following are:

  • @emc_brown

  • @ileostomy_crohn_princess

  • @lilsipper

  • @thelifeofbeck

  • @kristenchronicles

  • @raziblog

  • @rainavsfood

Please go check them out, all of their stories inspire me and make me feel less alone on hard days.

WE WOULD LOVE TO CONTINUE TO FOLLOW YOUR JOURNEY! HOW CAN WE STAY CONNECTED WITH YOU?

A year and a half ago, I decided to start a Crohn’s Instagram account in hopes to connect with people who could relate to the same things I was feeling and dealing with. If you are interested in staying connecting or following my journey, you can find me on Instagram under @my.gut.instinct.

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