State: Omaha, NE
Facility: The Nebraska Medical Center
NaCarra was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis just after her 9th birthday and was hospitalized for 5 1/2 weeks, undergoing multiple tests and procedures. In order to treat her illness, she became high-dose steroid dependent which caused her to gain about 60 pounds over a year and a half. This caused her tremendous difficulty in adjusting to being sick and “big”, as she had never faced anything like this before. NaCarra refers to this as her “puffy-time.” Over the past three years she has been weaned from the steroids and has started taking a combination of an oral chemotherapy medication as well as an IV medication to control her disease. She takes the oral chemo daily and the IV medication is administered every other month. These medications leave her immune-suppressed. Unfortunately, without the medications her disease could progress causing her serious health problems. Through all of this NaCarra has overcome her fear of needles which helps with her IVs and lab draws.
Today, NaCarra is nearly 15 years old and despite her difficult diagnosis and ongoing treatments NaCarra remains active socializing with her friends, as well as continuing to be on the honor roll throughout both her inpatient and outpatient treatments. She had to quit gymnastics due to the joint pain associated with her disease; thankfully she has been able to join and enjoy being on the Flag team at her high school. NaCarra and her family have had to learn to deal with her symptoms, medications to manage it as well as the side effects from the disease and treatment. Throughout her treatment she has maintained a positive attitude and her family support – mom, dad, brother sister and 2 dogs! – has been amazing. They work together to approach her illness and treatment as a speed bump rather than a road block.