For some people living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, the disease puts roadblocks in the way when it comes to going to school, having a career, and participating in sports. For Lauren Thibodeau, a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis led to a complication of medical catatonia, which derailed her life and her career as a college golfer. However, with her family, her medical team, and her teammates around her, she made her way back to the golf course and in fact, wound up playing better than ever. Lauren shares what kept her motivated during the long and difficult recovery and how it changed her perspective on her golf game as well as her outlook on life.
Find Lauren Thibodeau at:
- Instagram: @lauren_t_99
- Twitter: @LTgolf247
- LinkedIn: Lauren Thibodeau
- Awards: Lauren Thibodeau Named Class of 2022 Honda Inspiration Award Winner, Thibodeau Wins Kim Moore Spirit Award
Find Amber J Tresca at:
- AboutIBD.com: About IBD
- Verywell: Verywell Health
- Facebook: @aboutIBD
- Twitter: @aboutIBD
- Pinterest: @aboutibd
- Instagram: @about_IBD
Find Mac Cooney (mix, sound design, and theme music) at:
- Facebook: @michaelandrewcooney
- Instagram: @maccooneycomposer
- Web: Cooney Studio
- Theme music, IBD Dance Party, is from ©Cooney Studio.
Amber Tresca 0:00
I’m Amber Tresca and this is About IBD. I’m a medical writer and patient educator who lives with a j-pouch due to ulcerative colitis. It’s my mission to educate people living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis about their disease and to bring awareness to the patient journey.
Amber Tresca 0:20
Welcome to Episode 124.
Amber Tresca 0:23
My guest is Lauren Thibodeau. As of this recording she is a graduate student and a golfer at the University of Louisville. She also lives with celiac disease and ulcerative colitis. While she was undergoing treatment for the ulcerative colitis she developed another condition called medical catatonia. She would get stuck and wouldn’t move or she wouldn’t be able to answer questions or do routine things like brush her teeth.
She had to work hard to come back both physically and cognitively.
Amber Tresca 0:52
At first, she was only allowed to go out to the golf course and take 10 swings at a time. But less than a year later, she was not only back to golfing, she was playing some of the best games of her life. Plus, she has gone on to tell her story in different media outlets, and win several awards. She shares what kept her motivated during the long and difficult recovery, and how it changed her perspective on her golf game, as well as her outlook on life.
Amber Tresca 1:24
Lauren, thank you so much for coming on about IBD I’m really excited to talk with you.
Lauren Thibodeau 1:29
Hi, Amber. Thanks for having me. I’m so glad to be here and get to share my story.
Amber Tresca 1:34
Great. So Lauren, I wonder if you take a minute first and just introduce yourself briefly.
Lauren Thibodeau 1:38
Yes, I’m on the University of Louisville women’s golf team. And I live with ulcerative colitis now for two years.
Amber Tresca 1:47
Right. And that is why Well, first you reached out to me, yes, because you had some major stuff going on in your golfing world, which I don’t understand at all. So you’ll have to forgive my ignorance on all of this, but I’m sure you will explain it to me. So but what I was interested in most was how you went through a really difficult diagnosis journey. And you had a lot of different things going on.
Amber Tresca 2:16
I read some of the write ups because you are golf famous. And the thing about it was is that I have a strong suspicion that maybe the whole story isn’t being told there. Or maybe it’s not quite coming from your voice. So I really wanted to have the opportunity to hear it from you and hear what happened because it’s really pretty wild.
Amber Tresca 2:42
You were diagnosed first with celiac disease. And then came the ulcerative colitis diagnosis. This was between 2019 and 2021. And there were some twists along the way. It sounds like a really frightening time for you and your whole family. So I wonder if you would start by taking me through how it all began for you. And then how you ended up in this hospital stay that changed so much of your life?
Lauren Thibodeau 3:14
Yes, it’s it’s very long and complex story. So yeah, kind of talking about the other people that have written about it’s, it’s hard to get it. All right. But first, with the celiac diagnosis, it was my freshman year in college. And just I’d always had migraines since I was little, but it just got really a lot worse and just couldn’t figure out what it was.
Lauren Thibodeau 3:37
And then that spring, I was diagnosed with celiac disease through endoscopy and that just as large changes go into gluten free, and all that. But once I change the diet, I just felt like there was something else missing. Then that fall of 2020 We were actually had like half in person classes here in Louisville, so kind of far away from my doctor’s in Boston and just started to not feel good, just kind of the classic, you know, I guess IBD symptoms, just was getting the runs and then like blood in the stool and stuff like that. I thought it was normal.
Lauren Thibodeau 4:10
My 21st birthday, which was on Thanksgiving that year, I only had two gluten free pancakes and that was all I ate the whole day. And then that’s when my family especially my mom was like there’s something wrong and like started a fever and then had seen my doctor once and she we scheduled like coffee but just didn’t realize how severe it was. So decided to bring me to the emergency room on the fifth of December 2020. And that was kind of the start of it. Didn’t know then obviously I would be there for 55 days. It’s pretty, pretty unreal. For sure.
Lauren Thibodeau 4:48
Within the week they had me in for colonoscopy and they weren’t even able to finish it just because of all the blockages and stuff like that. But then it kind of went to the treatment part. You know Trying to figure out what medicine to, you know, stop it or get the symptoms down. And then they, they tried this with a call like an antibiotic cocktails, a bunch of four different antibiotics to try to stop it and help it and still wasn’t quite working.
Lauren Thibodeau 5:17
So they gave me a choice. Basically, I could choose to on this other drug that was very had a lot of side effects, called tacrolimus. Or I could go into a surgery to remove my colon. Right. And but I don’t think I realized how severe it was until like that moment when, and even just having like, the surgeon in there just was like, just like this, like, really, this is happening. And I think at that point, was kind of funny. I was thinking very like short term like, oh, you know if I want to do this, because I want to be back to golfing in the spring.
Lauren Thibodeau 5:51
And I’m like, yeah, like, really like your health is like number one thing, right, but decided to do the tacrolimus. And, but basically, that was the deciding factor that would be in the hospital through Christmas, because of them having to watch for, you know, those side effects and things like that. So that was really hard on my, my family, for sure.
Amber Tresca 6:13
It really does sound like they were throwing everything at you like it really nothing was helping.
Lauren Thibodeau 6:18
Yeah. And on top of this real estate didn’t say this at the beginning. I was at Boston Children’s Hospital which right? Yeah. And like it’s one of the best hospitals in the world. Yeah, a little biased, but is no, it is true. So yeah. It was kind of like, I think it was definitely hard for us that like, yes, you know, they’re like these the best doctors and they still have like, no, they are like just trying anything they can think of. But yeah, they were very, very supportive.
Lauren Thibodeau 6:44
And on top of this, too, was the middle of COVID, like 2020. So like, it was pretty crazy to be there. Like once the vaccines were all like the nurses were just getting the vaccines and everything was coming out. And I made it even harder, like my brother, who was I think I want to say was 12 or 13. At the time, he couldn’t come in to see me. Like I could only have one parent at a time, which usually, if I wasn’t in the Children’s Hospital, it wouldn’t have been a case the case. So absolutely. I got lucky in that one.
Lauren Thibodeau 7:11
But yeah, we just figured out a way like going downstairs and looking through like the glass windows and we call like each other through the phone and see each other. So we got got creative, and later on, we realized that I could actually get go outside of the hospitals. So they brought my dog right time, like just into the leg lobby area. And we all got to see each other. But yeah, it was definitely tough on a whole family.
Amber Tresca 7:34
First of all, you’re dealing with some new diagnoses, not used to the ebb and flow of the hospital situation. And then all of that on top of it. That’s that that’s a lot. It’s a lot on you. And it’s a lot on your family. So what happened after that?
Lauren Thibodeau 7:50
Yeah, so they was a lot of things. Basically, the doctor said that like the storm and my gut went to my brain basically on on Christmas Day, you know, of all all days, it could be just so this because of all the side effects from tacrolimus. They thought maybe that was the deal.
Lauren Thibodeau 8:06
But they silly I went into the state of medical catatonia. So I was I get stuck in like certain positions. And I was hard to like talk at times, but then other times I just saying things that were just way out of the ordinary, like I would just never say one was they would ask, like, who’s the current president? And one time I said JFK, so like, that, like you would never know, like, I never thought I would ever say
Amber Tresca 8:32
Right. Yeah, it was a little before your time as well.
Lauren Thibodeau 8:36
Yeah, I didn’t realize that could be it. It was a tough question. Because I was in the hospital. Well, you know, Biden was present so it’s tricky question.
Amber Tresca 8:44
Yeah, it’s an unreal situation. It really is you when you’re in the hospital like that dealing with so much reality is so far away from you. Like I don’t even know that it’s good to ask people those kinds of questions because it does not feel like any kind of real life at all. Plus then you had these neurological symptoms. Yeah, so how did they I can’t even imagine I think I read that you know, like you were brushing your teeth and you’d get stuck like, how did that all like what was that like?
Lauren Thibodeau 9:14
Yeah, so it was I remember very little like bits of it I think I remember the beginning because it was kind of very like traumatic when it kind of first happened.
Lauren Thibodeau 9:21
I felt like there was these thoughts that were like not from me that were just like coming in like couldn’t like control it was very weird and then just kind of seeing like the surroundings but not being able to like do anything or like just was very weird and then the memory kind of from it’ll remember too much but the the tooth brushing it was they had like a sign about how to brush your teeth on like next to like where the sink was right right. I couldn’t remember how to do that.
Lauren Thibodeau 9:48
And then yeah, just was a lot of like little like weird things just like need help putting all my clothes like just was in then one time my mom came in and I didn’t know who she was, and I luckily don’t like her. Remember that but yeah, so like crazy.
Amber Tresca 10:04
Yeah, it’s kind of better that you don’t remember that. Because that’s that’s a lot to deal with. Were you aware of what was happening? Were you aware that you weren’t quite connecting the dots on certain things?
Lauren Thibodeau 10:16
Yeah, I think a little bit I think it was more like, I didn’t know what was, like happening around me. Like, it just was like weird things. Like, I remember watching a lot like movies. And then, like I called some my teammates that are from Europe, and it’d be like, you know, like 11 or like midnight here. So it’s like, five in the morning, just FaceTiming them one time to like FaceTime with my teammates and ask like, Hi. And then she was like, Hi. And I hung up. And I was like, What did? And so and I was like, Oh, I just want to make sure she was okay.
Amber Tresca 10:48
Like, she never told her that.
Lauren Thibodeau 10:50
Yeah, I was like, there’s still parts of me that was like they are but it just it was, it was hard to see. And it was hard for like, my dad to like, my brother to see that. And, you know, being like, on paper, like my symptoms were like, autoimmune encephalitis. But why I wasn’t diagnosed with that was all the EGS and like CAT scans and stuff, which he did, like, way too many tests on stuff like that on me.
Lauren Thibodeau 11:15
All them came back negative for that. So that’s why they went with the medical catatonia diagnosis. So that just made it hard to again, like the best doctors in the world, and they don’t know. And again, the only good thing was that my colitis was under control. For some, like, reason, like it clicked. That’s why they think maybe that antibiotic cocktail might have helped, but maybe it tacrolimus like they say, oh, it’s like a mystery, but it’s a good mystery in that case, in a way.
Amber Tresca 11:45
You had to go through hell to get the ulcerative colitis under control. Yeah, they figured out that it was probably a side effect that they then discontinue these things like right away?
Lauren Thibodeau 11:54
Like the tacrolimus they stopped it and then I had I was on like other medications to for the colitis. And they kept those because it wasn’t a problem. They think they started me in a lot of stuff for kind of get these neurological issues kind of under control and see and because it would take like a half hour to like, just take my medicines because I was like, I couldn’t like the attention and be like, okay, Lauren, like put the pill in your mouth and then swallow like it was just very, like…
Amber Tresca 12:21
You had to be given like every single step along the way. It’s not just like your take this pill, you have to be told, put it in your hand. Now put the pill in your mouth now swallow. Oh my gosh.
Lauren Thibodeau 12:31
And taking like 15-20 pills, or whatever it was, yeah, it did take a while but still while so they’re like this isn’t working and not seeing improvements. There was a whole week that I didn’t talk at all. So I want to rush and so then they were like, Okay, we’re gonna have to go to kind of like these extreme treatments. So they brought up about ECT, which is electro convulsive therapy.
Lauren Thibodeau 12:53
Because my mom being a clinical psychologist, like when she went to doctorate school, she saw this actually. So getting this treatment goes really hard on her but she knew there’s obviously a lot of positives to it. They took me by ambulance to Mass General for the first treatment. And again, I think I didn’t really know what was really happening kind of later on in the treatments, I think it’s when I realized like basically, they’re inducing a seizure in my brain to like, reset my brain, basically, the first treatment they have what they call like a robust response, and that really, they’re kind of amazed they thought it wouldn’t take about 10 treatments to see progress.
Lauren Thibodeau 13:29
So they were really pleased with that. And so we continued in for a while I think about a month it was three treatments a week, so it was a lot but um, that first week they did the treatment sighs showed so much progress that I did get one of the I got I was able to leave the hospital. Right Okay, first discharge discharge. I’m like, yeah, like come on. Don’t forget any more words. Yeah, so that was that was really great because even though I wasn’t totally better it was really that progress was all I really wanted them to be kind of with my whole family was really great.
Amber Tresca 14:27
So you were released from the hospital, you had a lot going on, you had some new diagnosis, you had all these neurological issues that were happening. What did they do for you so that you had a program at home that was bringing you back to physical and also mental health so that you could go back to not just you know, brushing your teeth without instructions, but you know, you had a life and a career and you know, that you wanted to get back to?
Lauren Thibodeau 14:52
Yes, yeah, that was it was a lot I think at first they thought I was gonna have to go to like a rehab facility to Yeah, but luckily can follow the progress, I was able to go home, which was good because of, again, all the COVID protocols and those hospitals to when it made it hard, it just was a lot of checkups.
Lauren Thibodeau 15:10
And obviously I was still going into Boston do the ECT treatments multiple times a week, the big help for me was this. Our physical therapist I’d always gone to since I was younger, I was being golfer getting a few injuries, but we have one person there that kind of specializes in neuro PT. So she would be I’d be like standing on one will obviously eventually but like standing on one foot on like BOSU. And then like having to write with different color crayons, like different letters. So it was like I was working on like, my whole kind of like whole body, but also like my brain and trying to, like, get all that together.
Lauren Thibodeau 15:43
And then the other thing that was big was it did speech therapy, obviously because of like couldn’t even with the word finding was really hard. Yeah. And like to focus and really, it’s, it’s come a long way since then. And even just within the year, it was almost back to normal. So it was a lot of like practicing and, and stuff like that. Because mean, even just like not being around very many people like you don’t realize how your words like kind of your word finding skills and just creativity, I guess I’d say kind of go down and communication stuff like that not being able to golf. That was definitely, definitely hard.
Lauren Thibodeau 16:19
But her day, it was a couple months, and then they let me swing out only do like 10 swings a day. So that was kind of hard to but I was like really just happy to do anything. Did you cheat? No, actually, I was. I didn’t. But I I just I really was really kind of like stayed like my pores and didn’t really, I was actually reading something today that I had written that was like I really there’s some things I want to like jump kind of like ahead, but I was like really just seemed to like, just take kind of like the little baby steps kind of toward the direction gotta go. And that’s kind of how I got it done, I guess.
Amber Tresca 16:56
Right? Yeah, but being told that you can’t do the thing that is most important and impactful to you is really just, it’s the worst. So yeah, wanting to get back to it, it was definitely you were playing the long game here trying to get through all of this.
Lauren Thibodeau 17:15
I think also, it was hard because a lot of the doctors were like, thinking that, like they’re comparison comparing it to like hockey players or like football players, and it’s like, golf is so much different and a lot of interest. Even just going out and being outside on the golf course, or whatever. It was like it’s very, like peaceful to me. So it was like, kind of hard to not have that. But that was good at least to have like a cap again, in a way to only have to be able to do like 10 swings, because you can definitely overdo it even though it’s just a simple movement.
Amber Tresca 17:46
Sure. Well, yes, but it’s not a simple movement after you’ve been hospitalized. Yeah, you know, largely and in a bed. I mean, you know, you get up and walk around but it’s not the same at all. You get deconditioned really quickly I think
Lauren Thibodeau 18:02
yeah, for sure. It was and I yeah cuz I obviously like lost the lost a lot of weight when I was in there too. And then I think whole body just in general because then just go you know that you’re on steroids or whatever. And yeah, and then the only other thing too is like that recovery process it was all going good.
Lauren Thibodeau 18:19
And then till the end of March I started getting like really fatigued I like went up a flight of stairs and my heart rate was 170 and we’re like what’s wrong and I really went actually because I have thyroid issues but it was actually my hemoglobin was four so what that was issue and so when you’re again that was there for three days because they’re like you know go in there like where are you bleeding? I’m like I’m not bleeding anywhere like I’m not I’m fine like I don’t know what this deal is.
Lauren Thibodeau 18:46
They they thought it maybe was side effect of one of my medicines for my for my gut which was sulfasalazine they thought maybe Yeah, that could lead to like anemia and stuff like that. Which I have realized like since then just reading stuff that that’s a common thing to people with colitis get that and it’s definitely scary when they’re like yeah, we don’t really know why this happened.
Amber Tresca 19:10
They just treat it they can’t tell you why it’s happening all the all they could do is like fix you up and I’m assuming give you a blood transfusion to and send you on your way.
Lauren Thibodeau 19:16
I had three or four I had like four or five I think in like it was it was insane. Yeah. And but I mean, obviously at that point in that for the needles after.
Amber Tresca 19:28
I think there’s something really wild and I found it really scary to get a blood transfusion. It just seems like wow, I’m really sick. But you know what I mean? Like all the other stuff didn’t really bring that point home. But getting a blood transfusion did that for me. Maybe by that point you’d had worse?
Lauren Thibodeau 19:49
Yeah, I don’t know. I think I was just like, I’m back here again. But I think the scary part of that one was they thought like, they’re like, oh, maybe you have leukemia. I’m like, Oh yeah, we’re just gonna like and then you Um, so they did like, the testing for that. And then it’s like good to wait like a day and a half for the results. It’s like, it’s like the longest time ever.
Lauren Thibodeau 20:08
But that came back negative. So it’s kind of one of those things were like, well, what’s the deal now? Like, what’s the problem, but they put me on like another another immunosuppressant drug trying to you noticed added to the list. And it did help. And haven’t they kept a close eye on me for sure. For Yeah, next year, and worse off that medicine too, which is just great.
Amber Tresca 20:29
So this was where are we now we’re in like March 2001. That timeframe? So when was it that you were able to go back to golfing and go back to school?
Lauren Thibodeau 20:39
Yeah. So before that, I was able, like swing a little bit, but I still was there. Very cautious. But after that, I remember because obviously, I was kind of disappointed, because I’m like, all this is gonna bring back a little bit like, again, you know, yeah. And ask the doctor like, hey, when can I golf again. And he’s like, if you want to like today, like, you know, like, doesn’t matter. Like, you’re good.
Lauren Thibodeau 20:58
And that was like, I think that was the first time someone had said that. And I was like, yeah, like, you know, so I was able to practice a little bit more. I had had a tournament plan for like the beginning of May. But it was probably not a good idea anyway, because it was 36 holes, which is to like 18 hole rounds. And one day, yeah, so I would never been able to do that physically at that point. And so my next tournament at that point was at beginning of June, in Florida.
Lauren Thibodeau 21:23
And luckily, a lot of my tournaments that summer, I was riding carts, which normally isn’t typical for amateur golf, but I was just constantly worked out like that. Because that was probably the hardest part for me was like the getting my energy up. And then especially when it’s hot out is we’re out there for five hours that sometimes that’s just not even counting really like the warm up. So it’s a lot of it was a lot to build up up to. And really, I kind of played well, really out of the gate. And it kind of was a little surprising. Really, the highlight of the summer was in August was the last tournament, it was our New Hampshire state. And right before I was heading back to school, which obviously that was a process to get all signed back up again and head back to school.
Amber Tresca 22:09
Yeah, this is a long road back, I can imagine that there would be people that would have dropped certain things along the way and not tried to go back like this. What kept you going? What kept you moving forward?
Lauren Thibodeau 22:24
Well, I’d definitely say that I’m just the type to kind of just go like all anime. I feel like sometimes that can, that can hurt me because it’s like, oh, yeah, I can do it all and type thing. But really, for me, like, I don’t know, I just had this like belief that I’d be able to, like, get to play golf and go back to school again.
Lauren Thibodeau 22:40
And I mean, really, for me, the big thing was, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to graduate just because of I still had a good amount of courses left and just didn’t know how I would be on the mental side. But yeah, I think really, for me kind of says that one step at a time just making a little goals and just try not to push myself too hard, but like just right now and really didn’t let myself like think ahead too much. I think once our fall season was over, I kind of was like what, what just happened? Like, what did I just do? Like, I just played the best golf in my in my whole time in college and like while doing all this other stuff.
Lauren Thibodeau 23:16
So I felt like I was not just playing for myself really anymore. Like I mean, I was like complying for my team and like my state and like my other friends and family. But I felt like I was playing for other people that have like chronic illnesses and that like, can’t do what they love to do. And so I kind of was like, glad that I was given this like second opportunity to be able to play the sport I love.
Amber Tresca 23:41
Yeah, that’s a lot of inspiration to take with you. As you said, you were playing the best golf of your life to the point where you’ve now won. I’m sure you’ve won many awards over the years. But you reached out to me about the about the Honda inspiration Award, which you won. Yeah. And then also you won the Kim Moore Spirit Award. So tell me about these. Tell me about what that was like. And and what what does this what does this mean to you? what did this mean to your parents to your family?
Lauren Thibodeau 24:14
Yeah, so I think the the first one was the Kenmore spirit award it really the Kenmore Spirit Award is specifically for like Division One golfers and having gone through experience adversity like the road at some point in their college career, but then come back, like had come back from it. That was one of the things I think I was very driven to try to win for playing well in the fall and then into the spring. But then we played a tournament that was on national television in the early spring in March.
Lauren Thibodeau 24:47
And they my coach was like, Do you want to share your story and like they’re willing to do like are universities willing to do a special video on you? And I think I was very, very shocked and so should be a golfer like, Oh, you’re gonna be on Golf Channel, like I like what you know. And so we went through it and they did it, they did a great job and and so my academic advisor reached out to me and he was like, hey, like, there’s this award, I think you’d be a good fit for. And then someone else in the faculty like, emailed like next week, I was like, Hey, I think she should apply for this too.
Lauren Thibodeau 25:21
So it’s really funny, like, it’s multiple people. And it was the Honda inspiration award. And again, I was like, What is this? Like? Obviously, you can kind of get a little bit from the name. But yeah, it’s basically all these all female athletes in Division One, two, or three can apply and they have to be through, have gone through, like medical issue or an injury. And there’s like, all sorts of, obviously things that could be, but it being like, all sports, and all divisions for women’s collegiate athletics was like, Well, this is like a big deal.
Amber Tresca 25:55
Yeah, so could also be basketball, volleyball, like anything, right?
Lauren Thibodeau 25:59
Yeah, the previous one previous person had gone through, like, multiple, like heart surgeries, so and then came back and was like, runner up in national championship. So I was like, Whoa, like, I don’t know if I can do that second part. But we’ll give it a shot. You know, I think, obviously, I think they would rank like higher if you you know, played better. But for kind of all in all, it was mostly like, the story and I see how like inspirational was. And so my coach was very much like, we can do this, like, we’re gonna you’re gonna win this and stuff like that. And after our season ended, they reached out and said, That I was a finalist. And I was like, what like that just let alone was just like…
Amber Tresca 26:40
Like, there was like three finalists? I think. Right? So you were one of three?
Lauren Thibodeau 26:43
Yeah, at first I had no idea how many either like there, it was very, like, didn’t get very much information. And then they’re like, yeah, so CBS Sports is going to come next week and do a like story on you. And like, they’re gonna come in and review it. And I was like, what? Like, yeah, you’re kidding me. And so they came out to our golf course. And that was they were there for not like, they interviewed one of my teammates, and my coach, too.
Lauren Thibodeau 27:07
But yeah, so it was that the whole process, and then they, they told me that I had at one and I had to keep it a secret for like, a month. So that was just like, they did announce that little bit earlier. I think that they right, that was kind of told, but on top of that just was really great to share my story kind of with the, the whole world. And, you know, it wasn’t even like a year and a half or around there since I was discharged. So really just just blessed that Honda really gave me the opportunity and that they thought my my story was a real inspiration.
Amber Tresca 27:45
So, right, it’s a huge contrast when you compare where you were, at that point in your journey, and then where you are now. And every person’s journey with IBD is unique. Yours. I mean, you didn’t really have to go all in on being unique like that, you know, but you really brought something new to it. Yeah, um, yeah. So I’m wondering, having been through all of this. Do you have any advice? Do you have any words of wisdom to people who are recently diagnosed and are looking to come through their journey and get back to what they love doing?
Lauren Thibodeau 28:25
Yeah, I mean, I think the big thing is to just keep fighting and like, you know, if you want to do something, or really whatever it is, that you’re definitely like, capable of it. There’s nothing really stopping you. I think it obviously is kind of daunting and overwhelming when it’s like, oh, you have a chronic illness and that you’re going to have for the rest of your life. But I think there’s still so much more that we can do. Really, the health is, like the most important thing. I think that’s, for me, that’s kind of put things in perspective, even just like, well, I don’t know, if I don’t have a good day on the golf course. Well, you know, at least I’m healthy and like able to play I think it’s I really think the perspective I’ve come have gotten from this whole hospitalization this whole journey has really kind of helped me in life and kind of everything.
Amber Tresca 29:17
Yeah, and it’ll take you forward through everything else that is to come. Hopefully, you won’t ever face anything as challenging as this ever. Yeah, that is my wish for you.
Amber Tresca 29:28
Lauren, after your recovery, what would you say are the top high points of your golfing career?
Lauren Thibodeau 29:34
Yes, so I’d say there’s probably two two really big high points. But the first one was in August, I was just getting prepped for coming back in the fall to college golf and played in our New Hampshire Stadium, which I had one two years before that, but just meant more obviously come back the recovery. And the first round I shot 64 which was eight under par and bro Look at the course record at the golf course. So that was, it was just this was great. It is amazing, something I never would have thought I would do like so early on after a hospitalization and then and then end up winning the tournament was just was just good confidence boost heading into the season.
Lauren Thibodeau 30:18
And then I started playing, you know, I was playing pretty well in the in the fall season. Then our third tournament, we’re in Chicago and shot the last two rounds, I shot 6868, which was the best out of anyone, the last two rounds of the three rounds that we played, and was tied for third, for the tournament out of going into there was 90 people playing. So it was my best finish by far. And then before it was about, like 10th place, I’d say.
Lauren Thibodeau 30:46
And then we won as a team, which always is just, you know, is this great to have a team win. And we came from behind, and it was a really good field. So I think I just didn’t know if I’d, you know, be able to be with the whole team and that we’d win together, you know, again, and then to it just felt like finally, you know, I’ve been practicing so hard and to finally get you know, third place finish was just was this amazing, and just was really can’t put into words really.
Amber Tresca 31:36
So what’s next, you’re you’re doing the grad school thing, right? And then and then what does the next couple of years look like for you?
Lauren Thibodeau 31:42
Yeah, so really, the first part was, I somehow graduated in the spring kind of with everything else that was kind of the first part. And I was able to graduate, like walk early in the spring with my with my teammate and like my actual class. And so that was that really meant a lot because yeah, I think that really was the biggest accomplishment for me really. But yeah, and then, so I’m doing a graduate certificate in data science.
Lauren Thibodeau 32:14
So it’s a little bit different than economics, but I really like I did analytics and things like that. And I really want to kind of put together like my love of like golf and sports and kind of like my math kind of background. And if I was doing like sports statistics, that would be kind of the the goal for me and the LPGA is they’re just kind of starting that program. So it kind of be fun to do to do that. If I’m not playing professionally. That’s kind of the that’s the number one goal and dream but I think I just don’t know where, you know, I’m gonna be with my with my health, you know, we think the best case scenario, but it’s, it’s hard to, to be out there a lot on your body. So kind of having had two really good scenarios is really the ideal for me.
Amber Tresca 33:04
Yeah, I, I knew what you were studying. And then I was trying to think about how it related to golf. Not that it has to. But I was trying to so thank you for putting that together for me. That makes perfect sense that you would go into something statistics for for sports. That makes perfect sense.
Lauren Thibodeau 33:19
So yeah, for sure. But I definitely have golf for the for the rest of my life.
Amber Tresca 33:24
Yeah, absolutely. So I want people to be able to find you after they listen to this and follow along your journey so that they can see what is next for you. Where can people follow you on the interwebs?
Lauren Thibodeau 33:37
Yes, so on Instagram, that’s mainly where I am. It’s Lauren underdash T underdash 99. And then on Twitter, it’s Lauren golf 247. But I usually don’t go too much on on Twitter, kind of in the future, I really want to do some more stuff with colitis and kind of spend spreading that awareness and when I originally knew I was going to be on the or they were going to do a story about me and that was going to be on the Golf Channel. That was kind of the first thing one of the things they said it’s like, well, I want to help out others and, you know, helping them you know, realize that, you know, maybe they should go get help and some of the symptoms and things like that, you know, that aren’t okay to just be living with that really meant a lot to me, and I hope to help more in the future.
Amber Tresca 34:22
Well, we can certainly help you out with that. I will definitely get you going on the Twitter’s because that’s a great community to be in and you’ve already clearly had a significant impact. And I know you’ll continue to do so. I look forward to watching that. And so thank you so much for coming on about IBD I appreciate your time I’m so glad you reached out to me. I don’t know that I would have found you had to not so that’s also a reminder to people to hey you know connect with with people in the community and you know, get get your story out out there. Don’t be afraid to, to do that at all. So thank you so much for talking with me and I’m really looking forward to seeing what you do next.
Lauren Thibodeau 35:07
Great. Thank you so much Amber. It’s been a pleasure.
Amber Tresca 35:15
Hey, super listener. Thanks to Lauren Tibideaux for taking me through her journey. The complications she experienced aren’t going to be common. But her story of persevering is one to which we can all relate. Changing our perspective on what our limits are. And what we can achieve is one of the gifts that living through difficult health problems gives us.
Amber Tresca 35:38
I got connected to Lauren because she reached out to me on Instagram. And you can follow her at Lauren underscore t underscore 99. You can also find her on the Twitter at Lt. Golf 24/7
Amber Tresca 35:54
links to a written transcript. Everyone’s social media handles and more information on the topics we discussed is in the show notes and it’s on my episode 124 page on about ibd.com
Amber Tresca 36:06
You can follow me Amber Tresca across all social media as about IBD thanks for listening.
Amber Tresca 36:13
And remember until next time, I want you to know more about IBD
About IBD is a production of Mal and Tal Enterprises.
It is written, produced, and directed by me, Amber Tresca.
Mix and sound design is by Mac Cooney.
Theme music is from Cooney Studio.
Amber Tresca 36:34
What is your favorite color?
Lauren Thibodeau 36:37
Green? Yeah a kind of green technically like lime green,
Amber Tresca 36:41
But okay. Not like not like grass green. Not like golf course grass.
Lauren Thibodeau 36:46
It is. I mean, you want to hit the green but…