Emma Chapple’s Life as a Lemon was one of two non-fiction stories to receive the 2015 David Adams Richards prize for writing at St. Thomas University.

Life as a Lemon is a personal story about living with Crohn’s disease and, although it wasn’t easy for her to write, Chapple said receiving this kind of recognition made it worthwhile.

“It feels amazing.  This was one of the hardest things I have had to write, and to be recognized for it is the best payoff,” she said.

Chapple, who will begin her fourth-year at St. Thomas University in the fall, was inspired to write about her experience with Crohn’s disease after she became so sick she was forced to leave school for two weeks.

“I’ve been living with Crohn's since age 13, and it’s impacted my life in more ways than I could imagine,” she said. “I wanted to address not only the obvious physical limitations, but the mental and social issues that can also come with the disease.”

The journalism major hopes her story will give readers a better understanding of Crohn’s disease and related conditions.

“I mention in the story that Crohn's is still largely thought of as an "old people disease," when it's just not the case anymore.”

After completing her studies at St. Thomas, Chapple would like to pursue magazine writing. She also plans on applying for law school.  

Life as a Lemon, By Emma Chapple

Bad things happen when you don’t go to your usual pharmacy.  At my usual pharmacy, I’m one of their best customers.  I could walk up to the counter and pick up any medication at all, and the technician wouldn’t bat an eye.

“That’s just Emma,” they would say.  “She’s taken it all.”

But that evening, I didn’t go to my usual pharmacy.  The details are fuzzy, but I can only assume I was pressed for time.  The only problem is, I wasn’t just picking up some penicillin.

I was picking up enemas.

The technician, a petite blonde woman, scanned the label and looked back at me, a fellow petite blonde woman.

“This isn’t for you, is it?” she asked.

They were.  It was bad enough having to literally take this medication and shove it.  But once again, someone reminded me of my status as a living paradox.

The paradox is this: I, a 20-year-old woman with an affinity for all things fashion and beauty, am living with Crohn’s disease, and all the shit that comes with it (and I mean that quite literally). 

Not that it’s too hard to forget.  After all, I wear an ostomy bag at all times.

To read the full story, click the attachment below.

Emma Chapple - Life as a Lemon.docx