Inflammatory bowel disease is not sexy. Not in the least. You will never see a movie with a star that has Crohn’s, or ulcerative colitis. I mean really, who wants to watch a movie about someone who is crapping their bleeding guts out? Well…who knows, maybe they would. I know that I would. Also, I am kind of banking on the fact that people will want to read about it by writing this blog. I digress.
When I was diagnosed, I was still in the delicate first phase of my relationship. I didn’t let my significant other see me without make-up much less admit that I had bodily functions. When I had to go and get a colonoscopy, I didn’t tell him until the day before because I was so embarrassed. I proceeded to be embarrassed about everything for the next couple years.
Our first photo together shortly before my diagnosis
Since then he has helped me through all kinds of “not sexy” situations related to my disease (including accidents and enemas) and apparently doesn’t love me any less. But at first it was quite traumatic. So what is the point I am trying to make? Our loved ones need to know what is going on. I never really explained my disease to E until after I had been hospitalized a couple of times, which made it more difficult to support me and also just plain scary. We owe it to ourselves to share what is going on with our family and closest friends, maybe not the neighbor or the person sitting next to us on the bus, but at least to a select few. If you aren’t comfortable talking about it yourself, direct them to google and then have them ask you questions if they want. If you have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis you can direct them right here for all kinds of uncomfortable details…
I was always afraid to talk to peopleabout being sick because they might pity me or treat me differently. I never wanted to admit that I needed special treatment, but now I am finding that telling people about my disease is a great way to help spread information. When people used to ask me about my diet, I would say that it was because I had digestive problem and then I would be irritated when they started to talk to me about their own digestive problems. Now I tell them that I have an autoimmune disease. The diet that I follow has worked for a lot of people who have gone into remission from diseases that supposedly don’t have a cure. If they ask about my disease, I tell them. Many times they will have a friend or relative that is also suffering from autoimmune disease and want to pass the information along. Most people don’t treat me differently when I tell them the truth, but sometimes recognize my strength. Which isn’t all that bad.
For those of you who don’t know, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are both autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases are particularly frustrating because our doctors don’t know why we get them, or how to cure them. We end up taking a series of harsher and harsher drugs, trying to control our own immune system and stop it from attacking us. In the case of inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) this attacking causes bleeding ulcers in our intestines and sometimes other uncomfortable places.
It took me a long time to find a treatment option that didn’t cause more damage than healing. I hope that this blog can point a few people towards the path that I am now on, and I hope that they find it more quickly than I did!
For more about my treatment plan now, click here
For a more detailed health history, click here
Don’t hesitate to contact me to answer any and all of your questions!