World IBD Day: The Realities of Someone with Crohn’s Disease
Today is World IBD Day! A day recognizing Inflammatory Bowel Disease. This can be awkward to promote (poop jokes are always welcomed). But it’s really important to me.
I have Crohn’s Disease. I’ve had it since I was a little kid. This is an autoimmune disease which means my body attacks itself and it’s not curable (currently). Over the past 9 months it’s been one fiery and insane roller coaster. In fact, yesterday I had an uncomfortable surgery. The 5th in 9 months. What’s that like? I’m happy to share a few realities of someone with IBD:
1) It’s a constant juggling act of dealing with your body and being vulnerable about revealing the truth. Any one with an autoimmune disease knows that there are days they feel on top of the world and days they feel like death. It is physically draining. If I have to cancel plans on you or seem like I’m in a super bad mood, trust that it’s usually because I’m feeling sick. There’s a fantastic explanation of this by Christine Miserandino who coined the term “spoonies”. I encourage you to read it.
2) No one has the same triggers. This means it’s a lot of careful listening to your body. Contrary to standard “healthy facts” raw salad is not healthy for me. Some of my friends with IBD can eat popcorn. That would send me into the fetal position crying “whyyyy me?!”. Others cannot drink wine whereas I’m happy to share a few glasses with you. I’ve come to understand my body in a finely tuned way, ways I didn’t know were possible, and for that I’m really thankful.
3) When the times are good, you go for the adventure. Despite all of this and thanks to all of this I try super hard to celebrate life. I’ve had crazy adventures with many friends whether it’s through traveling, college, Burning Man, work events or improv. I refuse to let Crohn’s Disease stop me from accomplishing what I have my heart set on.
4) Bodies are weird so embrace your body’s beauty! For anyone who is trying to have a flat stomach or sculpted butt this summer, I say appreciate that you have these things working for you. You never know when they could fail. It’s important to be healthy but you sincerely do not need to push yourself to look a certain way. I love you as you are.
5) Each day that the disease kicks you in the ass (see what I did there?), you are humbled. I have a very high tolerance to pain. I accept that I am flawed and not invincible. I accept that sometimes I have to say no to things I want to do. These humbling experiences have helped me grow.
How are you feeling today? If you struggle with GI troubles or know someone who does, know that I’m always around to listen and give support. Always. I am here to help you feel better…even though it’s a life with a bunch of poop.