I’ve been dealing with Crohn’s disease, in some form or fashion, for the past 15 years. All this time, I’ve been relatively private when it comes to dealing with it. Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) is far from a sexy topic. And yet, it affects countless numbers of people every day. Living quietly with it can be (and for me, has been) a tremendously isolating experience. This last bout in the hospital changed my outlook on just about everything. I finally realized that I might not be able to change the fact that I have Crohn’s, but I can choose how I live. I can choose a life of connection and truth and authenticity. A crappy autoimmune disease can’t rob me of that unless I allow it to.
I’m grateful to have arrived at a place where I’m capable of sharing my story.
I can’t even begin to describe how helpful other Crohnies’ blogs have been to me. I’ve never met another person “in real life” who has it, but these stories offer proof of their existence. I’m not the only one who has an alien baby that lived in my intestines (and has named it that). I’m not the only one to stuff my face mindlessly when I’m on steroids and gain 11 pounds in a month. I’m not the only one out there with a severe phobia of the NG tube, and, according to a great blog I found earlier this week, I’m not the only one to pass out and fall headfirst off the toilet when Crohn’s is severely kicking my ass.
Turns out, there are TONS of people like me, who were diagnosed in the late 90’s, when the internet was still a bit of a baby. Social networks and blogs hadn’t really happened yet. So we lived in isolation. Tired, embarrassed, scared and uninformed. But times, they are a changin’. I’m just one of many who are tired of pretending, and ready to be real. Turns out, when you’re willing to share your story, people are willing to listen. And they’re interested. They don’t run away screaming and they don’t judge you for being defective. Best of all, they genuinely give a shit. Who knew?