Well hey there. Thanks for visiting. By now you've read my letter. You know my story. (If not, head here: Forward is a Pace - Crohn's & Colitis).
Instead, today I want to tell you some things you might not know about living with this disease.
I try to have a pretty positive outlook on my life with Crohn's. I figure I'm stuck with it regardless of my attitude, so I might as well look on the bright side. I've even spent some serious time reflecting on all the gifts that my Crohn's disease (Frank!) has given me.
I'm also a firm believer in keeping it real. So I'm going to be brutally honest. There are some really awful things about living with this disease.
Crohn's and colitis are unpredictable. One day I'm feeling pretty much okay, and the next day, I'm curled up in bed in the fetal position, calling in sick to work. I hate being taken by surprise by my own body -- I'm not sure I'll ever get used to that.
When you live with chronic illness, you often have to cancel plans at the last minute. I've cancelled on friends more times than I can count in the last seven years. I always feel terrible when I do this, despite my incredibly understanding loved ones. (Not to mention that sometimes I miss out on really cool things!)
Frank (my Crohn's) was nice enough to bring some bonus ailments along for the ride. Yes, I'm being sarcastic. Thanks to my Crohn's disease, I also have arthritis in my joints and back. And because of the Crohn's, I can't take any anti-inflammatory medication. Pretty much that means a lot of days and nights spent lying propped up on the couch or in my big comfy chair with a heating pad. And hey, I just ordered a re-chargeable heating pad for on-the-go! Exciting, right? (Actually, it kind of is. It can charge in the car, with a standard outlet, and in a USB port. That's pretty freaking cool.)
It can be embarrassing to talk about. Clearly, I've moved past this one for the most part, as I blog about my life with IBD. But it's a digestive illness. When I was first diagnosed and people asked me about the symptoms, I hated describing the blood, the frequent trips to the bathroom, all of it. Because it can be embarrassing, many choose to suffer in silence.
But the thing I hate most of all is that I find it really, really difficult to explain my life with Crohn's disease to others who do not have it. Many of the symptoms of CD sound a lot like things we all experience from time to time. Stomach pain. Cramping. Diarrhea. Fatigue. And while those are the symptoms, it isn't the same as when you ate something that disagreed with you and had to run to the bathroom a few times. I know that the symptoms themselves aren't super severe-sounding. Take my word, they are. It's just that I don't always get very graphic and explain that the sharp pains in my stomach feel like a tiny person lives in my colon and is scraping away at my insides with a pick ax or that when my disease is at its worst, I sometimes have to get out of the shower three or four times to use the bathroom.
So donate because you hate this disease right along with me. Donate because you're sick of me cancelling plans at the last minute. Donate for those who don't have the courage to talk about their disease and suffer in silence. Donate so that one day, my children won't have to face the disease. Donate in honor of yourself or a friend or loved one. Donate because you're sick of hearing about my poop.
Whatever your reason, I appreciate your support! I will be thinking of each and every one of you while I take on my second Team Challenge Event, the Nashville Women's Half Marathon on September 22!