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3 Super Powers IBD Has Given Me.

3 Super Powers IBD Has Given Me

When I was first diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, I had no idea what living with a chronic illness would entail. Like a lightning bolt, my diagnosis electrified my life and burnt away my sense of certainty. For me, the earliest stages of illness were tremendously frustrating because, in an instant, I was different. I was split into a million different shards of my former self. There was the “patient me” who was forced to sit uncomfortably in cramped doctors offices and gulp down handfuls of pills. There was the “studious me” who still had to fidget through hour-long lectures in packed auditoriums while praying that I wouldn’t have to rush out to the bathroom.

Of course, there was also the “public me” who I presented to my friends, family members, and the random strangers that I bumped into throughout my daily life. My illness was like a superhero’s alter-ego, except that it didn’t come with a cape and shield. Nor did it come with a prophecy, roadmap, or grisly wise old mentor. Worst of all, no symbolic scar or aesthetically pleasing tattoo was ever magically engraved onto my forehead. Instead, I was left to figure it all out for myself. Still, I quickly realized that Ulcerative Colitis had imbued me with a very particular set of superpowers that made me no average citizen.

My “Toilet-Sense” Tingles

I call my supernatural ability to find a bathroom in any supermarket, convenience store, or divey diner my “toilet-sense.” Sure, laser vision is cool, but I’d argue that the ability to scan through hundreds of square feet of retail space and lock onto the bathrooms like a heat-seeking missile is a much more useful power. The first time this power kicked in for me, I was in a grocery store with my mother.

I remember the sickly cold feeling of panic oozing through my body as pain reverberated through my abdomen. I feared that I wouldn’t make to a bathroom in time and felt my cheeks flush hotly with preemptive embarrassment. Then, my toilet sense took control of my body ejecting my soul into an out-of-body experience. Like an experienced airline pilot, I navigated seamlessly through the twisting and towering rows of cereals to the bathroom. I was on autopilot the entire time, and I still have no idea how I moved at such a breakneck speed. All I can say is that my toilet-sense works in mysterious ways.

Guts and Glory

When you’re forced to live life in between bathroom stalls, you learn to be prepared for anything. Ulcerative Colitis has heightened my adaptability to the point where I truly believe I am 50% human and 50% chameleon. I am capable of blending into crowds when I need a moment alone, and standing out from them when I need help. Before my diagnosis, I might have been embarrassed to talk about my deathly farts. Believe me, the noxious odor that comes from them is a power in itself, capable of knocking out even the most dastardly villains.

Now, though, I’ll proudly stand in a full-body poop outfit singing my own praises to the world. No villain, demon, or arch-rival can escape my grasp when I capture them. My powers of immense adaptability come from the fact that to live with IBD is to live despite fear. To live with IBD is to accept yourself despite your flaws and your weakness. To me, living in spite of fear or pain is real bravery and that is the ultimate superpower.

Potty Positivity

Limitless positivity is the final superpower that I have gained from my diagnosis. Let me be clear, at first, I definitely didn’t believe life with a chronic illness was all peaches and candy. I’ll be blunt. It sucked worse than being forced to sit on a cactus in the blazing heat of the Sahara Desert. I’ll be even more real with you all, it can still suck pretty bad. Now though, I realize that my IBD isn’t a limitation. It’s a motivation for me. I live my days happily despite an often ugly and messy disease. I strive to accomplish great things despite my disease. And, I work to make the world a better place because of my disease. IBD has given me a reason to be a superhero because I know that I am more than my disease and I want to prove it to the world.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • darci6646
    4 months ago

    I loved what you had to say about being fearless and performing even when having a flare up because for me ( as an actress) when I was dancing and singing on stage performing the character of Sister Amnesia in Nunsense with a cartwheel as a part of my choreography. I have a very high output jujenostomy that was leaking at the time and I had pools of liquid stool pouring down my black tights ( thank the Lord they were black and that a habit gown that nuns wear are long and black! ) The show must go on and I was able to continue performing when everything inside me was screaming and wanting to run….then I heard the undeniable voice of the Holy Spirit day. “My daughter I am with you and even in this I am glorified- especially in this I am glorified. I want you to testify to what I have done today and you were still able to glorify me even in this. You are my beloved daughter and I have never left you alone ever, to deal with anything. Most people would have ran away from this and never came back again and then Satan would have defeated you…instead I defeated him with your actions

  • Grady Stewart moderator author
    3 months ago

    Hi @darci6646,

    Thanks for reading my post! I’m thrilled that you connected with it. I agree that it is important to be brave while living with this disease, though it can be difficult. I am so glad that you have overcome your challenges. I love that you have been able to perform and create art despite pain and difficulties. Good luck with all of your future endeavors!

    – Grady (team member)

  • missusa69
    4 months ago

    I love your post!! For me, following my surgery after perforating, having peritonitis, and barely surviving, I wanted to die. The pain from the grave surgery was wretched. Didn’t sleep for 3 months. A friend, a Presbyterian. /Buddhist minister made a request: “I want you to do something for me: I want you, 3X a day, thank your body for the fight it put up for you. You were not expected to live and you managed, somehow, miraculously to survive.” I said to her, “If I say those words, If be a liar.” Without missing a beat she replied, “I want you to lie 3X a day, thanking your amazing body.” I love her so I said I’d do this for her for 2-3 weeks. After 2 weeks, I completely believed the mantra and 6 years later, with miserable compromises, I remain grateful, fully grateful for my body’s onslaught against this disease. Life is certainly different, but I love life. I love the patient people around me. I achieve great athletic heights, more than I ever imagined. I’m in love with life, thanks to my disease!

  • Grady Stewart moderator author
    3 months ago

    Hi @missusa69,

    Thanks so much for your praise. I’m sorry to hear about the pain and struggles you faced, but so glad to learn how you have overcome the difficulties in your personal journey. It’s great to hear that you have adjusted to your circumstances and have found a new love of life as a result. Wishing you the best for the future!

    – Grady (team member)

  • DianeW
    4 months ago

    Incredible writing, Grady! Thank you so much for sharing your story. You are an inspiration to all of us suffering from IBD. I share your toilet sense!

  • Grady Stewart moderator author
    4 months ago

    Hi @dianew!

    Thank you so much! I’m so flattered by your compliments. I’m learning and getting stronger every day. I hope you are doing well! I’m glad that I’m not the only one with my toilet-sense superpower. It’s an essential part of managing IBD!

    Best wishes!

    – Grady (team member)

  • Amandakok
    5 months ago

    Hi there I am very emotional tonight I came out of hospital yesterday after treatment for UC I felt so good the whole time until late this afternoon I did not make it for the bathroom and all was a mess again had to wash clothes and bath I burst out in tears The doctor want to prescribe Himura or Revellex I am waiting to see if the medical aid will put it on chronic medication I am realy trying to be okay but sometimes you just feel like a baby

  • Grady Stewart moderator author
    5 months ago

    Hi @amandakok!

    I’m sorry to hear about your recent struggles. UC is often very isolating and difficult to manage. Embarrassment is an emotion I have suffered from quite a bit over the course of my journey with UC. I know it can feel devastating and impossible to escape. Like @pam-kingsland said, you are not alone and an incredibly strong person! Difficult times are natural and feeling overwhelmed is not a weakness. I wish you the best and I support you. I hope you have better days in the future and are able to find relief. Thinking of you!

    Warmly,

    Grady (team member)

  • Pam.Kingsland moderator
    5 months ago

    I’m so sorry to hear this, @amandakok. I know there are many people here who truly understand what you’re going through. You are not alone! You are so much stronger than you think! But it isn’t always easy, and it is okay to not be okay sometimes. We’re here for you and thinking of you. Sending strength and hugs <3 - Pam (team member)

  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    7 months ago

    Beautifully written!

    I can so relate to your super powers. I have to say, it’s so true, when you have IBD you literally have the best “Toilet-Sense” on the planet! I can spot where the bathrooms are in any public setting!

    Wishing you the best! Keep writing, warrior. Such a good read.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

  • Grady Stewart moderator author
    5 months ago

    Thank you!

    I really appreciate your warm praise! I’m glad you can relate! We’re stronger when we come together as a community and support one another. Yes, our “toilet-senses” can be invaluable! It’s truly amazing.

    Wishing you the best as well! Thanks again for your kind comments. 🙂

    Warmly,

    Grady (team member)

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