Crohn’s Disease Crashed My Wedding
I’ve been living with the fun that is Crohn’s disease for more than half my life. Like most other trips I’ve planned, I tried my best to plan our wedding around my health. We opted for a weekend-long wedding. I planned it so a few hours out of Friday were dedicated to the ceremony and a few on Saturday were dedicated to the reception. Lastly, a couple of days of rest were built in after it was over. I wanted to give my fiancé (now husband) the best weekend without having to worry, more than he already does, about me. But like the saying goes, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Crohn’s disease totally crashed my wedding.
Our wedding took place around the mid-way mark of my Crohn’s treatment’s 8-week cycle. I methodically timed everything to work around this shot.
The picture of health
For all intents and purposes, the wedding went off without a hitch. According to the photographer’s images, I was the picture of health. What you couldn’t see was that for the first time in close to two years, I was having pains in what I know to be the area of my small intestine where active disease likes to lurk. I was running in and out of the bathroom, something that happens every so often for me thanks to IBS on top of IBD. Or at least I thought it was IBS, because you know, stress. Thankfully they were quick trips and people were not noticing my absence. But then it happened.
Like a high five to the face with a chair, something I haven’t had to deal with since maybe 2014. I was passing blood. Not a little. A lot. I filled multiple toilet bowls on the day of our ceremony and again the next day at our reception. I lost count of how many times this took place.
IBD is insidious
This was rather disappointing on a few levels. Yes, I expected this disease to try to ruin something I coveted. But at the same time, I remained hopeful it wouldn’t. IBD is insidious. An additional layer of disappointment was added because no matter how much I did it wasn't enough. I tried to prepare with self-care practices like rest, breathing exercises, less sugar, more protein, no raw vegetables, and more water. It didn’t matter. If Crohn’s was a person it was blowing a big ol’ raspberry at my face.
My self-triage method
When the bleeding and pain started, I did what I call my self-triage method. I use this method to determine if this is something that is passing and I don’t need to worry myself (mainly others) over, or if this is something I need medical attention for.
When I do my self-triage method, I pay attention to where the pain is, how bad it is on a scale of 1-10 like in the hospital. If it’s recurring, I will also note the times it happens. And if it’s not centralized I’ll make a diagram to keep track of the area and time. Honestly, this is more of how I calm the anxiety I feel when something like this, which is far out of my control, happens because of Crohn’s disease. It also takes an act of congress to make me go to the hospital. This helps me use logic over fear to make a decision on my health.
My pain was transient and didn’t have a pattern. I figured it was mild inflammation. The blood was bright red, which is actually good news as it most likely is caused by a hemorrhoid; irritation from multiple bathroom trips. I’ve had some fabulous GIs and IBD specialists over the past few years walk me through this disease and my insides thanks to scopes. They’ve taught me the location of my issues and have allowed me to hone my intuition on what needs medical attention versus what doesn’t.
No more stress
And like clockwork, the minute the wedding festivities — and as you may have guessed — stress died down, I was a new person.
No more pain. No more bleeding. Go figure.
I relaxed a little when I realized this was more stress-related than anything else.
The moral of the story is Crohn’s crashed my wedding but it didn’t crash me. Luckily, I was able to function on a high enough level to be present and participate in the ceremony and receptions. It would've been great not having the bathroom unpleasantness or the memory of experiencing it. But, I wouldn’t change a thing. It was the best weekend we’ve ever had together.
Have you had a special event threatened because of your inflammatory bowel disease? How did you cope?
Does exercising regularly help in the management of your symptoms?