Man on a hill holding a boulder

Does It Get Easier?

A lot of people believe that the more someone goes through, the easier it is because they must be used to it by now. I mean, after being in the hospital so much, undergoing countless tests, procedures, surgeries, body alterations, medication trial and errors, doctor’s appointments, missing out on social gatherings, not being able to have the career you want (or one at all)…. Wouldn’t it get easier for us to deal with?

That depends on the person but for me, the answer is two fold.

Yes, I have accepted the way things are for the most part and therefore, can tolerate a lot more than the average person when it comes to going through medical things. However…

NO, it has not gotten easier or better.

I am not saying that everything someone with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) goes through creates the same amount of mental and/or physical anguish as it did the first time but there is a huge compound effect. All of our experiences are cumulative in a lot of ways. They all can cause various triggers as well that can greatly impact our mental health.

We also get smarter the more we go through.

That may sound like a positive thing but I honestly miss when I was a little more naive. I went into my first surgery smiling and laughing and thinking all would be good right after. I ended up having tons of complications I never heard about and it threw me for a loop. However, I did not have the same sense of concern prior to that surgery as I did the next one because I did not know any better in the beginning.

The same goes for me with medications. I used to believe that if a doctor prescribed something, I should ask the necessary questions but unless I heard something outrageous, I trusted it was the right thing to do. I quickly learned just how many questions you have to ask. I learned how much I needed to do research and educate myself before even speaking to doctors sometimes. My parents and I learned to truly question EVERYTHING while I was inpatient because there were so many mistakes that had been made.

Basically, the more I went through, the less trust I had in doctors, the less I would follow their advice, and the more I realized the importance of being my own advocate. I also became increasingly frightened that something would go wrong – because so often, it had.

I honestly wish I could go back in a lot of ways.

While it is great to be an educated and informed patient, sometimes we have just experienced way too much! Too many side effects from medications that were supposed to help us, complications from surgeries where a “cure” was promised, and too many errors from medical personnel to be able to let go and allow ourselves to be cared for – especially when we are in our most vulnerable state.

I wanted to write this today in case you are someone who constantly hears from your loved ones how strong you are, how much you’ve already been through, and how this and that is going to be no big deal.

The things I spoke about above relate more to the emotional component of living with Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis (IBD). We must not forget that the more we go through, the longer it takes our bodies to bounce back and recover. The physical toll of the first surgery is hardly the same as the fifth.

I think you get the point.

It IS a big deal!

You are not alone if your loved ones expect that just because you have been through the mill with your health, that you should be use to it by now and therefore, it is no big deal. It IS a big deal! Everything we go through is a big deal and I don’t say that to be a drama queen. This sh*t is real. Inflammatory bowel disease has the ability to be very severe and no matter what anyone says, IT IS A BIG DEAL.

I get it. So many others do too. I hope you can at least find comfort in that.

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.

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