Colitis Landfill: Taking Out the Trash on Failed Treatments
Last updated: September 2022
The most out-of-reach cabinet in my kitchen is above the refrigerator. At 5-feet-4-inches, I can't reach it without the help of a step stool. Why put frequently used kitchen items in it? The effort of dragging out a step stool every day doesn't appeal to my somewhat lazy side.
So, what goes into this remote cupboard?
Years of failed treatments
Since it's so high beyond my reach, this cabinet has become my sort of "Colitis Landfill." In it, a curious visitor can view the medicinal and supplemental paths I've traveled along during the past few years.
Like any regular landfill, this small cabinet has become the disposal site of any treatment my colitis dragon (my personal term of endearment) has rejected. After living over 30 years with this beast, I've learned the hard way about what doesn't tame its fiery temperament – through experience. When my colitis rejects a therapy, that bottle of medicine or supplement gets tossed into this dump.
Why don't I just throw it away? Honestly, I pondered this question the other day when something possessed me to dig out my buried step stool and open up that often-ignored cabinet. When I did, 2 bottles of Apriso tumbled out onto the refrigerator top. That action incited me to pull out all the bottles stacked up inside that small storage compartment. I mean, I had the step stool out. So, why not dig in all the way?
And what a medicinal pile I pulled out!
My many attempts at soothing my ulcerative colitis
In my Colitis Landfill, a sufferer can find not only the already mentioned Apriso but also multiple boxes of Canasa suppositories, 3 huge bottles of Balsalazide, bottles of fish oil supplements, aloe capsules, slippery elm capsules, Boswellia, and bottles of Fluoxetine. (Oh, wait. That treats something else. Well, I guess depression worsens colitis symptoms. So, let's keep that on the list.)
So many discarded bottles I've never opened!
And why are they discarded? Because my colitis dragon reared its ugly head, breathed its fire, and lashed out at these efforts to soothe it.
In my head, I can hear my mother scream, "Why are you telling people about your medicinal junkyard? Shhh... Don't talk about your mess!"
Well, I think this secret pile symbolizes an important lesson. And here's my point: The road of IBD is costly in more than just financial ways.
Crohn's and Colitis are a long and winding
Each time I tried a new medication or found an alternative therapy, my body chose to either accept or reject the regimen. And the rejections were never pleasant. It usually resulted in more rectal bleeding and diarrhea, excess mucus, feeling nauseated, and gut pain beyond all measure. All bottles I found – except for Canasa – thrown into this cabinet failed to relieve me of my colitis issues. More importantly, they often caused me more pain and worse symptoms.
So, if something didn't work, it got tossed out of sight. This cabinet concealed all efforts at alternative therapies and looking for the "magic pill" that would finally end the ravages of inflammation.
As I've since learned, everyone's body is different and reacts to treatments differently. What works for one may or may not work for another.
Holding out hope for the right treatment
After pulling out every bottle, I threw them all into a garbage bag. Every single bottle was well beyond its expiration date. Some dated back to 2015. They will now get properly disposed of.
Why didn't I toss them as soon as my body rejected them? I'm not really sure. Maybe it was my way of holding out hope for remission. For without hope, what does one have? Those medicines and supplements kept alive the energy that I would receive a reprieve from my colitis dragon one day.
And I did. That hope brought me out of pain and darkness.
IBD is expensive... and hard!
In the end, I can't imagine what the price tag totals are for these purchases just in the cleaned-out cabinet. This doesn't even account for all the other medications I tried throughout the course of my 30-plus years' journey. Nor does it account for the emotional costs charged to my body.
This IBD journey isn't for the weak.
Even during the most painful times, I always held on to hope. For I've always believed that within the seed of hope lies the motivation to succeed at conquering whatever ails us. Now that I've cleaned up my landfill, I hope all who read this see their medicinal landfills as a visual reminder to remain ever hopeful.
What do you do with your tried and failed treatments? Do you dispose of them quickly when switching meds? Or do you toss them into your cabinets – never to be looked upon again? Please comment and let me know. I'm curious to see if I’m the only medicinal "hoarder" out there.
Does living with IBD impact you financially?