How Humor Helped Me Cope (Part One)

How Humor Helped Me Cope (Part One)

“Laughter is the best medicine…”

I searched for the origin of this extremely clichéd quote, but no one really seems to know exactly where it originates. Despite the fact that the quote is repeated over and over again, laughter should never be discounted. I remember quite well the devastation that came with my diagnosis of ulcerative colitis (UC). The pain and horror of the tests I had to go through in order to get that diagnosis.

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I felt like I’d lost my dignity on more than one occasion.

Not to mention my sanity.

My mother was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease before I was born. She had to have eight inches of her colon removed two weeks before her wedding day. Growing up, I remember her scarred belly and asking where they came from. She told me briefly, but we never really discussed her disease. We didn’t talk about bowel habits in my family. Why should we? Most of us grow up with the whole “poo is taboo” mindset. It’s not polite to talk about, right?

I don’t resent that fact. I’m just pointing it out.

When I began dating my now husband, he opened me up to a whole new world of “humor.” There are some girls who enjoy “potty humor.” But I was never one of them. My husband on the other hand? I’ve heard the way his friends joke. It was always about bowels, poop and vomit… among other things. How on earth could they think those things are funny? Why are they funny?

I didn’t get it. It was gross and it wasn’t funny.

So, I go back to my diagnosis. I’d been battling UC on and off (mostly on) for the first three years of my marriage. Each time I tried a new medication I got more and more discouraged and was forced deeper and deeper into a sort of depression. Pretty soon it wasn’t just potty humor that wasn’t funny. Nothing was funny anymore. I didn’t enjoy anything in life. There were days I actually wished for death.

I was never suicidal. I just wished I would die.

I remember one day lying in bed afraid to move. Moving seemed to aggravate my bowels and send me running to the bathroom. It wasn’t just the diarrhea, but it was the extreme pain that came with it. Nothing was helping. I felt like there was no more hope. My husband came into our room. Even he, the king of laughter, stopped laughing. I was dragging him down with me.

Amber, you have to do something… you can’t just lose hope like this. It’s tearing you up and it’s wedging a block between us.

I didn’t want to hear his words. How could he possibly understand with his beautiful functioning bowels?! But somehow, I couldn’t shake what he said. I didn’t know how I was going to get out of this rut, but something had to be done… he was right. But I didn’t want to admit it.

Maybe… maybe I could find a way to express it?

The next day we were carpooling to work. He was driving and I had my work notebook in my hands. I began brainstorming. I could blog! Yes. Maybe I could blog as a way to get things off my chest. I mentioned it to my husband. He supported me, but not much was said after that.

When I got home that evening, I took out my sketchbook and began to sketch…

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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