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A Letter to Myself

Dear Self,

For twenty years of your life, you had an “iron stomach.” No foods bothered, you, and you were the “good eater” of the family.  Unfortunately, that has changed. All of these tests that the doctors have been running on you have come back. It shows that you have Crohn’s Disease. What is it you ask? It’s an inflammatory bowel disease that affects your intestines. You are not going to be able to eat all the foods that you love anymore.

There are different severity levels of IBD

Some things you should know about this disease. It comes in different severities. Some cases of Crohn’s can be managed just by managing your diet. There are other cases that require medicine to be taken by mouth, or injections that are given into your muscles. Finally, there are extreme cases that require a bowel recession or total removal of the colon. Some of these surgeries require you to have an ostomy bag of some sort or some other change in your bowel use.

Many different parts of the body are affected by IBD

Other parts of your body can be affected too. Since this is an “auto-immune” disease, you are more prone to get infections. So you have to keep a better eye out and listen to your body. This might sound nuts, but even if you have a slight cold, you want to notify your doctor as soon as possible.

I would be careful of what you stress yourself out with. Stress has a direct correlation with a “flare.” A flare is when our bowel frequency goes up. A flare also means there is a lot of gas, bloating, and maybe even blood when you go to the bathroom.

Explaining IBD to friends and family

At first, your friends and family will not understand how difficult it is living with this disease. You are going to have to sit down with them and explain how it affects every aspect of your life. It starts with always having to be near a bathroom. Then you have to try to explain to them those certain foods such as roughage, seeds, popcorn, veggies, red meat, and dairy will affect your gut. If you plan on teaching, Paul, which I know you went to school for, I would recommend getting an accommodation plan which allows you to leave the classroom any time you need to so you can use the bathroom.

Plan ahead for travel and traffic

Make sure that you find alternative routes when are traveling. You are going to want to think ahead so that you don’t get stuck in traffic when you need a bathroom. Even if it takes you extra time to get to your destination, it will be much in your favor if you were near stores or other business’ that had a bathroom.

Overall, you can live a normal life with Crohn’s

Every day might not be perfect, but it will all iron out. Just be yourself, and don’t let the disease control you. You are in control. You control your mind.  Remember that you need to keep a positive mind so you can heal.  There is a lot of support out there. It’s your job to take over.. one day at a time!

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

  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    4 months ago

    Love your end point: “you are in control. You control your mind.” It’s so true. We are in charge, not Crohn’s. It’s important to remember that.

    Thank you for sharing your story!

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

  • Julie Marie Palumbo moderator
    4 months ago

    This is wonderful, Paul. You are so right about being prepared, telling family, and having a positive mind as it makes this journey so much easier and more manageable. I wish you continued wellness!
    –Julie (Team Member)

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