turning phone off to avoid ibd remission checkups

Why Am I Avoiding My GI?

It wasn't long ago that my GI was basically on my speed dial. Whenever I had a health issue, the first call I made was to my gastroenterologist, as I knew that there was a highly likely chance that whatever was ailing me was linked to my Crohn's.

I was always contacting my GI doctor

Fatigue, random fevers, joint pain, stomach pain, nausea – you name it, it was always Crohn's-related. And, when I found out I was pregnant for the first time, I didn't call my OBGYN, I immediately messaged my GI through the patient portal to share the good news and see if there was anything I should consider about my treatment.

My GI was my confidant and most commonly used lifeline. So, what happened that caused us to drift apart? Three words: I am well.

Enjoying IBD remission

Being healthy and feeling well make it difficult to follow up on routine appointments and lab work. I find it difficult to stop everything I am doing to see the doctor, especially when I feel like nothing is wrong.

However, I fully understand that having regular checkups is necessary to continue being healthy when living with a chronic illness.

It is always important to have blood work checked to be sure that essential vitamins like iron and vitamin B12 (that we as Crohn's patients are chronically low in) are within the normal range, and that no inflammation is detected. Seeing the GI regularly is also important for prescription renewal and making sure that our medications are at optimal levels in our system.

IBD is already time consuming

Then why do I continue to cancel these important appointments when I know all of the benefits of seeing the doctor? Most people avoid doctors out of fear that something might be discovered. But I feel like the opposite, if there is nothing that needs to be discovered, then it is just a waste of time.

I don't need someone to tell me my weight, blood pressure, and ask if I am having any rashes, aches, or stomach pains. If I were having any of those things, wouldn't I have made an urgent appointment sooner?

And, if it is simply to renew a prescription, didn't COVID teach us the benefits of having a tele-health appointment rather than going into an office and getting my immune-suppressed body exposed to illness?

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Routine checkups are still important in remission

But, alas, I have to listen to my gut (pun intended) and actually show up at my next appointment so that I can have the peace of mind that everything is going well and I continue to feel healthy.

I'll sign up for the blood work, do the stool test (sigh), and make sure that everything is continuing to go according to plan – just in case! I think the overriding feeling of guilt that hits me whenever I click the "cancel" button in the patient portal is what keeps me going to my appointments, even if it is less than twice a year.

Do you find yourself avoiding your GI? If so, what are your reasons, and how do you finally get yourself to commit to the appointment?

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