Searching for a New House with IBD in a Pandemic

This past year, my daughter grew into a toddler. She wanted to move around more, and do more, and see more, and play more. At the same time, the world locked down in light of COVID-19.

So, we transformed our townhouse, dedicating as much space as possible for our sweet girl's activities. We bought a climber, and a ball pit, and created a sensory station, and a home for a plethora of toys.

Needing more space with everyone at home

Several months into living all day every day inside the walls of our home, we realized that the space we had wasn’t sufficient for our family. My husband and I were both working from home, without designated office space, or doors to mute background noise.

My daughter was expanding her voice, her range, and her opinions, meaning we could hear her every second of every day, and focusing on anything else became somewhat difficult. We knew that we needed to move, and we wanted to do it before spring came. We had no idea what this would mean, still living during COVID-19.

Searching for a home during the pandemic

Searching for a new home during the pandemic was less intimidating than I expected, but as such, we mostly toured places online until we were sure we wanted to see them in person.

This reduced much of the IBD house hunting stress I’ve previously dealt with.

Being at a house showing, and having to make a mad dash to a stranger's bathroom hasn’t been my favorite experience. This season, we could instead virtually “walk-around” new spaces, while still being in the comfort (and safety) of our home.

If my stomach was feeling off, I didn’t need to worry about canceling an appointment with our realtor, or stopping at a fast-food restaurant on our way to a prospective house to “get it all out.”

Virtual showings were helpful with Crohn's symptoms

Instead of seeing 15 places in person as we had done before our last move, we only ended up seeing 4 this time. Honestly, it was a huge blessing for me, managing IBD and the added stresses of trying to find a new place to live.

We found a house we loved and put in an offer in early December. We were under contract immediately, but our closing date wasn’t until February 1st. This meant that while we could start planning for our transition, it just sort of loomed in front of us, waiting for logistics and inspections and financial conversations.

Increased symptoms with stress and worries

During this time, my Crohn’s disease had some of its own feelings.

Stress, anxiety, and worry about if everything would go okay when it came time to close pushed my normal bowel habits into overdrive. Between the normal stress of the holidays amplified by the pandemic isolation, the severe winter weather, and the early sunsets causing long dark hours, I found myself physically struggling to keep up.

The link between mental and physical health

There was no real way to get fresh air or exercise in the ways that I’d adapted to, and my mental health affected my GI health in a vicious circle. It wasn’t just increased trips to the restroom I was struggling with, but abdominal pain, loss of appetite, poor sleep, increased fatigue, and severe joint pain.

After our closing, we stepped into a month of transition. Getting the new house ready for move-in, packing the old house, and the transition between the two. In the next part of this article, I’m going to talk about managing my IBD while planning for and making the move.

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