Thankful For My Diagnosis
Receiving the news that you have Crohn’s is one of the most devastating, confusing and terrifying experiences a person could possibly go through. Whether you immediately realize it or not, it’s life-changing.
In the beginning, it’s impossible to imagine just how drastically your life will change. Before you even have a chance to fully grasp what this diagnosis means, you’re told that what you have is a chronic autoimmune disease, something you will live with forever and that you will need to undergo testing, possibly even surgery, to determine a treatment plan. Fear and panic sets in.
Besides that, all you really know about this disease so far is that the symptoms are awful, embarrassing, and very, very painful.
The initial diagnosis of Crohn's sets in motion a domino effect
Quickly, you learn this new world of never-ending doctor appointments, phone calls to nurses, medications, tests, and procedures is overwhelming and all-consuming. As it turns out, having Crohn’s is a full-time job. But this isn’t really all that surprising.
After all, you’ve suffered from symptoms for months, maybe even years, before a diagnosis. You are more than aware of how demanding and persistent the symptoms are.
The only difference now is that you finally have a name to call the demon that’s been tormenting you. And, for some odd reason, that is kind of reassuring. You now have a starting point and can form a plan of attack to fight this beast.
While most people assume that getting diagnosed brings nothing but fear and sadness, it’s actually much more complicated than that. In reality, it’s an emotionally conflicting experience.
A formal diagnosis brings an explanation and a treatment plan
On one hand, it confirms that something is wrong with you, which really sucks. But, on the other, it FINALLY provides an explanation for what you’ve been going through.
Of course, you knew all along that something was wrong, but it’s still reassuring to have this confirmation that it’s not just all in your head or any other excuse you’ve heard along the way. More than that, a diagnosis gives you the chance to fight back.
For so long, I was sick, and I couldn’t explain why
Try as I might, I couldn’t find a single logical reason to explain why I constantly felt so terrible. I was young, I got enough sleep, I ate a healthy diet, I was active and athletic, etc.
Yet, despite my best efforts, I was always in pain and always running to the bathroom. But, because I had no idea it could possibly be something serious, I made excuse after excuse (I’m sure I just ate something that didn’t agree with me... for the 25th day in a row) to explain away my symptoms.
Eventually, I ran out of excuses, which is when I finally made an appointment to see a doctor.
I needed answers to explain what was going on
As odd as it seems, after being diagnosed with Crohn’s, I felt a sense of relief. A diagnosis provided some of the answers I had been searching for and made me feel like I wasn’t just losing my mind. Instead of going through every day wondering what the heck was wrong with me, I finally understood the reason behind the pain and embarrassing symptoms.
It also opened the door to a community I didn’t know I so desperately needed, full of people, like me, who knew what it’s like to live with this terrible disease. For so long I had felt lost, but a diagnosis gave me a direction.
It gave me a place to start being proactive in my healthcare, instead of just ignoring my symptoms or assuming this is just what normal looks like for me. Now that I knew what I was dealing with, I could educate myself on every aspect of the disease and use that to attack the disease from every angle. As devastating as this disease is, I’m thankful I was finally diagnosed.