Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer

When It’s Not About IBD

I realize how awkward that must sound coming from an IBD patient. I mean really, once you’re diagnosed, what could possibly not be about Inflammatory Bowel Disease? At times it seems like the condition controls my life, but contrary to what some may think, not everything I do or say pertains to my condition.

Yes, I have a digestive disease, but I also have likes and dislikes.

I have Ulcerative Colitis, but I am still my own person. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out for a bite to eat with a friend when they’ve made a remark about a selection I’ve made, or assume that because I ask for something made special, it’s because I’m flaring or cannot tolerate it. Obviously these people mean no harm and I really don’t let it bother me at all, but it’s just funny sometimes.

Anyone close to me knows I hate eating anything where cheese and meat are together. There are a few exceptions, of course, like pizza and tacos, but other than that, I honestly hate the taste. I don’t eat cheeseburgers or burritos; it doesn’t do anything health wise really. It’s simply personal preference.

I remember one time in particular. I was at a restaurant with other advocates (for various conditions) after attending a conference. When the waiter brought out my meal I was shocked by the amount of cheese incorporated into the dish. It almost looked as if cheese was the only ingredient! Inflammatory Bowel Disease is not the reason I choose to avoid a lot of cheese. I love cheese! – But I choose to eat it in moderation. I was the only IBD advocate at the table and everyone seemed to notice my face when I saw the dish. Everyone became worried and immediately tried to correct the situation. I felt bad. I tried to explain that it was okay. I could eat around it or even get a snack later.

I hate feeling like a burden to others, especially when it’s something related to personal preference rather than my condition.

I don’t want anyone going out of their way for me.

Of course there are times where it’s the other way around as well. There are times when I’ll be doing or eating something I love and I can see the judgment on the faces of my family and friends. As if they want to ask that dreaded question that every IBD patient hates the most: “Are you supposed to be (doing/eating) that?” – However, after years of listening to my nagging about how much of an adult I am and explaining how I can make my own decisions, they usually refrain from asking.

It’s hard having IBD because once you’ve been diagnosed, it’s almost like a label pinned to your head.

People are always trying to protect me, but sometimes I don’t need protecting. Sometimes I’m just being me. Yes I have Inflammatory Bowel Disease, but I still love drinking coffee. Yes, I’ve had surgery, but I still love being active. Yes, I have Ulcerative Colitis, but I’m still me.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.