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Who Would I Be without Crohn’s Disease?

Sometimes I wonder who I would be if I were never diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Officially, I was given that diagnosis when I was 13 years old, but I had been dealing with symptoms for at least a few years before that. I spent a lot of the next 13 years dealing with symptoms such as stomach pain, joint inflammation, and feeling like my life revolved around how close I was to the nearest bathroom. I had surgery to have my colon removed when I was 26, and I am one of the lucky ones who has seen a huge decrease in active symptoms since getting a permanent ostomy.

When I look back now, I can clearly see how big of a role having IBD has played in my life

It played a role in the past and still affects me on a daily basis. It impacted my adolescent years, it kept me confined to my room during much of my time at college, it has obviously played a role in my relationship with my husband. Today and every day for the rest of my life, I will have to deal with emptying an ostomy bag and all of the care that goes into living with an ostomy.

So it makes me wonder if I would have become the same person I am today if I had never gone through any of that.

As someone who has been near death during their life, or at least secretly wondered if death might be easier, I now have a much lower tolerance for petty arguments that do not mean anything in the grand scheme of things. Perhaps if I never had been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease I would have spent a lot more of my time wrapped up in this sort of thing. I feel I have a greater appreciation now for the blessing of each day, especially a day where I feel healthy and happy.

I am currently pregnant with my second child. Complications from my ostomy required that I deliver my first child a month early, and having been through that has made me so grateful for each day that I have not dealt with complications this time. Even as I near the end of this pregnancy and am dealing with the normal frustrations of being tired and uncomfortable, I have a hard time wishing away any day that I am pregnant and healthy and not in pain, because I know how easily that can be taken away.

I feel I have a different perspective of the world since I live with IBD.

And while of course I am not glad to have IBD and I wish I could remove it completely from the face of the planet, it is hard to imagine what direction my life would have gone without it. I wish I had the answers to these questions. But perhaps by giving a purpose to what I have been through is just how I cope with all of the disappointments and difficulties I have experienced because of IBD. And since I do not have the option of going back and changing things, I will at the very least be thankful for the things I have learned through this experience.

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.

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