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I Just Thought Everyone Was Like This…

What did I know? Asking for a bathroom pass in 6th grade was humiliating (although I doubt I knew that word then). So sneaking out of the classroom became my M.O.

Likewise through high school–at least there were passing periods (yes, I know the irony of a “passing” period) although restrooms were frequently locked.

Again, I just thought everyone had the same issues.

At university, I could identify the least-used bathrooms on campus (the Music Building, if you want to know. What was it about musicians–did they never need to go?).

Worse still was the army–shared planks with four poop holes. And the drill sergeants didn’t really care about your digestive schedule.

And when we were close to a diagnosis, I was nowhere near a facility that kept accessible records–a hospital in Paris, a first-aid station on a mountaintop in Switzerland.

Finally got the word in grad school–Crohn’s disease.

Then came about 15 years of treatments, hospitalizations, NG tubes, weight loss (5’11”, 127 pounds).

1985–two surgeries and–what do you know–finally got a handle on this. And here we are–over 30 years later and I’ve become an Advanced Open Water Scuba Diver, a professional actor, a business owner, a university instructor in the U.S. and China, an orchestra manager, etc., etc.

So–to many of you who’ve been diagnosed in your teens or 20’s–there’s a life out there still to be lived. It’ll be tough, but keep your sense of humor (and note all the memorable bathrooms you’ve visited!). I promise–it’ll all turn out OK–eat right, exercise, get rest, and give your friends and family credit for understanding you. And, most of all, good luck.

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.


  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    9 months ago

    What an amazing story! So glad you are doing so well despite your diagnosis, and continuing to thrive! Thanks for sharing your positivity and giving those who are struggling hope.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

  • ljmthompson
    3 years ago

    I’m a music teacher and I assure you — the bathrooms in the music building DID get used!! 😉 I could always identify the bathrooms in the music building (home away from home!) that were *least* used with the least amount of traffic.

  • SusanHU
    3 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your story @bobpiano! Everyone is unique in their struggles with IBD but it can be so helpful to hear about others’ journeys and what has worked for them.

    Please keep us posted and keep sharing your stories!

    ( Team Member)

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