In sickness and in health
We got married young in the early ‘80s. I was 19, he was almost 23. We didn’t have much money so decided to go camping for our honeymoon. He was throwing up before we left town and after just a few days, we cut our trip short. He had many doctor visits, 3 hospital stays, two bowel resections...a total of 7 weeks in the hospital the first 4 months of marriage! Fortunately his last admission was to a teaching hospital that was part of a medical school. Finally we had a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease.
Looking back we realize he’d been sick for the past 7 years, starting in high school. He has partnered with a wonderful gastroenterologist who has been a great resource. Over the past 37 years hubby has had 6 abdominal surgeries and has had several other issues related to Crohn's and the side effects of all the meds he’s taken. Kidney stones, arthritis, blood clots, esophagitis, infections, obstructions, skin cancer, muscle spasms/cramps, dental problems and cartilage degeneration due to long term prednisone use. He’s practically the poster child for Crohn's!! He never complains about his illness and rarely misses work since he knows he needs to save his sick time for days he really needs time off.
We learned early in our marriage what was important and what was trivial. We were forced to discuss things that many families didn’t speak about. No subject was taboo at the dinner table and no one was afraid to talk about poop! I believe our children are better adults because they’ve watched how their dad embraces life with Crohns.
What is your comfort level disclosing your IBD to your employer?