Lifestyles shift when living with a chronic condition. Symptoms can be debilitating and are often unpredictable. People living with Crohn’s disease know all too well that there is no such thing as a “text book case”. This was my first real insight how biochemically unique we are from one other.
I exhibited symptoms throughout my childhood, desperately trying to convince everyone that I really didn’t feel well. I looked healthy on the outside and there was no medical evidence at that time to suggest otherwise, until I was positively diagnosed following emergency surgery. My family was at a loss having no knowledge of this disease, with no known cause. Treatment only addressed symptoms and there was virtually no other support. That was 33 years ago.
I was taken on a journey during subsequent years, developing a relationship with myself that is ever changing. Surgical procedures, drug therapy and support groups were explored as they became available. On the threshold of the 13th year following surgery, I was diagnosed with the perfunctory recurrence. I was in the midst of nursing school affording me acquired knowledge of anatomy and physiology plus recent research. I employed so-called alternative methods while understanding the importance of both diet and exercise. I applied food pH into “proper food combining” with instant results. With this foundation and access to quality pharmaceutical grade supplements and continuing professional education, I am able to mitigate symptoms and manage Crohn’s and the inflammatory response. I am also able to help others we treat in our chiropractic practice which in turn, enhances my wisdom.
6 things I have learned and will share openly are:
- Characteristics of Crohn’s disease and other autoimmune diseases are characteristically uncharacteristic. Just because you can’t see it does not make it any less valid.
- Crohn’s disease does not define who you are. You are a multi-faceted person with a life to live. This is an opportunity to listen to your body and learn your individual needs.
- Develop a relationship with yourself. Learning to cope with these inconsistencies requires us to get to know ourselves first, before integrating into society through the Crohn’s filter.
- Let others know your needs. We cannot expect others to be compassionate nor understanding of something of which they may have no knowledge.
- Welcome these changes and let it inspire you. This shift lends another dimension to our lives where we continue to learn and share with others.
- Remember to laugh. Humor is a healthy outlet and creative expression. I suspect “comic relief” was developed by someone with Crohn’s.
The following resources offer additional information and education for everyone who may be newly diagnosed, asymptomatic or affected by someone known to be struggling with Crohn’s disease:
“Crohn’s Mom’s” on Facebook