Lately I've struggled with where my disease 'fits in' with my life. Of course, 'fits in' is not the correct phrase where Crohn's is concerned. It makes itself known at all times - often entirely unexpectedly. This can be all at once frustrating, upsetting and aggravating.
Now it's been almost a year and a half since my surgery and I'm becoming more able to adapt to making Crohn's a part of my life, I find it myself struggling at times not to become overwhelmed by it all.
Those closest to me, my parents, close friends and partner, make it easy to talk about. Although at times I feel I still perhaps hold back as I don't want to cause any undue worry. I think now that the physical pain is, on the whole, under control, it's the emotional aspects I'm finding it harder to get a grip on.
I find myself stuck between not wanting Crohn's to become 'all I am' and wanting people to be aware of what I'm going through. Not in a selfish, 'woe is me' type of way, but so that I don't have to endlessly explain what the disease is and how it affects me. At times I let it become yet another thing to worry about when other aspects of my life are hard to deal with. Which is wrong, it's so much worse for me to hold in my emotions as it tends to fuel the symptoms. It's important not to be a martyr.
I over think things as it is, so when I feel a twinge or something not quite right I am instantly transported back to that operating table waiting for surgery. Rather than just calmly taking painkillers and getting rest it's like I'm my own private CCTV, constantly on the lookout for bowel related dodgy dealings. I stress about what the pain might mean and this makes it worse. It's a vicious circle I can't seem to get out of.
Crohn's, like a small attention-demanding child, has to be factored into all social aspects of my life too.
This weekend I'm going away for the hen-do of a wonderful friend. This will be lots of fun and a great, overdue chance to let my hair down.
However, along with the excitement of packing and outfit planning, I'm already thinking about what pleasures Crohn's will bring to the table. I'm worrying about how much (or little as the case will probably be) I can safely drink without destroying myself for rest of the day. I'm worrying about my bad habit of being starving and then eating like a ravenous cave (wo)man and instantly regretting it as I start to swell up like a helium ballon. I'm worrying about the costume (it's a Burlesque theme) as I'll be wearing a corset - typically not the best choice for a swollen tum and dodgy guts. Then I worry about all the above as the last thing I want is for my illness to play any part in the day/night - I want my friend to remember forever. And not because her pal had to be stretchered off after OD'ing on garlic bread. See what I mean about that vicious circle?
Because I've been in the midst of a flare-up lately, my skin and hair have been in terrible condition. This may sound vain but a woman likes to look her best and sometimes make-up and hairspray just don't do the trick when you see The wicked witch of Eastwick staring back from the mirror.
But putting all these minor worries aside I'm going to do my best to do everything in moderation and ENJOY MYSELF. Its not fair I should put Crohn's first - its never put my feelings first! Selfish bastard. So this weekend Crohn's can either shape up or ship out. And as I'll be wearing a corset, it'll maybe want to ship out - this bra ain't big enough for the both of us.