Crohn's is like an irritating alarm clock from time to time. One minute you are in heaven, blissfully unaware of the terrors that will await you when it goes off. The next, it does and it's in turns immensely irritating and depressing. It's an annoyance and often comes at a time when you least expect, (or want) it.
Like an alarm, Crohn's is there most days, for me usually making itself known most prominently in the early hours of the morning or at mealtimes. It strikes with such force and audacity that it has become the most hated of all my inanimate objects. (The fridge and I get on better now since that awful period in 2011 when it left the Iceberg lettuce disturbingly flaccid after only being inside it for 24hrs).
The unpredictability of the condition is something that most sufferers find very difficult to adapt to. If they ever do at all.
It's the interference in one's day to day life that grates most for me. I hate the idea of making plans, looking forward to said plans, building the excitement of said plans, getting dressed and raring to go then requiring excessive toilet time, vomiting all over your brand new Primark number, being struck down with blood curdling pain, or all of the above.
I hate cancelling on friends and family, especially at the last minute. I know they understand, they truly do, but it can't be easy on them either. Plus, if I may be permitted to be teenage about it for a minute, its SO UNFAIR!! Why can't I just once enjoy myself without worrying about the consequences?! Other people do it! Some every weekend! Some 3 or 4 times a week!! (I'm not entirely sure what the 'thing' I'm talking about is anymore..)
Crohn's Disease has a few cheeky ways of reminding you who's boss. It has a hold over sufferers that it seems unhappy to let go of from time to time. Of course I'm well aware I have a life-long illness, but does that really mean I have to think about it 24/7 baby 365? Apparently the answer is a resounding 'yes'.
I have days when I am 'well' and even feel 'good' - but I will still have to ensure I am watching what I eat and looking after myself. I have a barometer of pain - a twinge is just a twinge, a sigh is just a sigh.. But when it's bad it's BAD. I then have a further barometer of, ok it's bad, but how long will this last? Can I make it through the next few hours without passing out?
This may sound melodramatic but it's a genuine routine for me. I'm not looking for sympathy, because I am 100% grateful for the days when all is well with my lady-bits. It still doesn't make the unpredictability factor any easier to deal with.
It's important to remember that when Crohn's acts up and tries to take you down with it, to maintain what you can of yourself. By that I mean; although you may be floored (often literally) by the physical aspects of the illness, don't allow it to infect your brain too. Don't let your emotions get the better of you and allow it to bring you down. I truly believe that just makes it harder to get out of.
Try to think of my alarm clock metaphor - yes, its an irritation, but as we know an inevitable one, so we might as well stop hitting the snooze button and just get on with it.