Today marks the beginning of December, the first chocolate I can eat from my Hello Kitty advent calendar, premier of the new pants I bought at the weekend, and Crohns and Colitis Awareness Week.
I fisrt became 'aware' of Crohn's and Colitis when I was diagnosed with one of them.
I was advised I had Crohn's Disease shortly after my 26th birthday after a horrendous couple of years of pain, sickness and abject misery. When Crohn's was mentioned I was confused yet almost overwhelmingly relived. I was overjoyed at the idea that now the doctors knew what was wrong with me they could fix it, right?! WRONG. That was the next diseased bombshell; its incurable.
Instantly on hearing that word I almost automatically assumed I was destined to spend my life in agony, rocking back and forth in the foetal position praying for the sweet relief of death to take me. But at least I wasn't being a drama queen about it...
I was depressed, terrified and painting on a smile on a daily basis for my loved ones, trying to play a super-trooper and not letting it phase me. Of COURSE it was phasing me; all my family and friends thought I was dying! I thought I was dying! But I didn’t die. I lived tell this take and bore all of you with my horrendous patter! Don’t thank me, thanks my surgeon!
Crohn's and Colitis are incredibly difficult conditions to live with. They are Inflammatory bowel diseases, they are not IBS, they are not an eating disorder and they don't just get better if you eat the right things/get some rest/have an operation etc. etc. to infinity. Believe me we have tried all of the above and a million more. We have 'invisible illnesses' which mean it's a constant battle for us to persuade other people to even accept that we HAVE an illness in the first place, let alone understand what it all entails.
Crohns Disease has changed my life in immeasurable ways. It has made it incredibly difficult, painful and given me a plethora of new worries, but it's also made me feel strong, more confident and forthright and ten times more passionate about those I love. It is definitely true that when things are at their worst you find out who truly cares for you, and I've tried to cling onto those people with a vigour I certainly didn't possess PC (Pre Crohns). I am thankful for having an incurable illness because it's given me an insight into my own talents, my own failings and allowed me to find strength and bravery I'd never have dreamed I could muster.
I wager so many of you could, and should say the same.