Friday, May 23, 2014

What Have We Learned? Crohn's Edition

I am so happy for the arrival of this three day weekend! I really need the rest and relaxation after a long week back at work. I'm hoping that I will have enough energy to make it through the concert tonight. What concert is that? Oh, no big deal, just going to see my bff Ingrid Michaelson for the 4th time.

If you haven't already downloaded her new album, Lights Out, then you better go do it now or I'm kicking you off this blog.

For today's post, I decided it was fitting to do a Crohn's Disease edition of "What Have We Learned?" If you're tired of hearing me talk about CD, then you should probably leave, because this is my life right now. It has been twelve years since I was first diagnosed, and I've learned quite a wealth of information in that time, which I will now share with you lovely people.

I have learned:
- Know your exit strategy
And by "exit strategy" I obviously mean "bathroom strategy." This is basically the cardinal rule of CD that you will learn first and foremost. I am quite familiar with the locations of every bathroom up and down the 81 corridor in Virginia, and which ones are the nicest facilities.

That would be a refuse well at a excavation site in Paris. I always know where to find my bathrooms!
- Always be ready with your good vein
This is especially important if you're like me and your veins can be finicky. Have ol' trustworthy ready to get when the lab technician arrives--it will save you a lot of needless pokes. Take control of your veins, people! (I searched high and low for a picture of a particularly nasty bruise I got one time when the technician went with the wrong vain--guess I wised up and didn't post that to Facebook.)

- Salads are not your friend
For someone with Crohn's, eating a salad might as well be a form of self-wounding. Your intestines are not going to be on board with digesting allll that, and they will make you pay.

- There is no miracle diet
As much as I appreciate earnest, well meaning advice from randoms (I don't), it really gets tiresome hearing that your neighbor's cousin's stepdaughter gave up red meat and carbs and it totally cured her. You're not my doctor and you're certainly not my body, so don't try to tell me what I can and cannot eat.

Ok, maybe I shouldn't eat so much fried food, but sometimes it's worth the pain.
- Intestines are more fun when they have a name
My intestines are quite vocal, and they always take every opportunity they can to embarrass me by grumbling loudly during the quietest moments around strangers and co-workers. So, I've learned it's best to give them a name (Fran), so it has more meaning when you scold them for their nonsense.

- Intestine are kind of overrated--you don't even need all of them!
Okay, so maybe it would be nice to be able to keep all of your intestines. Even though having surgery actually puts you at risk to have more surgeries with Crohn's, I don't regret my operation from seven years ago. Even with my recent flare up and hospitalization, my quality of life is one million times better now than it was before I had surgery.

- No excuses, play like a champion
At first, I would try to come up with the lamest excuses any time I had to go to the bathroom. Like, "oh, I drank a lot of water," or "ohhh there was a long line." Eventually, I realized that nobody cared and if they did, I would just shrug my shoulders merrily and say "Crohn's Disease!"

- Surround yourself with only the best
I had some friends during college that became visibly uncomfortable when I talked about my struggles with Crohn's. I don't know why it bothered them so much--maybe it made them reflect too much on their own health. Whatever the reason, they weren't really good friends to have. Sometimes you have to ask yourself "is this a good enough friend that will drive me to the ER while I puke green vomit into an old navy shopping bag?" If you can answer yes to that question, then you're solid!

Good friends also send fun balloons, always a plus!
- Enjoy the healthy moments
This is the most cliche, but the most true. Especially after I had surgery, I realized how much more I got out of life when I was healthy than when I was sick. I literally never know when I may have a flare up--so I try to make the most of my time when I'm healthy.

This was from a vacation my family took to Cape Cod shortly after my surgery--it was one of the best trips ever.
Well dear readers, I hope I've enlightened you somewhat on the highs and lows of Crohn's Disease! Does anyone else have a chronic disease that is THE WORST? If so, what are your coping strategies? I obviously try to make light of everything until the moment comes when I break down crying in the shower because I'm all roided up. But that's just me.

Have the happiest of three day weekends, friends! Follow me on Twitter and Insta if you want to hear about my weekend festivities!

All Love,

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