I never would have thought that I would be choosing to spend most of my day talking about Crohn’s disease, especially now that I’ve been in remission for so long. For much of my life, I struggled to focus on anything else. Crohn’s had been the focal point of my life since I was seven years old. Every single day was constant pain and anxiety. When you have severe Crohn’s (or Ulcerative Colitis), it’s so hard to think about anything else. No matter what’s going on in your day, your mind keeps coming back to the never-ending pain and constant fear of having bloody diarrhea all over yourself.
So much of my life has been lost to this disease. My childhood was a blur of hospital beds and terror. Every day I was afraid of bleeding to death or wasting away because I couldn’t eat. I was so scared all the time. And so angry. So resentful of the people around me just effortlessly living their lives when I couldn’t do anything or go anywhere but the bathroom.
I never felt like I had anyone to talk to. My family would dump all their fears and anxieties on me but when I would try to express my own, they would tell me to stop making myself sicker. My friends didn’t really understand. Even the ones that would sleepover and spend most of the night alone in my room because I was crying on the toilet for hours didn’t really get it. I felt so alone for much of my life.
In large part, my college experience was a nightmare. For a long time I thought I would have to drop out and go back home. I was missing a lot of my classes because I was constantly running back and forth to the bathroom. Plus I was now totally on my own, hours away from anyone I knew. There wasn’t anyone to help me walk when I was very weak, so I often had to crawl around on the floor of my apartment. There wasn’t anyone around to point out that I hadn’t eaten in a few days so I had to learn to care for (and about) myself.
The road to remission was a bumpy one to say the least. I had already given up on prescription medications after a decade of horrible side effects and zero improvement. I stumbled around on my own and faced so many setbacks but gradually, I was able to get my life (and health) under control.
Until it actually started happening, I really didn’t think it was possible. I didn’t think I would ever be the kind of person that could sit through an entire class (or anything) without having to run to the bathroom. I didn’t think I would ever be the kind of person who could eat something and actually enjoy it instead of worrying that it was going to kill me. I especially didn’t think I would ever be the kind of person that could be happy. The kind of person that could wake up excited for another day full of possibilities. But that is exactly the kind of person I am now. And you can become that kind of person too!
I decided to become a life coach, specifically for those suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), because I know a better life is possible for each and every one of us. I’m living proof! You can still find joy in your life even when you have a chronic illness. I want others to know that they don’t have to go it alone.
Today, I’m so grateful for my disease and the constant struggles it has brought into my life. I’m stronger than Crohn’s disease and it took going through hell for me to realize that for myself. Now I use what I have learned through the many hardships and tough lessons I’ve experienced throughout my life to help others find a way out of the darkness.
If you’re struggling or just want to talk to someone who understands what you’re dealing with, reach out! Schedule a complimentary consultation and let’s talk about how an IBD Life Coach can help you create a better life.