It’s been a week since the big GREAT news! As I start the day this morning I can still hardly believe this new reality, feeling as if I’ve dropped a 500 pound burden off of my back. I have so much to say I can hardly keep it structured in paragraphs, much less a single blog post!
Over seven years after being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, the greatest thing that could ever come from the recent tests I’ve undergone this past week is that it is officially in remission! In fact, no Crohn’s was detected whatsoever, it has diminished, vanished, essentially POOFED!
I do have two wee little stomach ulcers, though…but what are mere ulcers? Now that I’ve slayed the dragon, no problem! Piece of cake!
Rewind to about three weeks ago. I was sitting in my family physician’s office reviewing the latest blood work results. I’d just undergone my annual physical, which includes a (more extensive than usual) blood comprehensive, the regular “physical” routine, and some scripts for gastro-related tests. Something worth mentioning here are the other little pieces to the triumph: a vast improvement of my iron, hemoglobin, B-12, and vitamin D levels. They were at [...] continue the story
Because I’m on Facebook I have the privilege of becoming “friends” with many others from across the globe who suffer from Crohn’s disease and other related stomach illnesses. Among us we share status updates and become members of groups all relating to how our illness affects our lives. It is interesting to see how so many people with the same basic issues deal with it in many different ways. It is also sad to see that most of them, if not all of them, also suffer other illness along with Crohn’s. I have noticed a trend. Now this is in now way scientifically proven by any means so don’t think there has been clinical trials and real research done here, but this is what I have seen. A great majority of Crohn’s sufferers also experience kidney issues ie: stones, infections and pain. At least two of my new women Crohn’s friends have recently been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Nearly all of us suffer from some form of arthritis ie: rheumatoid, osteoarthritis, or general arthritis and joint pain. Depression, bipolar, anxiety and insomnia also top the list. I’m [...] continue the story
Do you ever forget where the “Too much information” line is? I spend so much time around other Crohnies, close friends and family that I forget what is acceptable in everyday conversation. The regular guy in the street doesn’t really want to know about my bowel movements.
When someone asks me a question with regards to Crohn’s, I plough straight in. Quite often describing many of the symptoms, side effects and affected areas of my body. I don’t seem to blush with embarrassment anymore. Does this mean I’m comfortable talking about bums? When I meet new people I seem to find myself talking about my ailments, whether they want to hear them or not. I was once a shy and restrained boy and now I am upfront and open.
My wife gets fed up with how much I talk to strangers but I don’t seem to be able to stop myself. Up until being diagnosed, I had never heard of the condition, so now I find myself wanting to make everyone aware.
I obviously keep some of the “juicy” details to myself as they are not for the faint hearted. I hide these details from most people as I do like [...] continue the story
“Once I became my diagnosis, there was no one left to recover.”
Holy cow! This really captures something very important! It articulates what concerns me most about the rush to diagnosis for people in early recovery. It’s much less any intellectual concern, concern that a medication might be unhelpful or some concern about purity of addiction—it’s the black hole that this identity issue can easily become.
Remembering who we are isn’t as easy as it might sound. Once we receive a diagnosis, it often becomes the primary focus of our identity. It can become the lens that we see ourselves through. Our new label can overshadow the depth and breadth of who we are as people. To make matters worse, most of those around us started relating to us as though we’d turned into a diagnosis. They ask us about our medication and if we’re taking it; how we’re taking it; how we feel about taking it; how long we’ve taken it. They ask us what other medications we’ve taken; how long we’ve been ill; how many times we’ve been hospitalized, homeless, in jail, on drugs, and so on. In other words, those around us start seeing only the parts of us [...] continue the story
If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
~ Frederick Douglass
Let’s get this out in the open: I am bipolar II. That means the mania is really low-key and infrequent and the depression, at least in my case, for most of my life, has been pretty much nonstop.
There are degrees of depression, of course. Mine gets severe relatively quickly and stays that way a relatively long time. Yes, I have been an inpatient at psychiatric hospitals. Yes, I have self-harmed. Yes, I have been on every psychotropic medication known to man, and failed most of them. The two that I’m on right now combine for one really annoying side effect.
I have even, since about New Year’s, been undergoing a course of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). My memory is shot, along with many other things, but the suggestion to do it came up in month 6 of an unrelenting depressive episode. Nothing else was working.
Despite all this, I’ve managed to push through as best I can. I’ve found work, and a work schedule, that works for me, as well as a compassionate employer.
It’s still hard, though, and most people still don’t understand. They tell me to snap out [...] continue the story