Monday, March 2, 2009

Living with Crohn's

My life with Crohn's disease hasn't been easy. I've had my share of personal suffering and grief. The truth is, I wouldn't wish this sickness on anyone because it's too painful. It takes a great deal of inner strength to bear with all the physical pain that comes along with Crohn's. I'm often surprised where my inner strength comes from. When I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, I endured two weeks of gut-wrenching agony in my stomach. I lost so much blood that I needed a blood transfusion. I also lost a significant amount of weight because I couldn't hold any food down. I was living a terrible nightmare beyond all my wildest dreams. I thought I was going to die. I questioned why did this happen to me? How could I possibly be so frail and ill in my twenties? It just didn't make any sense; considering that I was perfectly healthy as a child, and as a teenager. How could this occur so suddenly? I was hungry for answers. Literally.

I was examined, tested, assessed and given medical treatment. My specialist said there was no known cure for Crohn's, and that research was still ongoing. I felt my heart sink, I knew my life would never be the same again. I had regular check-ups and took medications but I wasn't satisfied. I just wanted to be healthy. Was that too much to ask?

After many flare-ups, and trips to the hospital, it became more apparent that this disease was something I'd have to cope with for the rest of my life. I realized that this was a lesson for me to learn on earth; to learn how to suffer, and to accept all the things that cannot be. I've survived sixteen years with Crohn's, and that's quite a testament - that one can overcome trials and hardships. I no longer see it as a burden on my life, or a curse. Now that I'm in my late thirties, the years of experience has made me more patient and accepting. I count my blessings every day. I strive to live a simple life; stress-free as much as possible. I avoid spicy foods, and try to maintain a healthy diet. I practice reflexology. I laugh more. I enjoy being with my family. I've adapted to this new way of life, no matter how uncertain I feel about the future. I am thankful that I'm in remission, and I'm feeling healthy. I'm glad there are no doctors and nurses. No medications to take; no lonely nights to cry myself to sleep. Life is good, I will never take it for granted again.

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