Monday, March 9, 2009

Are You Green?

In a few weeks, I will be participating in Earth Hour Toronto. An event that requires turning off the lights, computers, televisions and spending one hour not using any electricity. I participated last year in the hopes of teaching my kids that protecting mother earth was very important, and I think it was a success. So, on March 28, 2009, for one hour, people across the globe, in every city and nation will be united in this cause. The Earth Hour event brings awareness to businesses, communities, neighbourhoods, and governments to take care of the environment. I practice being environmentally friendly every day. That means switching off the lights when not in the room, recycling bottles, cans and paper, donating items to local charities, and having energy efficient appliances to save electricity, and using re-usables bags for shopping.
I also garden every year. My kids help me clean up the yard, put the leaves in brown bags,and help plant perennials. They take pride in their hard work, and watch the flowers bloom in the summer. Living green has become a way of life; the norm in our household. We live in a fragile world. Global warming is on the rise, wildlife and ecosystems are being destroyed at an alarming rate. Isn't that a warning to us all that we need to change the way we live?

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.