...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Crohn's Flare: the slow advance of encroaching doom

Ok, so maybe that sounds a bit more ominous than it really is.

The fact that I am an unwilling carrier of Crohn's disease is not really news.  I was first diagnosed in 2011 and Crohn's and I have had a relationship in varying degrees ever since then.

At the moment, we aren't really getting along (well, from my end we pretty much never get along, but sometimes he is more quiet about his presence in my life than other times...this isn't one of those times).  At the moment my foul friend is flaring.

While I wouldn't call us buddies, Crohn's and I do have a union or sorts and I have accepted his solid grasp on parts of my life.  I don't share these things looking for pity or concern, I honestly hope that the things I have learned and experienced can maybe bring some comfort, peace, or hope to someone else who might be facing similar struggles.

For me, wandering into a Crohn's flare is a very slow process.  It starts with minor discomfort or pain which niggles its way into my abdomen over the course of a few weeks, slowly increasing and branching into other symptoms until I eventually give the issue more of my attention.

Once I realize for sure that things are not getting better (which usually takes 6-8 weeks) I head in to see my gastroenterologist, who prescribes a nasty piece of medicine which I love/hate but which will -- in time -- tackle the issues and bring me back to my own quirky version of normal.

The thing is, the plodding forward progress of symptoms make it very hard to recognize there is a definitive problem until it has become something big.  It's kind of like when you take your kids to see relatives who haven't been around them in a while and they comment on how much your sprites have grown, but to you they don't seem different because you were there for the day by day, minute by minute changes so the growth doesn't stand out as much.

But, to me, it also means that my focus is not on my disease.  It means that I am so caught up in living my life that I don't take note of every single minute change that pops up.  It means that although I take Crohn's disease VERY seriously, it is only one SMALL facet of my life -- one that is a side note, not a volume of its own.

Yes, I have Crohn's disease.

Yes, it is inconvenient and painful and unpleasant.

But, no, it does not run the show.

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