It’s today. May 19th. World IBD Day, a day we (as a world) try to bring even more awareness to IBD: what it is, what it’s like to live with it, and how you can help.
I have Crohn’s disease and I’ve battled this beast since I was 18 years old. I started getting sick my freshman year in college and it took off like wildfire, affecting my thin, teenage, stressed-out body. In those 27 years since, it’s been better and it’s been much, much worse. I’ve crawled my way back from near-death a few times. I refuse to let it get me.
Right now, I’m not feeling terrible, but I struggle with the symptoms and side effects of medications daily. Bathroom trips (lots of ’em), joint pain, headaches, abdominal pain, fatigue, lightheadedness, difficulty sleeping. It’s a real picnic.
But I’m battling back and I want people to see what this illness is, to try to understand it, and most importantly, try to understand the people who have it.
When I wrote this piece, I got incredibly personal. I’m not embarrassed about what I shared. This is what IBD looks like and we do what we must in order to get by. If I was ashamed to share this part with you then others will be ashamed and we just can’t be. We’ve got to live out loud and not in the shadows of IBD.
I have wanderlust.
I’m also a homebody.
The reason I’m a homebody has a lot to do with the fact that I have Crohn’s disease which makes me a pretty terrible traveler, sometimes even to somewhere as close as school or the grocery store. A short journey can get pretty dicey for someone who has a chronic illness that causes them to make urgent, unpredictable bathroom trips.
But I’ve long dreamed of exotic places and trekking out on exciting family vacations. And in early 2015, I had the opportunity to go on a school trip to Europe with my teenage daughter… (see the rest of the story and the personal details I shared here at The Mighty.