Even though I had symptoms long before my initial surgery and diagnosis, I’ve been officially living with Crohn’s Disease for 22 years, 2 months, and 15 days.
There have been good days and bad days since my first Crohn’s hospitalization, but I’ve been lucky compared to a lot of people with this disease.
Bad days for me mean a lot of cramps, bathroom visits, no energy, bloating, and feeling sick of having to deal with it all.
Good days are when I can go to the gym, eat a lot, and temporarily forget about my Crohn’s.
Really bad days are when the pain is so intense my only thought is “I need to see my doctor”.
Since that night in 1988, I’ve only had 3 really bad days:
Once in 2004, my gut was killing me and my doctor order a fun Barium test. They determined that where my intestines were reattached from my surgery was most likely scarring up and causing my digestion process to “back up” like a clogged drain. The worst part about this flare-up was the principal for the school I was working at. After I went to see the doctor and told her I needed more time off for my test, I added that he said there was a slight chance I might need more surgery. Her reaction: “I’ve never heard of anyone needing surgery for Crohn’s Disease.” Thanks a lot, (Many words I’d like to call her, but my mom might be reading this).
In 2008 I experienced another day of intense pain, but this time I couldn’t stop throwing up (after first throwing up in my car as I was driving home). My awesome dad drove me to the ER, and I was in the hospital for over a week. No more surgery needed, but it was a wakeup call to what I could be doing to improve my battle with Crohn’s. I started exercising more and put a lot less caffeine into my body. Both of these helped immensely, and I learned that even when I woke up feeling like it was going to be a “bad, no energy” Crohn’s day, a quick 30 minutes on a stationary bike could help turn it around.
Yesterday was another really bad day for me. After a fun weekend snowmobiling in New Hampshire, my friends and I went out to breakfast before our trek back to Massachusetts. I wasn’t feeling hungry, and barely touched my eggs, hash browns, and toast. My stomach was hurting the whole drive back, but I tried sleeping it off as much as I could. As we pulled into a rest area, I could tell my scrambled eggs were going to make another appearance. I knew I wasn’t going to make it to the bathroom, so my only plan was to not puke in my friend’s car. I’m sure I gave everyone watching a “Oh my God, we were at the NH rest area” story to share when they got home, but I was just glad I didn’t feel as sick anymore. I knew I wouldn’t be eating any more for the rest of the day, but thought I’d be safe drinking Gatorade. I guess I drank it a little too quickly, because about 30 seconds after I walked into my apartment I was having what I call a “double explosion” in my bathroom. Luckily, I have experienced these before and was quick enough to make sure both spills were contained.
Today I stayed in bed, sipped Gatorade, and watched TV. I found out my Corhn’s Dr. is on vacation, but I think I’ll be able to make it past this episode without his help. Last night I kept telling myself that I’m a quick healer and wouldn’t you know it, my body is responding.