For years I knew something was up with my intestines. I’d have periods of time where I couldn’t stop going to the bathroom. I figured it was stress and probably some type of IBS problem. Around October 2010, blood started to appear in my stool and I was going so often that I stopped eating because I couldn’t handle going to the bathroom one more time throughout the day. I used to often joke with a friend of mine about our frequent bathroom issues, but this time the problem seemed to large to joke about. I decided I finally needed to put my pride at bay and head to the doctors, even if they asked me to go number two in a cup.
And number two in a cup I did. The doctors determined I had some type of rare bacteria and put me on a heavy dose of antibiotics for a month. What they didn’t tell me was that the symptoms would also take at least a month to clear up. Great…. I was scheduled to go on vacation with my then fairly new boyfriend’s family, all sharing a hotel room. There would be no hiding of my GI problems.
I survived the trip and eventually my symptoms cleared up. Throughout the next year I struggled with periods of uncontrollable bathroom urges. I figured it was just all the stress I was under. I was a full time graduate student at Emerson College, working full time as a marketing director at a Boys & Girls Club and training for the Boston Marathon. I mean, it seemed typical that the amount of activities I was forcing my body to endure would cause a little IBS to rare it’s evil head and besides the symptoms always seemed to eventually clear up on their own.
By January 2012 I had become accustomed to living a life never knowing when my next bathroom urge would hit. The symptoms had seemed to progress though and were really interfering with my Disney Marathon training. The amount of blood I had in my stool was unnerving and the stomach cramps were intense. I had also developed pain on my tailbone that made sitting for long periods of time impossible. I couldn’t recall falling on it and long gone were my college nights of forgetful drinking. I was puzzled and after awhile convinced I had a tumor in my tailbone (dramatic, yes I know…). So again I went back to the doctor and this time they were concerned I had runner’s colitis, ulcerative colitis or worst case Crohns disease.
I was scheduled for a colonoscopy, which my boyfriend took me too. The procedure revealed I had ulcers in both my small and large intestines. Ry was lucky enough to see the picture of these ulcers and quickly told me after the procedure that he had seen the inside of my colon…awesome…
I was first diagnosed with ulcerative colitis but after some more blood work and doctors appointments the diagnosis turned to Crohns. I was put on Canasa which Ry wonderfully named “your butt medicine.” I almost died when I picked up the prescription at CVS and read “insert 1 suppository into rectum every night.” I was so embarrassed about having to have a suppository medication, but as always Ry reminded me if you can’t laugh about whatever situation life has thrown at you than what’s the point. I had a few more unpleasant scares with weird rashes and an outburst of canker sores/ulcers in my mouth (which I handled equally as dramatic as my self diagnosis tailbone cancer), but eventually I believe I have beaten this first flare-up!
I decided I wasn’t going to be embarrassed about my disease and the uncomfortable symptoms it causes. During my first diagnosed flare-up I chose to stop covering up when I had to go to the bathroom all the time and instead simply call it out as it was…. Yes I have to use the bathroom again! Yes my stomach is cramping so bad and I just want to lay down forever! Yes my stomach is making extremely loud noises because I have intense gas cramps… and right now there is nothing I can do about it but be honest. I realized the more open I was about my condition the easier it made it for me to live with each day. I also realized people seemed relieved to find someone who was so open to talk about their daily bathroom battles and would confide in me about their own bathroom worries.
I also realize I’m lucky compared to most who have Crohns because I do believe I have a mild case of it. As mild as it is, it is still altering my life, in both good and bad ways. I’ve decided I wanted to share my new journey as a person living with Crohns but also a new found vegan, runner, marketing enthusiast and writer. I have wanted to start a blog for a long time but could never seem to stick with it. I felt I didn’t have a topic that I could consistently write about. So, thank you Crohns, for finally giving me the push to start blogging.
I found this comic at a site called The Crohns Awareness Project. They had a few other ones that were pretty funny 🙂