Remission

IBD FighterRemission.  The word has a definition, yet it means something different to everyone.  According to Merriam-Webster, remission is period of time during a serious illness when the patient’s health improves.  So what does that really mean?

If I am having a good day with little symptoms does that mean I am in remission?  If I normally go to the bathroom 20 times a day and one day I go 10, would that be remission??  I think most people would say no. To my doctor, and most people I know with IBD, remission would be the absence of visible activity of the disease.

So why do I bring this up?  Well, according to my GI doctor, as of my colonoscopy in February, there was no visible activity of my Crohn’s so I am in remission. Most people would jump up and down at that news, but I didn’t. As I said, it is the lack of visible activity. As anyone with IBD knows, there are always symptoms that we suffer from.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am happy. I am very happy. But, I kind of known I was doing better for a long time now.  It is not really new news to me. With Crohn’s Disease, the symptoms don’t always go away just because the intestines are healed. That is what makes this disease so weird. There are times I still get urgencies to go to the bathroom. I still have skin issues. Lately my eyes have been aching.

This is why we need a cure for IBD. This is why we need more money for research. This is why we need more awareness. When someone goes into remission from cancer, they don’t have to worry about the disease. They can lead a normal life. We can’t. We still have a messed up life to deal with. Bathrooms are always on our minds. We wake up, in remission, and still wonder if today will be a good day. Will I have pain and nausea today? Will I be running to the bathroom constantly? Or will I have a carefree day?

To me remission is just a word. It doesn’t hold a lot of weight with me because I know tomorrow I can be really sick. I won’t let the word play with my head. I will still treat every day like I currently do. I get up, get dressed, and live my life to the best that I can. If my Crohn’s act’s up, I deal with it.

It is kind of sad to be in remission and still have to deal with issues. Most people with an illness can’t say that. This is what makes us warriors. Most people don’t realize we suffer in silence almost every day. We deal with so much and learn to live with it.

Remission. The more I say the word, the more I am starting to despise it. It is more of a tease. You think you will be great because of it. Today, as I write this, I am scratching at my dry skin thinking if the toilet at work will be occupied when I have to run to the bathroom. Earlier today it was and it was hard for me to make it to another bathroom. Remission. I wish it meant symptom free. But that is another dream for another time.

Written by Jeffrey LeVine from A Guy With Crohn’s