Crohn’s Disease really is the gift that keeps on giving. It doesn’t stop for Christmas, it doesn’t give you a break during the summer, and doesn’t ‘rise again’ during Easter because it’s always there anyway. It is relentless and punishing and about as far from the spirit of Christmas as you could get.
Regardless, I’m looking forward to the festive season this year, but I can’t quite settle into the idea of fun and lights and laughter yet because, as always, I still have various medical bits and bobs to get through.
On the 1st day of Christmas my poor gut gave to me: an Endoscopy which left me with a torn voice-box and no voice for 2 weeks.
On the 4th day of Christmas my poor gut gave to me: a Colonoscopy where the sedation failed and I was in butt-clenching agony throughout.
On the 9th day of Christmas my poor gut will give to me: yet another blood test to leave me bruised for my party dress.
On the 11th day of Christmas my poor gut will give to me: an ultrasound to check if my kidneys and liver are damaged.
On the 12th day of Christmas my poor gut will give to me: a check-up that will no doubt have me anxious through to the New Year.
No partridge in a pear-tree and my ‘ring’ feels about as far from gold as possible at the minute if you’re wondering. Although I don’t imagine you were.
Crohn’s Disease, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease as a whole, is incurable, and therefore a constant throughout patients’ lives. I spend a huge chunk of each day planning life around my illness because I have no option but to make allowances for it. Being practical and sensible and trying my best not to upset the apple cart if you will. I often feel like I’m playing a dangerous game of buckaroo every time I eat; one bite too many and I’ll be sick or rushing to the toilet.
It’s easy to see why people with chronic illness often suffer from so much anxiety. If you were living life under a seemingly endless cloud of uncertainty wouldn’t you feel a little on edge? It’s important to remember to give over a little of the control to your body. You can’t always win when it comes to your health so don’t pummel yourself into insignificance trying to compete with your own insides. They make the rules about when you are unwell; you make the rules about what to accept. Don’t push yourself to spite yourself. Don’t play games with Crohn’s because it’s really not worth it if you lose. Accept a little defeat now and then and don’t beat yourself up about it. Do what’s best for you, and even up the score a little. And if you can’t do that, annihilate a much younger sibling at Monopoly instead. Whatever gets you through the day?
Written by Kathleen Nicholls from Crohnological Order. Visit her site for more personal stories about her life with Crohn’s Disease.