Posted by Nicki Redmond on March 06, 2017
I often ask myself if I would rather live my life with or without Crohn’s. The answer, to be honest, is still unclear to me. I obviously would absolutely love to live without the pain that comes with it, but I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it. Surprising as it sounds, I have found that Crohn’s comes with perks that no one talks about. If you Google “Crohn’s” (or any chronic illness for that matter), you’ll likely find some pretty crazy, freaky stuff out there. I think it’s rare to find any of the positives. Well, I’m here to tell you about some of what I’ve noticed in my own life - so buckle up ladies and gentlemen!!
This one may seem obvious, but Crohn’s has made me mature much more quickly than I would have if I didn’t have it. I have to keep track of countless medications, doctor’s visits, procedures (like colonoscopies), you name it, and this is just one minuscule part of it. How about the realization that not everything is about YOU? In fact, very little is about YOU. We live in a self-centered world, but Crohn’s has helped me to be more empathetic of others. It has helped me realize you can’t live your life focused on yourself or even what other people think about you. Heck, most people are too absorbed in what others think of them to even worry about you. Crohn’s has taught me how to be my own weird self and to wear those weird looking pants that no one but me likes (the kind that make me look a bit like MC Hammer).
With this in mind, Crohn’s has helped me discover who my true friends are. They’re the ones who may never truly understand what I may be going through, but who still try and accept me for who I am. My best friend in high school is a prime example of this kind of person. I remember once being so upset after I was newly diagnosed that I went into a bathroom stall and bawled my eyes out. My best friend noticed I was upset so she came into the stall next to mine. She didn’t even ask me what was wrong but was simply there for me. She even ate her lunch with me there until I felt better. She didn’t realize how much that meant to me, and maybe she didn’t even understand what I was going through, but she knew I needed her there. Now THAT’S a true friend. The friends I have made through ICN PAC are also amazing examples of true friends. They truly do understand me and are an astounding support system!
Oh, and you also realize that your family, or whoever your support system may be, is kind of amazing! You might even discover that your brothers will dress up as Power Rangers as a part of your CCFA walk team.
Crohn’s has helped me develop a pretty great sense of humor. Life is way too short not to laugh way too much. Having the sense of humor of a tween boy who laughs at poop jokes has its perks, believe it or not. Laughing at myself has become a lot easier. I’ve learned it’s no fun to take yourself too seriously.
So what’s the moral of the story? As cliché as this sounds, look for the silver lining because there is one. For me, I’ve accepted myself and remind myself constantly that IBD doesn’t define me. If anything it’s helped me see that I have a lot of supporters who are willing to laugh with me.
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