Happy 2 year anniversary to my inflamed colon. March 22nd 2013 I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. WOW. I had to double check the year because I can’t believe how fast 2 years flew by.
Today’s blog post is more personal in nature. How many of the following can you relate to?
Let me begin by saying Inflammatory Bowel Disease does suck. And most days I don’t LOVE having it. It presents many inconvenient struggles and limitations. However, if our glass is half full – which it should always be – then this is what the disease also gives me.
A Sense of Purpose
Prior to my disease I was stuck in a quarter life crisis. Mid-20s….everyone around me was getting married and having babies or getting promotions and going on life altering adventures. I was working a 9-5 and constantly questioning what I had to offer the world. “There has to be something more significant than this”, I thought. I was right.
That’s when I began to spread the word about this disease and creating a community of IBDers managing their symptoms through food and healthy lifestyle.
“Using the bad times in life to make good moments for others is one of the best ways to live your life” – My Mother
Saying ‘no’ doesn’t mean you give up. It doesn’t mean you are weak. It doesn’t mean you are lazy. Learning to say no to things means you have more self worth. You are confident in your path and you know your limits.
Prior to my disease I ALWAYS felt guilty when I felt I had to cancel plans. Now I realize saying “yes” could sometimes make me sick. Canceling commitments is OKAY. Health comes first.
Ulcerative Colitis Made Me Healthier
Yup. You heard me. I live a healthier lifestyle now that I have a chronic health condition. Sure, sometimes I feel like crawling up into a ball on the toilet rocking back and forth crying. But for the most part I lead a healthy life. Before my diagnosis exercise was minimal and I ate junk food. My mood was all over the place because of my sleep patterns, alcohol intake, and late night greasy food choices. Now, on my good days I feel better than I did before my diagnosis.
One More Advocate of Crohn’s and Colitis
Inflammatory Bowel Disease didn’t know who it was picking when it picked me. I am loud, strong, opinionated, and passionate. Diagnose me with ulcerative colitis and I’m going to speak about it. I’m going to tell you how many times a year I pooped my pants during a flare and how red the toilet bowl water was that morning. Because THAT IS REALITY. Education and awareness is important. The more people I meet the more I realize people think Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis simply means we poop a lot. *face palm* It’s my job as an IBDer to raise awareness of the honest symptoms and hardships.
I understand the strength of my friendships.
My true friends will joke with me about toilet humor but will also understand me when my disease gets serious.
To all of my friends who recognize my resilience, who are cautious about where and when we eat, who laugh when I make a poop joke, who share my blog with their friends and family, and all the other kind ways you show support…THANK YOU. Your words and actions mean the world to me.
It’s scary and embarrassing, but you make it more comfortable. <3
Instant IBD Connections
Have you ever met someone you didn’t know had an IBD? Once you discover it there’s a feeling of instant connection. If it weren’t for this disease some of the most inspiring and supportive people would not have come into my life. Instagram has been the best way for me to meet this wonderful community of fighters. One look through IBD and paleo hashtags can create a whole new online family.
It’s like hearing someone say, “you are not alone” without actually having to say it out loud.
Compassion for Invisible Illness
Most of the time I go to work and every one thinks I’m fine. Same ‘ol Laura sitting at her desk. Same ‘ol Laura jumping around with a barbell at CrossFit. We all know that’s not true. IBDers have an invisible illness. We look fine when we’re not fine. We are ALWAYS working through our disease. This factor allows me to be more understanding of others who may be struggling with the same invisible issues.
Everyday my disease tests me, grows me, strengthens me, and inspires me. I love the person is it making me become and I love the people I’ve met only because of my ulcerative colitis.
What other positives have come from your disease?
- One Skillet Tomato Orange Haddock
- Easy Paleo Kale Chips (Video)