This week starts off Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week. I love this week! It isn’t just a time to educate and advocate for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, but a time to celebrate those of us who have been affected by this disease. Whether you are a patient, caregiver, supporter or healer, you have been affected by IBD.
Well first let’s start with a little education. What is IBD or Inflammatory Bowel Disease? IBD is an umbrella for diseases like Crohn’s & Colitis. Most of us have heard of IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome which is a chronic disease that causes bloating, discomfort, diarrhea and constipation. These are a lot of the same symptoms that patients with IBD experience, so it’s easy to see how it could be confused as being the same thing. Well, people with IBS usually don’t experience permanent damage to their colon and bowels. IBS can be controlled with diet, meds & exercise. IBD patients are more at risk for colorectal cancer, colon removal & bowel inflammation. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases are patients who have chronic diseases like Crohn’s & Colitis.
I am an IBD patient. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2008. I had my colon removed in 2012. Lived with an Ostomy for 5 months. Now I am living with a J-Pouch. How does one live without a colon? Happily! 🙂 Not without complications of course. I still have arthritis pretty bad. My sight hasn’t recovered completely. I go to the bathroom approx. 6 times a day or spend a very long time in the bathroom at one time emptying my pouch. I am tired often. I can get dehydrated easily. BUT I don’t have the typical colitis symptoms everyday like I use to. My teeth aren’t gray & weak. My eyes aren’t red. I’ve been able to keep some weight on. My hair stopped falling out. I no longer have bloody diarrhea or vomit every time I use the rest room. And my blood pressure doesn’t drop as easily. Life is better.
So, the disease is gone by the removal of the colon. However, the damage was extensive that there are still repercussions. And there are things that the JPouch now brings like Pouchitis and frequent bathroom visits. I will always be a patient of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Some days will be a little bit harder than others. And some days will be better than others.
In honor of IBD Awareness Week I would like to celebrate life with IBD. Whether you live with it, love someone who has it or take care of someone with IBD, I wanna hear from you. Tell me your stories and I will post your emails throughout the week! firstname.lastname@example.org