For patients that have dealt with more than a couple serious flares, we all know the true crime of IBD: Theft. There is so much that Crohn’s Disease & Ulcerative Colitis can take from you because theft knows no bounds.
It can take your income; it can take your housing; it can steal relationships
It seems endless what you can stand to lose, even when you think you’ve lost it all. Like a thief in the night, the worst part of losing something to IBD is never knowing when it could happen. You can lose your health overnight, which leads to all sorts of outcomes.
It can take your plans for graduation and put a hold on many things that will further your career, your lifelong goals, and your “life plan.” It can take a great plan after graduation and turn it into a 10-year program instead of a 4-year program because surgeries and complications get in the way. Soon the hospital becomes the new “home” you find yourself in and out of, during the most stressful times in your lives.
It can take the most meaningful relationships you’ve ever had and make it look like those friends never really were.. It can slowly take your social life away from you piece by piece until you’re left with what feels like no support.
It can take your self-esteem.
It can take your self-love and self-care and turn it into one of the hardest mental barriers patients run into, dealing with side effects of certain medications, like steroids. Seeing your body go from malnourished, to swollen and unrecognizable does things to your brain that are so difficult to wrap your mind around, it makes you want to cover mirrors in your house. When you don’t recognize your reflection, you lose part of yourself, too.
I want to make it clear, I write in detail in many articles how grateful I am for this disease, which is hard for many people to understand. It’s given me friends, after the ones I had left because they couldn’t handle my disappearances when I’d fallen ill. It’s given me hope that these friends have overcome the most heinous of complications, yet they come out on top every time. These people are mothers, fathers, caregivers, and patients last.
Though I and so many others have lost so much, we can be equally grateful for sites and support like CrohnsDisease.com. Many people don’t have the support they need when they are robbed of certain things when their disease takes over. I’m here to say that I’m grateful for you, reading this, because you are part of this community. You matter. Your voice matters.
What would you say was the most difficult thing that Crohn’s Disease/IBD has stolen from you? And what would you say is the greatest thing that IBD has given you?