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Showing posts from June, 2011

A Guide to Talking About Crohn's

This comes up a lot. Every time I meet someone new, there's always that point where they know that I have Crohn's, we've talked about it briefly, and they have a vague understanding of what Crohn's means. One day, we have a more in depth conversation about what Crohn's actually is and how I live with my disease. At some point during this conversation, my friend/co-worker/family member/ect. will express their fear of saying "the wrong thing."

I totally understand. It's not an easy subject and we aren't really equipped with the tools to speak about disease until we are forced to figure it out. So, don't feel like you are alone. I'm right there with you. I work everyday to figure out the most effective way of speaking about my disease. Also, don't ever worry about offending me. Now, I can't speak for everyone with a chronic illness here, but I promise you, I am just thrilled that you are expressing interest. If you say something "…

I have Crohn's... Err... Sorry about that.

Do you ever find yourself apologizing for your disease? Now, let me clarify, I'm not talking about literally saying, "I'm so sorry, I have this disease called Crohn's." I don't think I've ever done that. I hope not, at least... I'm talking about those times when you find yourself kind of downplaying the effect of the disease or distancing it by referring to it as "this weird thing that's really hard to explain." I mean, after all, it is a weird thing, and boy is it hard to explain, but those moments always feel to me as if I'm saying "Sorry to make you listen to my really long complicated explanation of something that is deeply personal and not really your problem in the first place."

It usually happens like this:

Unsuspecting Acquaintance: Hey, Maggie! You want some of this food/You want to go out tonight/Some other completely innocent question?

Me: Thanks so much, that sounds great... but I can't. I'm not feeling t…

Love Letter to my Colon

Dearest Myrtle,

We've had our ups and downs over the past year or so. From near death to thriving life, I know it's probably been just as hard for you as it was for me. I want you to know that, while I know I often take my anger and frustration out on you, I understand that it's just not your fault. If it weren't for that pesky immune system always coming between us, our relationship could've been so much easier. Although, then I probably never would've really taken the time to notice you. So, I don't know. You tell me what's better.

You've done your darndest to keep me alive over the past few years. Like that one time, when you formed completely new pathways because you were so swollen that no waste could go through you? Remember that? I mean, it wasn't an ideal situation for either of us, but it kept us going for a while, and I guess it was a pretty smart move on your part in the end. So, thanks for that.

And now, Myrtle, we're on the up s…

Chronically Coming Out

I attended an event for my new internship with the Neighborhood Writing Alliance tonight. It was pretty incredible to see the different lives the organization has touched and to feel that I am a small part of that now. However, these types of events always build up to a slightly awkward moment: The moment when the food comes out. It was mostly finger food, lots of veggies and things. It looked wonderful, but since I was working the event I decided to stay on the safe side and just wait until I got home to eat. The last thing I needed was for Myrtle to throw a fit while I tried to garner donations for the organization.

As I sat next to my fellow intern listening to the series of fascinating speakers, however, she turned to me and asked if I was going to eat anything. The question was entirely innocent and absolutely nothing out of the ordinary, but it still set my mind whirring trying to find a simple answer. Should I just come out and say why I am not eating? Do I want to take the tim…