Mommy, you are a superhero. The kind of superhero who wears an apron, skinny jeans, blouses and jewelry, who cooks me meals and cleans up after me. The kind of superhero who has always tended to my scraped knees, who has cried silently at night because of my diseases ever since I was a baby (yes, momma, I know about it), who is always proud of me, no matter how much I shine or screw up. I really want to thank you for all that you do for me daily, putting yourself last for me and my sisters, for always bringing me my medication when I’m too lazy to pick it up, even after working 8-6. The one who puts up with my stupidity and random, annoying, hypothetical questions about life. You really are a superhero, mommy, and I appreciate you endlessly. We may bicker back and forth every day, but we do so because we are cut from the same cloth, you and I. Similar as twins in everything. I wish I could give you the world, momma, and I will do that someday. You just wait. I love you!
May 03, 2014 • crohn's, crohn's disease, francisca's words, life, personal
“You are so brave and quiet, I forget you’re suffering.” - Ernest Hemingway
Let me tell you how it all went down for me and maybe by reading this, some of you might relate to what I went (and continue to go) through. Sometime in November 2012, I started feeling acute (and I mean acute) abdominal pain several times during the day. It wasn’t pretty. The only way I can describe the pain is by saying it felt like stab wounds to my belly that left me no choice but to completely stop everything I was doing and riding the pain, a bit like what I imagine a contraction feels like. This went on for about five unrelenting months until the real struggle began. My body started basically fighting itself, resulting in swelling of my ankles at first – at some point both of them, so walking was pretty impossible –, and I went to a local physical therapist to try and solve the problems that kept coming up left and right. It worked, until my knee started retaining fluids and essentially locked down. My joints were severely inflamed, my knee hurt like a mother and wouldn’t budge, my elbows were beginning to lock down as well, my lips were blue, skin yellow, chills and hormones out of control… it was a real chummy period in my life, heh.
“You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it.”
“Don’t forget you’re human. It’s okay to have a meltdown. Just don’t unpack and live there. Cry it out and then refocus on where you are headed.”
To be honest with you, I don’t think my world is caving in just because I have more hurdles to overcome than the next person. If anything, I feel blessed that I’m not going through some other things that are much worse than my current situation. I’ve learnt to make the most of it, even becoming so much more active than I was before by finding a tremendous love for exercise and my gym crew. It’s all about perspective, a positive attitude and the support from all the people I love and hold dear and near to my heart. I couldn’t do half the things I’ve done thus far without their unconditional love, support and understanding. I don’t publicize my disease; before now, I think I could count on my two hands the amount of people that know what I’m going through. Not because I’m scared of what other people may or may not think, but because my disease is mine and mine alone and I don’t need other people’s pity and sad puppy eyes just because my intestines are cooler than yours. Seriously, y’all deal with your jealousy by yourselves. Ain’t nobody got time for that!! #UniqueIsAwesome #YourBlandIntestinesAreJealous #DealWithIt
“I am learning to trust the journey, even when I do not understand it.”Okay, I’m obviously joking, but I think you really have to turn your frown upside down, making lemonade with whatever lemons life throws your way. She’s not always going to throw clean, pristine and beautifully yellow lemons at you, is she? So what if Miss Life got a little confused when putting my DNA together and threw in some faulty, messy lemons onto my intestines. I can still make tasty lemonade with them! Uh… okay, stop. Ew. This analogy isn’t working out too well, but I think you catch my drift, right? I mean, not to say living with Crohn's is a walk in the park, because it's clearly not. It puts a damper on your life for sure, you're not oblivious to the disease that, every now and again, bubbles up to the surface and reminds you it's here to stay. There's no cure, but there's positivity and fighting spirit instead. Yeah?
So, if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, this is my advice to you:
- Don’t ever allow yourself to think, “Oh, it’s nothing! This will pass. I don’t need any doctor’s advice.” Trust your gut on this one. If you feel like death and sicker than sick, maybe it’s a good indicator that you are, in fact, sick. Who would’ve thought, huh?
- Don’t mistake yourself for a doctor and don’t trust medical advice from people around you who aren’t doctors either. Did we go to medical school for half our lives? No. Do we know what we’re talking about? No, we do not. Go. See. A. Doctor.
- Don’t hide your pain. I did this all the time and, in the end, I kept wishing I had just yelled out my pain earlier. You don’t have to be Hulk or Ironman. You’re a human being. You’re genetically programmed to feel pain. You have a God given right to manifest said pain (read: there’s a difference between manifesting pain and whining).
- Don’t let yourself get sucked into the huge abyss of negativity. Yes, we have Crohn’s. Yes, it’s a chronic disease that will stick with us forever. No, we are not dying. No, our life isn’t over. We can live a completely normal life. We are not inferior, unhappier, less than anyone else. We are equal, and we are even more awesome because we are soldiers, fighters and cooler people in general.
- Exercise. Be active. Have faith. Stay calm. Find things you love and do them. Acknowledge the fact our time here is limited and we mustn’t spend it frowning or stressing. Be positive! We are stronger than we believe and we find strength in places we had no idea we could even reach. Everything – and I mean everything! – will work out in the end. We can overcome anything.
I’m writing this to you in the middle of a particularly bad flare up, triggered by my biggest nemesis, good old stress. I’m bed ridden with inflamed joints and unable to work out – also known as my personal hell, if you’re curious. BUT, no matter how dark the situation may be, everything will settle down and work itself out. I hope you take comfort in my experience, and I know that whatever you’re going through will work itself out too. Hey, that rhymes!