One thing I hate about Crohn’s is how it runs in families. In my case, my aunt has it. She had no children, so I don’t know if she would have given it to them, although I suppose the chances would have been high. Her sister is my mother. My mother doesn’t have Crohn’s, but I do. I am one of four children and the only one with it.
I have two daughters, who are 19 and 22 — prime time for people to be diagnosed. Many days, I wonder if they will develop it, and fervently hope they won’t. My older daughter showed what could have been some symptoms last fall. I was freaking out when she told me about them, but I tried to be calm talking to her about it. She said if she winds up being diagnosed that she will just “deal with it.”
That’s kind of how I felt when I was first diagnosed. I was 32, had two very young children, and frankly, was just happy to have an answer to the mysterious pain and struggles I had been going through that past year. I was given Asacol (mesalamine)— the drug of choice in those days — and told to take six a day. Easy enough, I thought. What was the big deal about taking six pills a day? I was just “dealing with it.” As the years passed, and my symptoms got worse, lasted longer and caused all kinds of problems, I began realizing how naive I was to have thought I could “just deal with it.”
My daughters have big plans. My youngest is in her first year of college with dreams of becoming a social worker or lawyer or both, helping underprivileged kids. My older daughter is a graduate student planning on a career in Student Affairs at the college level. Both want children.
What if these dreams get taken away from them? What if they’re too sick to pursue career goals or have children, or can’t mother the way they want to … the “what ifs” can go on and on for me.
My daughter’s initial symptoms went away after about a week this fall. I’m hoping it was only a bug. But just in case, in a couple of weeks, she will go visit the same gastroenterologist I saw when I was first diagnosed, who helped me so many times when I was too sick to do anything. My daughter will establish herself as a patient, and decide if she wants a colonoscopy to find if Crohn’s lurks in her body. Right now, she feels like she doesn’t need one since those symptoms were so fleeting. I’m trying to go along with those thoughts. It’s probably not Crohn’s, I tell myself. It’s probably nothing.
At least, I hope not …
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