In part three of my four-part series, I discuss how to cope with a new diagnosis and explain how I personally cope with Crohn’s disease.
So, you’ve been diagnosed with IBD, perhaps with Crohn’s disease or colitis. What are you supposed to do now?
Once I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, it came after a long two years of waiting for a name to give my monster.
I could tell you that hearing the diagnosis “Crohn’s Disease,” that finally putting a name to the issues I’d been suffering, meant relief would be easier to find. I could tell you that all my stress and problems vanished with the diagnosis, or that there are medications guaranteed to help everyone.
I could tell you that any of this gets easier, that the shots don’t hurt and the meds don’t have too many side-effects. I could tell you that I am feeling better than I was in the beginning of my journey, or that I have finished my grieving.
But I’d be lying.
Crohn’s disease is just as difficult to manage as it is to diagnose, as my fellow Crohnie’s know. Fighting for the diagnosis is just a portion of the battle. This disease is a double-edged sword of sorts, a diagnosis being a blessing all its own. The diagnosis is good news, but bad news all the same. The diagnosis meant treatment could begin, and every day is another day closer to possibly feeling healthy again.
Hearing the words chronic illness can be very scary and the answers to healing can be hard to find. You are as individual and unique as your disease; only you know what is right for your journey to cope with this news.
I needed to grieve and I needed time to vent. I needed to complain and I needed to have my Bitter-Betty moments and, trust me, I do have those moments. I felt bad, for the life I was living, struggling to find a cure, never knowing what was really happening inside my body. I felt anger and sadness both because I couldn’t just make it go away. The life I looked forward to now was another uphill battle with an uninvited illness that took my body prisoner — Crohn’s disease being the new hostage taker.
So, how do I cope?
I began to document my journey, sharing the obvious and not-so-obvious about my disease, as well as the ugly or embarrassing moments I have found myself in.
It took me a while before I began to try to find the highlights in my days that keep things positive, and I still have my good days and bad days.
I put to paper my thoughts and ideas and I allow other IBD warriors to come into my life. I have found friends in those who can relate to my problems, too.
I spend time and I organize my medications weekly. Visiting a ton of different doctors became my full-time job. I research my Crohn’s disease avidly, learning as much as I possibly can. I search Google for every new and upcoming treatment, and I look for things to take my mind off my stressors.
I manage and I deal the best way I know how — my own way. Because, It Could Be Worse.
Note: IBD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of IBD News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to inflammatory bowel disease.