In November 2014, when the biopsies from a scope came back positive for severe Crohn’s disease, and I had many questions and emotional reactions. On the one hand, I felt a sense of relief that we finally had an answer, a diagnosis, as to my constant and severe stomach issues, but on the other hand I was devastated to hear I had (another) incurable disease.
For a while I had hoped the severe stomach issues I was experiencing were residual from having Toxic Megacolon a couple months prior and would lessen over time. This just wasn’t the case. Finding out my stomach issues would not resolve and would be a part of me for the rest of my life was hard to accept. I wondered what I did to deserve this and why this was happening to me.
Obviously I had not done anything and there wasn’t anything I could have done to prevent Crohn’s from developing. There are a few things I found helpful in coping with my diagnosis that I’d like to share. Hopefully, they will help you regain a sense of normalcy in life. Having a solid support system along with educating yourself about the disease are good places to start. Be prepared and learn as much as you can.
After the diagnosis, I immediately began researching Crohn’s disease so I could better understand what I was dealing with. Having knowledge is power and can be your greatest tool when facing a new condition. Especially in a disease like Crohn’s, where symptoms can range from relatively mild to completely debilitating. It’s important to be familiar with what to expect, the signs and symptoms, along with available medications and treatment options.
Support is key
I was overwhelmed at first with everything that was happening, and having my family and close friends around made a big difference. I knew I wasn’t alone. They provided me with the support and encouragement I needed to move forward. Whether it was a shoulder to cry on when times were tough, a call in the middle of the night, or even a ride to the pharmacy, I knew I could always turn to them and they’d be there.
Join the Crohn’s army!
My final bit of advice would be to join a support group, as it really is the best of both worlds. Someone I met shortly after I was diagnosed recommended I join an online support group for people with Crohn’s disease. I did, and found it’s a great way to connect with others who understand firsthand what it’s like to live with such a debilitating disease. Hearing other people’s stories really helped me, as I could relate to many of them.
Being part of a support group is perfect for both receiving emotional support and learning more about the disease and treatments from others — all over the world — with personal experience and knowledge.
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.