Letting Well-meaning Friends Off the Hook

Letting Well-meaning Friends Off the Hook
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So, of course my friends all know that I have Crohn’s. It’s not something I hide. But I’m not usually forthright with specifics, mostly because I don’t feel anyone would really get it.

A couple of weeks ago I was taking a walk with a friend. We were talking about our plans for the rest of the week. I mentioned that I was going see my gastroenterologist for my eight-week checkup. (Every eight weeks is typical for me.)

The next day she texted, How was your appointment?I thought that was very nice of her. I texted back, “The same as usual.” And it had been. My doctor and I had agreed that I had no real choices to changing medications, but maybe switching the protocol I was on would be beneficial. He was concerned that I’d lost four pounds without trying. (Come on, I had retorted. Four pounds wasn’t a lot. He’d countered by saying that I was too small to lose any amount of weight and suggested those calorie-boosting drinks that I don’t have any intention of trying. And for the record, I gained the weight back in just a few days.)

My friend texted back, “Well, at least it wasn’t any worse. You’re staying the same.” I could imagine my friend, hunched over her phone, trying to think of something positive to say. I could imagine her starting to type and erase various positive, upbeat messages. She knew I hated them.

I thought about what she said. I don’t like it when people try to find a “good” in a “not good” situation. And I could have gone with reminding her of that. We’ve been friends for about 20 years, and she knows I’ve been battling this disease a long time. But then I thought to myself, “Why should I do that? She’s just trying to be nice.” So I texted back, “It’s okay to not know what to say. And it’s okay that it’s hard to say anything positive about this. Don’t worry about it.”

I don’t know how she felt on her side of the conversation after that, but I felt really good. I hadn’t “yelled” at her. I hadn’t gritted my teeth and ignored her. I’d just been honest about it. And I allowed her to feel honest, too. “Okay!” she wrote back. “Let’s walk again together soon.”

It was a good moment, I’d like to think, for both of us.

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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 IBD.

Margarida graduated with a BS in Health Sciences from the University of Lisbon and a MSc in Biotechnology from Instituto Superior Técnico (IST-UL). She worked as a molecular biologist research associate at a Cambridge UK-based biotech company that discovers and develops therapeutic, fully human monoclonal antibodies.
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Margarida graduated with a BS in Health Sciences from the University of Lisbon and a MSc in Biotechnology from Instituto Superior Técnico (IST-UL). She worked as a molecular biologist research associate at a Cambridge UK-based biotech company that discovers and develops therapeutic, fully human monoclonal antibodies.
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2 comments

  1. Emily says:

    So, for the record, Ensure and Boost can go wait until I’m an old lady, thank you.

    Carnation Instant Breakfast is a much tastier option. It comes in vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, and malt chocolate. You can even find it at Costco, if you are so inclined. Wal-Mart also carries it. If you find you like it, Amazon has it in stock and it may be cheaper with the Subscribe and Save if you drink it a lot.

    My mom’s been drinking the vanilla for years. You just mix it in milk. It’s a lot more sugary than the other options, so diabetics beware!

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