There seem to be a lot of IBDrs who are struggling with their illness right now. I don’t know if there is something in the air, or maybe the aftermath of the holiday season but for whatever reason, there seems to be (at least in my life) an influx of patients suffering with inflammatory bowel disease who are either in the hospital or who are currently struggling at home in a flare up.
I will state the obvious here for a second and just say that it kills me when my friends are sick and I can’t do anything to help. I can try to make them laugh, I can send them “thinking of you” texts, and I can just be there as much as possible but I know all too well the physical and emotional pain they are experiencing. One of my friends asked me something last week that has continued to stick out in my mind because I know it has been a question that has not only run through my mind millions of times but it is something that those of us who suffer from ulcerative colitis or crohns disease can’t help but struggle with fairly often and that is “Will things ever get better?”
When you are in agony, running to the bathroom constantly, bleeding, dealing with awful medication side effects, dehydration, weight fluctuations, in and out of the hospital, face the possibility of surgery, recover from surgery and body alterations, make life altering decisions for yourself, decide which terrible medication to try next, etc… it would be weird if you did not wonder if this was all there was out of life.
After all, when you are so entrenched in what IBD can often do to a person, you are often dealing with SO many things that are just being piled on with no time to really digest it. Things can seem insurmountable and when you layer on how medications (side effects) and surgery (associated body alterations) which can often cause you to not even feel like yourself anymore, you can have quite the emotional crisis on your hands. And identity crisis too.
It is frustrating. It is upsetting. It honestly really always made me feel like I was a prisoner in my own body. So when one of my friends who hasn’t been doing well asked me if things will ever get better, it really made me think. I obviously cannot promise her one hundred percent that things will be fine but what I can and want to say to all of you is that there have been more times than I can even remember when I had very little hope that things would ever improve. I just felt like I was dealing with issue after issue with no real end in sight. I had truly no idea sometimes how I would make it to the next day. I had no clue how I would survive certain situations and how I would even be able to make it out of some of the hospital stays I was in.
But I have. Somehow, someway I have. So to those people who are struggling right now, and I know there are many who aren’t doing well- Please remember that there are SOOOO many people who have been in the exact place you are, feeling like a prisoner in their own body, wishing they could just go to sleep so the misery would end, sick and tired of fighting to exist another day, and all with really no end in sight.
To my friends who are in the hospital, or who are sick at home trying to avoid the hospital… this isn’t forever. And coming from ME, who really is not a “ra ra” type of person with the mentality of “yay you have IBD because it makes you a stronger person. yippee aren’t we all lucky.”
UMMM NO! That is not who I am and I know my friends do know that.
BUT, it does get better. This isn’t forever. I know it is beyond difficult right now for so many of you. Beyond words. I just also want you all to remember that I may not have lived your exact life or been in your exact shoes but the feelings and emotions you are probably experiencing are something that I can relate to.
It does get better. Don’t lose sight of that. It is so important not to lose hope.
Hang on as best you can.