Single & NOT Pregnant

This holiday, not only was I surrounded by my immediate family, as most are, but also by my work family. They care deeply about me and I’m grateful for that. But one thing that bothers me is being asked when and if I will have children. Repeatedly, day after day. Most of my coworkers know my diagnosis and still like to badger me about it anyway, because they think it’s funny. I’ll be very blunt and tell you all, it’s not.

When are you going to settle down and start a family? You’re so good at caring for others.”

A very loaded question, especially when they don’t see beyond the mask I often wear that would unveil how sick I truly am on most days.

The truth is, many women who live with IBD may have a hard time with the decision to have children. For some, it’s not a decision, as other parts of their health may factor into things. If someone has endometriosis and is unable to bear children, hearing the question “When are you going to start a family?” can be daunting to dance around lightly, especially without letting it get to you. Even though genetically, IBD can be passed down, the likelihood of it occurring in offspring is actually very small.

I noticed when I turned 30 that all different types of people had a say in what I should be doing with my body now that I’ve reached a certain age. Apparently, they think it’s very simple to find a mate who would take all of my “baggage” and own it like it was his own. Let me tell you that life doesn’t always go according to plan and for the last 10 years, if you would have asked me if I wanted children, I would have laughed and said: “heck no”!

But now, things have changed.

I know that I AM getting older, don’t have a partner and right now with my illness, taking care of myself is hard enough to do and I don’t have children. It’s hard to get people to realize that and it’s hard to say out loud when you, yourself don’t want to hear it.

I would be so blessed if God had bigger plans for me and gave me the opportunity for a more structured life.. with a husband, and some dogs and a stable living environment…. and maybe some kids. But at this point in my life, it’s hard telling people (and also myself), that I have a harder time taking care of myself when I am ill and it would be selfish of me to try and change that and add another person into that equation.

Be gentle with your words.

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See the full post here:  Single and NOT Pregnant

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The Dependable Friend Vs. The Expendable

We tend to not see people as they really are but as they fit into our rules, boundaries and definitions. Burn these to the ground and you’ll begin to see others in the pure light of honesty and who they really are.”

Living with any type of illness, you realize pretty quickly that friendships are a lot like storms; many come in waves, whether it’s support or not and often, when you least expect them. How do you manage when people can’t decide whether they want to stay in your life? If you find yourself asking this question out loud, you’ve found the answer my friends. It’s time to leave, presumably before they drop you first.

Now don’t get me wrong, please read that last sentence in the following context: how often, when I’ve been sick, have people left? There’s always been a One Tree Hill episode that’s resonated with me where Payton uses art to portray all of the important people in her life who have left her. It’s 4 squares of transitioning stop lights & the last box has all three lights lit red that reads “People Always Leave”. The first time I saw that episode, I remember having a real come to Jesus moment and in all honesty, it broke me. I could relate so much.

From the time of my first very scary hospitalization at 16 that eventually lead to my diagnosis, people did one of two things – came to visit me to share their support and kind words or – didn’t come at all. Those people, I would come to find, had their many reasons for doing (or not doing) so. For some, I believe it was fear, a type of self-protection almost. As long as they didn’t have to see physically what was going on with me, they were blissfully unaffected. A lot of close family and friends didn’t know how to deal with me being in such a fragile state, especially seeing me after they thought they never would again. I believe this has affected some of the relationships in my life.

Anyone who goes through a serious health crisis and is forced to say a “maybe goodbye” is never the same from that moment.

We tend to not see people as they really are but as they fit into our rules, boundaries and definitions.” ..as they fit into our rules, boundaries and definitions. If you’ve been there, some might go as far as to say a friend with illness can sometimes only be a friend of convenience. Let’s add some uncomfortableness to the situation and say you also have a great friend with a serious illness. Awesome, right?! Of course it’s a gratifying feeling to have someone truly believe you, as they’ve lived through many similar things, but also how many things, including friendships, have affected your life since any patient’s diagnosis. Let’s add another wrench in this situation – one friend is in remission from their disease and the other has been on and off sick, in and out of the hospital and not exactly what you would call dependable. (There’s that word that people love to throw around at us-Dependable!) When you’re in remission, getting back to starting your life where you had left off, doing amazing things.. it’s hard for any patient that is going through surgery, hospitalizations and immobile from all things outside of a clinic setting.

When you’re back in the groove, living your best days, let’s be honest – the last thing you want to do is scroll through your social media/newsfeed and see a ton of “depressing” pictures that remind you of days gone by, or possibly, days ahead. But then the guilt sinks in – that really good friend, sitting in a hospital bed, feeling isolated, scared, alone.. how do you balance all of this? What’s the healthiest approach that you take when you are in either of these situations?

For me, balance is still something I strive for every single day.

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Read the rest of the FULL article hereBeing the Dependable Friend vs. Expendable Friend

The Ultimate Crime of IBD: Theft

For patients that have dealt with more than a couple serious flares, we all know the true crime of IBD: Theft. There is so much that Crohn’s Disease & Ulcerative Colitis can take from you because theft knows no bounds.
It can take your income; it can take your housing; it can steal relationships
It seems endless what you can stand to lose, even when you think you’ve lost it all. Like a thief in the night, the worst part of losing something to IBD is never knowing when it could happen. You can lose your health overnight, which leads to all sorts of outcomes.
It can take your plans for graduation and put a hold on many things that will further your career, your lifelong goals, and your “life plan.” It can take a great plan after graduation and turn it into a 10-year program instead of a 4-year program because surgeries and complications get in the way. Soon the hospital becomes the new “home” you find yourself in and out of, during the most stressful times in your lives.
It can take the most meaningful relationships you’ve ever had and make it look like those friends never really were.. It can slowly take your social life away from you piece by piece until you’re left with what feels like no support.
It can take your self-esteem…

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Read the full article here: The Ulimate Crime of IBD: Theft