And the diagnosis is…

Crones Disease? Chrons Disease? Crohn’s Disease! (My computer keeps stubbornly insisting that I mean ‘Crown’s’ Disease, but I am 99.7% sure that’s wrong.)

So. Two years ago, my doctor sits me down in one of those impossibly scratchy orange chairs that only exist in the realm of doctors’ offices and pulls out his prescription pad.

“Well.” He says. “We have a few options.”

He gives me four sheets of multi-coloured paper describing my possible medications and their side-effects. Red, purple, blue, yellow. As if receiving bad news on confetti makes the situation any better.

Now, you don’t know me yet, but one thing that you should know about me is that I’m a Generally Anxious Person (or GAP, to make things easier). And, as a GAP, I tend to fixate on the things that make me generally anxious. So, two years ago when I looked at one of the colourful sheets of paper and saw, “Lymphoma,” I ignored the ‘Possible’ attached to the ‘Side Effects’ and made the natural GAP conclusion that death was near. As my doctor droned on and on about these now-inevitable ailments, I started thinking about what song would play at my funeral (Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen) and which of my clothes my sister would pilfer through when I was gone (obviously her old jean jacket that she gave to me right before jean jackets started being cool again).

Anyway. Somewhere between planning out my funeral, creating a pile of used Kleenex in my lap, and picking a loose thread out of the impossibly scratchy orange chair, I was asked which medicine I wanted to use. My doctor had recommended a combination of two crazy butt-kicking drugs that would (hopefully) bring me back to health while sucking up my immune system, and the Ivy League degrees hanging on the wall behind his head suggested that I should agree with his opinions, so I volunteered my butt for a good kicking.

And it worked!

Possible and the Side Effects got back together, and I didn’t die or get any really scary symptoms. (Although, I did get a moon face, which led to an interesting encounter with my dental hygienist, who decided to tell me that she “was also fat when she was my age.” But, other than that hideous moment…) In a few months, I was back to perfect health. So much so that I could forget how to spell Crohn’s Disease, and I could pretend that nothing ever really happened, and I could live my life as I always had.

Except. The other day, I’m back in the impossibly scratchy orange chair. And there is an array of confetti sheets in front of me. And my doctor says “Well” and pulls out his prescription pad. And somehow, Crohn’s is back my life. It snuck in and planted a flag on my large intestine and said: “This is a fertile land, and we will thrive. We will rule over all this land, and we will call it…This Land.” Or something like that.

Now, what’s a girl to do with a handful of confetti and a disease that’s here to stay? How does she have a life she wants with a disease she doesn’t?

I asked my doctor for some time to make a decision. He agreed. One month. His Ivy League degrees glared at me as I left the room.

When I got home, I generated a significant pile of used Kleenex, decimated a piece of discount chocolate cake, and generally felt sorry for myself until I pulled out a book that had been gifted to me upon my initial diagnosis. Dust coated the cover I’d never even opened: “The UnDiet: Eat Your Way to Vibrant Health” by Meghan Telpner.

I read. And I read. And I regretted the discount chocolate cake. And I read some more. And then I made a plan. One month to try something different. One month without worrying about the Possible and the Side Effects reunion tour. One month to change my diet and my life.

So, here I am. Learning and trying and hoping.

x

RG

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5 thoughts on “And the diagnosis is…

  1. I am so happy you found me and my book! I hope at the very least, my story can inspire you that there are other options besides what the doctors say. Please, please, please remember that it takes far more than a month to heal a lifetime of patterns. Symptoms may change in that span of time, or they may not. Healing is different from ‘curing’ and even now- nearly nine years after my diagnosis I continue to work everyday to be happy, to let go of the things I cannot control, and to always be building my health. To maintain health is never about a two week, or one month or six month diet- it’s about healing the whole body, inside and out, and that is an ongoing practice. Know that I am sending you good vibes and cheer leading for you with all my might! We also have an UnDiet Life Community group on FB- come find us! Xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. (Wowowow! Keep it cool and casual, RG. Keep it cool.) Hi Meghan! Thanks so much for commenting! And thank you for the reminder! (Okay, too many exclamation marks, RG. Rein it in.) Your book and its delicious recipes have really been keeping me going as I process this flare up. I’m hopeful that, in taking this path, I am traveling toward a lifetime of all-around good health. Thank you for the good vibes and the cheer leading 🙂 I’ve got my pom-poms out for you too as you continue your journey. x RG

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  2. Well shit. I do hate reading that someone else is in the Poo-poo club. I’ve been a member for 40+ years. And, well, it’s a pain in the ass.

    But, or butt, keep your sense of humor. Because there will be many times when a laugh will serve you much better than a cry — even a good one. And with folks continually after your ass, well, all you can do is laugh.

    Unlike Hellocara above, I have found little help with natural remedies — or with the psychiatric treatment that they used to say would take care of a disease that was thought when I first was diagnosed “was all in your head.” Drugs work really well for me. (Professionally I study the side effects of drugs, so I pay attention to the potential risks and weigh them against the pluses) Surgery worked for me too, and I was in remission for 22 years until the damn disease reared its head again 10 years ago.

    But everybody is different, and you need to find what works for you, even though that method will change periodically, as will the foods that bother you. Don’t be afraid to try different approaches. And good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, it sounds like you’ve been on quite the journey. Thank you for sharing. It’s always nice to hear from people who are in the same club (and good to hear that a remission can last 22 years). I’m sorry to hear that you’re out of remission — best wishes with your treatment!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. All of the women in my family have some semblance of Crohn’s. Three generations. Most of them have one bout and their done. I got the bonus pack! So never give up on the idea of remission. Because you never know. And thanks for the follow! See you around (hopefully not the portapoties).

        Liked by 1 person

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