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.