Monday, September 3, 2012

Bad Genes...

Evil Temptation
photo credit
I have absolutely no willpower, especially when it comes to eating crappy food. To combat this I don't buy a lot of junk food- no junk food in the house means no junk food for me to eat.

Now normally eating too much junk food means that you gain weight, but for me it means a painful flare up of my Crohn's Disease.

I was diagnosed when I was about fifteen years old. It all started out with getting food poisoning at a holiday party at my Meme's house- everyone else got better but I still had stomach pains. I remember feeling like I was being stabbed and whenever I ate I got extreme pain in my stomach. I lost tons of weight which was awful because I was already very skinny to begin with and one of my high school teachers gave me a real hard time about how much school I was missing. After going to the doctor numerous times (and being accused of having an eating disorder) I finally went to a gastroenterologist who, after many tests that are too embarrassing to mention, diagnosed me with Crohn's Disease.

It felt good to finally have an answer as to what was wrong with me but at the same time to hear at the age of fifteen that you have a chronic illness, for lack of a better word, sucked. I was put on steroids to help with the pain until the regular medicine started to work, of which I would have to take twenty pills a day basically for the rest of my life. At one point my doctor wanted me to have surgery so that the inflamed part of my intestines could be cut out. I refused to have it done because when (not if) it came back I would have to have surgery again and again- I was so young that it seemed dumb to risk having to be cut open numerous times throughout my life. It was also recommended that I take a drug that would mean taking less pills every day but one of the side effects was that it could possibly cause cancer. Um, no way was I going to take anything of the sort.

I ended up taking myself off of all medication because it just didn't seem like it was worth it to put all of this stuff into my body for the rest of my life. I look back at my decision and am proud of myself for being so young and standing up to my doctor about what I felt was right for me. To this day I am glad that I am not on drugs- my Crohn's is luckily only mild to moderate so I only have a couple of flare ups a year if I eat right. Do I always eat right? Well, as I said before I have terrible willpower so I fall off the wagon quite a bit. When I do eat too much bad stuff my body lets me know- if I ignore the warnings then I am blessed with an oh so wonderful flare up which means I don't eat anything for two days and have a heating pad plastered to my abdomen.

I have come to terms with the fact that I will have this forever and it honestly doesn't even bother me because it is just a part of me- it is my way of life. What does worry me is that it is possible that I could pass this to my children. My mom has Crohn's; she was diagnosed a couple of years before I was- her trigger was when she was pregnant with my youngest brother. I am sad that my mom has it but I do have to admit that it's nice to have someone understand what I am going through when I have a flare up.

Whenever my kids have a tummy ache I worry that it is Crohn's disease, though I was assured that kids normally don't "get" it until they are much older. When my son had blood in his stool as a baby I thought is could be Crohn's- his doctor sent me to a pediatric gastroenterologist because of the family history and luckily it was just a milk allergy. If I passed this to any of my kids I would feel horrible that I gave my defect to them. To know the pain and discomfort they would go through would be heartbreaking, so I just cross my fingers and hope that my husbands good genes win out and my kids remain perfectly healthy.

I guess the only things I can are to continue to hope my children don't end up with my deficiency and to keep on trying to eat as healthy as possible so that I can keep my flare ups to a minimum. I do have to say that the only time I get a little mad about the Crohn's is when I pay my life insurance every quarter- the darned disease almost doubled my premium! Seriously- you make it so I can't enjoy the junk food I love so much but then you have to cost me oodles of money too? Blasphemy!

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