Saturday, March 9, 2019

"Crohn's Disease Ate My Colon" - My story (Part One)

We all know that Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis and IBD in general, affects us all differently in one way or another. The common denominator is the disease itself, that's it. There are slight variations in symptoms and how it affects us, but we all deal with it in our own fashion.

Me? Well.... here's my story.

June 1988 is when I was finally diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, symptoms came suddenly just 6 months prior, I had just turned 20.  I was the two sport athlete, ate "normally", no family history of Crohn's or any IBD.

Not always a good thing to be first.

I was born in a small town in the interior of British Columbia. We moved a few times, finally settling in Surrey, BC, Canada. I think my childhood was about as normal as the next kid, father went to work every morning (he was a teacher) and my mum stayed at home watching us kids. I was a pretty active kid growing up, always outside or doing something. I was introduced to ice skating when I was 8 years old after my parents took us to a local skating event. We signed up for lessons soon afterwards and quickly discovered I had a knack for skating. One of the coaches took notice and I joined the figure skating club at 10 years old. I enjoyed the quietness of tracing figures on the ice, over and over and over again. I remember how calming it was after a day of school. I loved the freedom of the free skating, the jumps, spins, artistry... the falling wasn't pleasant but it was all part of learning, which I think I've taken with me throughout my life. If you fall, get up as quick as you can, brush it off and try again. Repeat.
By the time I was 12 I was rising though the ranks, placing and winning in competitions and enjoying skating. I was teased in school which was hard, but back then you had two choices, let it bring you down or do something about it. I chose to do something about it and one day after some on going teasing about being a male figure skater,  I hit him and got into a fight. It was quick, but I stood up for myself. Things changed after that and once some of them came to see me practice, they noticed I was the only guy among 25 girls on the ice.
My life changed a few years later when my dad left us. Just like that, no clue as to why, just left. He left us each a letter and once I read it, I threw it out. I don't remember today what it said, but I remember that it made me angry and changed me. I went from being the nice kid, to being the angry kid. It affected my skating and I ended up leaving the sport in 1985 after attending our Provincial Winter Games. I had been playing soccer for a few years at the same time and started to concentrate on playing as I could take my frustrations out on the pitch.
It is at this point in my life, I personally think, that maybe Crohn's started. Not necessarily any symptoms showing, but the anger, anxiety and keeping everything in, contributed to the Crohn's gene starting it's life. It might not be the reason, because there is no known cause yet, but for me, I think it's a contributing factor.
It's birth inside me so to speak, even though symptoms won't show for another 4 years.....

Next: Part Two


Debra Barr said...

Yes, I do believe bottled emotions and stress are contributing factors. I know I certainly have a lot of emotions I've pushed down over the years and now it's eating me alive.

Anonymous said...

I can really relate as someone who deals with chronic illness as well as past family breakdown. The mind and body cannot be separated. Personally, I have found counselling, the writings of John Bradshaw and the power of forgiveness (I KNOW easier said than done) to be of great help. Sadly, if long term family issues are not addressed they have a funny way of leeching down through the generations. Yes, it is unfair. You didn't create the sh#t but you have to do the work to get through it. Take care and thanks so much for your wonderful blog!

Vern Laine said...