I must confess, in the 32 years I have had crohn's, I have never been to a IBD support group. I never thought I "needed" it, so I went through everything on my own in a sense. I had/have family and friends and now a growing online community to vent, but never a sit down, face to face meet and greet.
I'm an introvert and have trouble speaking in public especially if I don't know anyone, even though we might all be going through the same thing.
Now, having said all that, I received an email from Crohn's and Colitis Canada (like I always do), letting me know of a meeting for the Fraser Valley West Chapter , which is my local chapter. I thought this time maybe I'll go. I mean, what could it really hurt? On the night of the meeting, I got up the nerve (and a little push from my wife) to drive out to the meeting and see.
It was in a nice meeting room in a library and as I walked in was greeted very nicely by three people already there, one of which was the Chapter president, Hailey. In total, there were 8 of us sitting around a couple of tables and it was obvious to me that I was the odd man out. Not in a bad way, but it became more aware to me that all these people have met before and for some time. Hailey started with introductions where everyone introduced themselves and a little about them as far as IBD was concerned. I said my name and that I had crohn's for 32 years and I don't think I said anything after that, I don't remember. Pretty lame, I know. Others went into more details and after hearing everyone, I'm thinking, "I should have said that, damn it!, I've had lots of surgeries too". LOL
I'm not great with speaking in public, only the written word I guess, but I made myself a resolution that 2020 was going to be the year I try and meet up with other IBD or chronic illness people.
The meeting was 2 hours and by the end I was feeling more comfortable and everyone thanked me for coming out and nice to meet me which made me feel more comfortable. I chatted with a gentleman on the way out about his experience with an ostomy as he is fairly new to it. If my crohn's gets any worse, an ostomy is the next step. Something to think about as it is always on my mind and the psychological aspect of it is hard for me.
They meet every third Tuesday of the month so I marked it down on my calendar in the hopes that maybe I'll attend again. Nice group. Maybe I'll open up a bit more as each meeting comes and goes, but there is only one way to find out.
So, the point of this post?
Don't be like me and wait 30 years to go to a group meeting.
If only just to go out and meet with others like you.
On a side note, thanks to the group for the feeling of being welcome.