Friday, April 24, 2020

2020 Crohns and Colitis Canada Gutsy Walk

In the next hour, someone in Canada will be diagnosed with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Then someone else in the hour after that. And someone else in the hour after that. Canada has some of the highest rates of Crohn’s and colitis in the world.

These diseases cause the body to attack its own digestive tract, leading to intense abdominal pain, nausea, exhaustion, and frequent, urgent trips to the washroom. We still don’t know exactly what causes Crohn’s or colitis, and that makes the diseases difficult to treat.

Taking on the challenges of Crohn’s or colitis takes courage, community, and you. 

On Sunday, August 23, 2020, I’ll be taking part in the 25th annual Gutsy Walk so that Crohn’s and Colitis Canada can fund the most promising research into these diseases, and continue to offer essential patient support programs. I’m here to ask you to please donate to my walk and help me reach my fundraising goal.

Your contribution will help uncover better treatments, help people with Crohn’s or colitis live fuller lives, and ultimately lead us to cures.

Please visit my personal fundraising page to make your donation to my virtual walk:

Thank you for supporting me, and everyone who’s taking on Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

You Might Be a Crohnie

If you look at a small roll of 1-ply toilet paper and giggle...
you might be a Crohnie

Thursday, April 16, 2020

IBD and Mental Health

It's never easy having an illness of any kind, let alone an illness you have no idea how you got, nor can you cure it.

It's bad enough to cope day to day, no, hour by hour with IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) because you just never know when it's going to raise it's ugly head.

So, with the pain and suffering of IBD, add anxiety and depression.  No one sees what you're going through battling Crohn's and Colitis because it's inside of you, but so is your mental health.
For many years now, when I talk to people who are newly diagnosed, I stress to ask their doctors to have their mental health checked as well. At least have your doctor give you information on someone you can call or contact in case you need it. You may never use it, but you have it just in case. I find now that social media is a great tool. There's nothing better than to be able to connect with others that can relate to what you're going through, physically and mentally.
I've come along way in 32 crohns years....

When I was diagnosed in 1988, I had never heard of Crohn's disease or IBD and neither had any of my friends or family. There was no internet to "google", I physically went to the local library to research the disease with the small amount of books available on the disease. To say it was discouraging was an understatement. No help there.
It was a year or two later that things turned for the worse after my second consecutive bowel resection surgery when my doctor told me to prepare for the possibility I could wake up from surgery with a ostomy and a bag attached. I was in my 20's and the thought of have a bag just was not even in my plans. I became very depressed and the doctor could see that, so he had someone come talk to me in hospital, that had Crohn's AND had an ostomy. It helped....a little.

I never considered myself an extrovert but also not a huge introvert either, but as the years went on, I definitely turned in on myself and stayed close to home. The pain and embarrassment of the disease caused me to shut people out and push others away. No one would understand what I was going through anyway, so why bother talking to anyone. I guess it was at this point that you find out who your friends are. The ones that will stick with you knowing somethings gong on.

Eventually, the pain, embarrassment, anxiety, depression and the like, got to me and I tried to commit suicide. I took a handful of Tylenol 3's and laid on my couch. It got to the point, I thought, I couldn't take it anymore. I had got it in my head that I was never going to get better, I was going to look the way I did for the rest of my life (skin and bone) and no one will ever want to be with me.  I was going to be alone the rest of my life. I remember taking the pills with a rum and Coke and then starting to feel relaxed. Soon after I started to feel light headed and sick to my stomach. I started to feel sick I started to get scared. Did I really want to do this? I didnt like this feeling, not at all, so I went to the bathroom and stuck my fingers down my throat to bring up what was left in my stomach. I didnt feel very well for a few hours afterwards, but I slept it off and was "fine".
I kept it to myself, for years, but in the end, glad I didnt go through with it. It goes to show what some of us go through silently and there should be mental assessments done along with regular GI appointments.

Over the many, many years I have had IBD, I learned to turn it around and make fun of it and laugh at the strange, weird, disgusting, terrifying, depressing, anxiousness we go through on a daily basis. You have to.  It's where my "You Know You're a Crohnie When..." came from.
In the end, it turns out I was wrong. I gained weight and I found someone who actually wanted to be with me. I told her on our first date about my illness. We will have been married 18 years this September and have two boys. Life's good but I still have bad days that my mind wanders to "the dark side". We all get like that. It's what you do with it that matters.

There are so many good people and organizations now online via social media that can help or just listen. I have people contact me now asking for help, guidance or just to listen  to them and I am happy to do what I can. I don't profess to have all the answers, but we all need help at some point.

I've been there... and back.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Quarantine Part Two

You'd think with all this time at home, there would be lots of time to make blog posts, but we've been spending time with each other.
Our 2 week quarantine was up last week, but we're still staying home, mostly, so no one risks bringing it home. We only go out for groceries, or deliver groceries, and that's it. My wife has been doing all the grocery shopping so not to put myself at risk. We are very careful still, even to the point of wiping down groceries before bringing them into the house.
It's amazing what you can get done around the house inside and out, when you dont need to go out.
It's still a little cold out, but I started prepping our veggie garden the other day and planted seeds in my little mini greenhouses. Luckily, my health hasnt turned for the worse, other than the pesky peri anal abscess that doesnt seem to want to go away. But, I know how to deal with it, as I have been since 1990 when my first peri anal abscess appeared.
It's interesting how quarantine in 2020 is looking more and more what life was like back in the 1970's. Take away all the devices and internet and you have the 1970's. We've reverted back to a time when you ate at home, around the dinner table... together. The board games and puzzles are coming out of the closets, basements or attics to play together... as a family. More importantly, we're talking more. Using the telephone to talk to people, no texting.
People are re connecting with family and friends.  People arent worrying about "me" as much and focusing on others.
The question now is, will people remain focusing on others, or will they revert back to "me" attitude? I guess we'll find out when all this is over.

In the meantime, cough or sneeze into your arm, keep social distancing and for God's sake