Having any kind of chronic illness is difficult, especially having one that seems as shameful as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). But one of the first steps to controlling your disease and overcoming embarrassment is to take control of the disease. You have two choices: to live your life as someone with a debilitating disease or to live your life as someone who has temporary bouts of a controllable illness. As a person living with IBD, I have opted for the latter. With a chronic illness come countless prescriptions, tests, doctor visits and treatments. These things change so often it is easy to forget what effect these changes have on your body. By keeping this diary, you can become an active participant in your treatment.
I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis my third year of college. The first six months were difficult, but I was glad to finally have a diagnosis. By the end of six months I was in remission and was hopeful I would be one of the lucky ones who only has one flare up and never gets sick again. Another six months later and I was close to being admitted to the hospital. My doctor put me on Prednisone and I went on with daily college life. I was able to graduate on time, but I still went through periods of immense depression with each flare.
With my first job out of college I discovered the Internet and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). I became a sponge and tried to soak up as many nutrition plans and eastern and western treatments as possible. The new knowledge gave me a power over the illness that I wasn’t sure existed. It took me yet another six months to learn how to control my disease using this newfound knowledge. Now, each time I start to feel symptoms I change certain aspects of my lifestyle and eating habits to prevent a flare. I am not always successful, but my flares have become short lived.
I have learned many new things about myself since my diagnosis. Sometimes it is easy to laugh about my illness and poke fun at myself. Other times, if I feel like crying, I let myself. Some may consider this a sign of weakness, but sometimes being weak makes me feel strong later. I’ve learned that I can accomplish more than I give myself credit for and that I truly am no different from others.
For more information or treatment in Florida for Crohn’s or other inflammatory bowel disorders, get in touch with the office of Dr. Vikram Tarugu to make an appointment.