Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Tea and Crohn's

Although clearly I am well aware that I have Crohn's Disease, it sometimes still irritates me just how much it has to be factored into my day to day life.
I try my best to have a 'normal' life. Whatever that is. I hold down a full time job, see friends, cuddle my cat, run a home with my partner, have hobbies, cuddle my cat, see family, have a social life, cuddle my cat, shop and pay bills. But often, and incredibly annoyingly, my illness needs to factored into all of these things. Pre-cursed by Crohn's if you will.
For example, if I go for dinner I have to think carefully about what I'm going to eat. However, things like red meat or cream aside, it usually doesn't matter what I have because I'll be bloated and squeamish regardless. I decide what I'm going to order based on several factors:

1. What am I wearing?
Are my trousers loose enough to deal with my rapidly expanding waistline? Is my too long enough for me to cheekily undo my top button without attracting attention? Might sound silly or an exaggeration, but with Crohn's Disease a tight waistband is LITERALLY THE DEVIL.

2. How much have I already eaten today?
Do I have room for anything else? This depends on how much I've eaten already in the day and how often I've been to the toilet. I usually feel full after a couple of biscuits so the thought of a full meal is often an intimidating prospect.

3. What happens after dinner?
Am I going home for a lie down or are there other plans? If I go crazy and pig out there is not a chance i'll be able to tolerate a night out without feeling I'm carrying around a lead block under my jumper and looking like I'm 8 months pregnant.

4. Do I have pain relief?
There's little point in bothering going on a night out without taking painkillers with me. I know I'll be in pain or some level or another regardless of what I eat, so it's always best to go prepared. Although not too prepared, as I found to my dismay after trying to get into a nightclub packing what looked like a miniature medical cabinet in my handbag. I totally appreciate how it must look to strangers but as IF I'd give away MY drugs..

5. Who am I with?
Will the person(s) be cool with me having to pack it in early? It's often difficult to balance keeping your health in check with keeping other people happy. Of course anyone would say 'No it's fine!' but often their face says different. I've been 'jokingly' accused of using my disease as an excuse to get out of things in the past, which is both ignorant and offensive. Although i'd use it as excuse anytime to get say from those types of people.

These are just a few of the BORING considerations I have to make before settling down to a meal. I love food. So I hate having Crohn's. I want to enjoy a meal without worrying about the consequences but this simply isn't possible.
I think have a slightly skewed view of food now which is unfortunate. I probably see it as a negative thing. Because I know it'll cause me pain and discomfort, it doesn't seem enjoyable anymore. When I couldn't eat anything or when I couldn't tolerate anything but yucky shakes I fantasied about nothing but food. It's essential for survival. The idea of getting what you need from liquids only feels intrinsically wrong. For a start where is the chew factor?! It's all wrong. But when you can't digest food what alternative do you have?
On the whole I'm mostly just happy I can eat without the same level of pain I was in before my surgery. I think about food A LOT. I get upset sometimes and kind of frustrated that I can't enjoy my food like other people, but at the end of the dairy milk I value my health more. Its not like i'm obsessed or anything..

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