Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Ache It Like A Polaroid Picture

The other day I got to thinking whilst flicking absentmindedly through my virtual photo album (my phone).
I've always loved photos. Not of myself you see; I don't think I've been photogenic since around 1983 and even then I was probably screwing my face up at having to eat a Rusk. No, I love taking photos. Of my friends, family, anything the makes me happy or that I feel will remind me of my happiest moments. I have countless photo albums with Polaroids and actual photographs you can actually hold in your actual hands, from the days before I cautiously dipped my toe into the world of smart phones and digital cameras. 
I love to look through these photos when I'm feeling a bit blue or fed up. They remind me that my life isn't, and hasn't ever been, all about being sick. 
It's pretty much been confirmed that I've had Crohn's Disease for most of my youth, but I've only 'officially' had it since 2010. I don't like to think my disease has massively affected my life, but that would be foolish. And a lie. 
In the beginning, Crohn's made me unhappy, caused me to drift from friends at times, made me shut off from the world and generally become a misery guts for prolonged periods. But has it really? Or was that just my chosen mentality brought on by my situation. I fear the latter.
Although I constantly preach that Crohn's can have a major affect on your mental health as well as your physical (which I still firmly believe), I feel a lot of the responsibility falls on the patient to combat this. You need to take control of your life, in the moment and in the future. Decide if you are going to lay down to an incureable illness or strive to be the best you can be despite it. Again I choose the latter. I'm not by any stretch of the imagination saying I've gotten there yet, but I will. 
When I look back through my photographs I don't see misery and sadness, I only see the physical ravages of Crohn's; my hair falling out and becoming thin and dry, my moon face from excessive steroids, my stance; hunched up and uncomfortable, my skin; broken out and painful, my scar from surgery, the pain in my face and of course, my positively skeletal figure. 
These are all unfortunate reminders of how ill I've been in my recent past, but they make me feel positive rather than forlorn. I know the signs because they are documented and neatly stored in an album. I know what to watch out for when I'm becoming sick again and I know I can still live my life to it's fullest regardless, even when I'm at my worst. 

Say cheese! (But only a slice for me, I shouldn't really have dairy..) 


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