What's my secret? How have I achieved the perfect anorexic model look? Contrary to popular assumption, I don't work out (at all. Ever. Just a huge no-no.) and I certainly don't ever deny myself food. That leaves us with option C: a Crohn's flare up. I can hear the skeptics now: I thought your ileostomy ended all that? And that presumption is what brings me here today.
Crohn's is a disease of the entire gastrointestinal tract. It can affect you from your bottom all the way up to your mouth. It sets up camp in your intestines and makes you double over with gut wrenching pain. Sometimes, when being attacked internally isn't enough it surfaces on the skin with ulcers that feel like fire. When life gets stressful, Crohn's will ensure that your mouth is ridden with canker sores that render eating unenjoyable. My personal favorite is when Crohn's causes poop to come out of a myriad places it's not supposed to.
The fact of the matter is, most of these symptoms go unnoticed by the person you sit next to in class or even your closest coworker. The only real evidence I have of this flare up is my rapidly decreasing weight, and I've found that all too often people think I am intending to diet myself into oblivion.
My ileostomy has thankfully made it so that the diseased areas of my intestines below it are finally getting the rest they need. The disease there lies dormant for now. After a year of my body adjusting to the ileostomy, however, Crohn's had to find a new vulnerable area: my upper GI. This form is not so gory like my disease of yore (pre-ileostomy). But it leaves me without an appetite, constantly nauseous, and doubling over at night praying that I'll just pass out instead of experience the pain.
I'm not trying to start a pity-party for the littlest momma here, I promise. I'm merely trying to inform, especially as I know there are people who are confused as to why and how I could get sick after my life-changing surgery. There is no cure-all for Crohn's. There is no magic diet (as many well-meaning friends have tried to tell me), there is no single medicine or treatment, there is no one surgery that will rid a person of this illness.
Crohn's is not the only one of its kind. Many other diseases, auto-immune and otherwise, leave people looking relatively healthy on the outside while underneath they are ailing. So please, please be mindful. There are a lot of people out there who you would never suspect who are silently suffering.
Okay, I'll jump of my "soap box", as it were, and remind you that your prayers (not your "thoughts") are coveted.
We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.