#crohnssucks #ihatemyguts

Taken the day after I left the hospital with a Crohn's Flare

You know what? Having Crohns Disease sucks big time. When I was diagnosed I had been battling symptoms for 5 years, but by the time my surgery became emergent I was 24 years old. I was young, single, enjoying my 20s and very stubborn. I didn't want anything to make me "not normal". But oh I was "not normal". I worked in a hospital and on a regular basis after lunch I had to run to the restroom to throw up. This was the case for me because my Crohns was most severe in my stomach. When your stomach swells shut, there is no place for the food to go but up. I had concerned friends confront me about have an eating disorder. I had to run out of the room while treating patients before. And as I got older, I can't count the times I pulled the car over with 3 kids in car seats to vomit on the side of the road and climb back in to continue our day. I can still hear my oldest (who was most in tune to me) saying, "Mommy. Did you frow up?" {insert heart breaking} I never wanted them to know I was sick. And the treasured times that my husband and I got a babysitter to go on a hot date....almost always ended early for us because I got sick eating "rich foods"....aka not bland basics. I just wanted to eat normal for once and not have to THINK about what time I ate, what I ate and which way it would come out and when.

I am so so blessed to have reached a point in my life, that I am not going thru the above anymore. I still have my moments of nausea because my stomach is now too small and I sometimes overeat for its size. But I am living the best life I have lived in 25 years. My entire desire to having a blog and sharing how to make natural choices in my life is to hopefully help one person. If more, I am thrilled. I learned so many things I would have done or would have done differently. When I was diagnosed, I had never heard the word Crohns before. I had so much support in the hospital while working. I remember one of my favorite nurses, Lisa, saying, "Penny. It sounds like you have Crohns Disease." And my knee-jerk response was, "Thats such an ugly name. I don't want that disease!" Now it is a household name.

I try to reach out any way I can to people who are in the thick of the disease. I've dabbled with the Crohns and Colitis Foundation and friends of friends send people to me. Its amazing to me the people that call and just want to talk and hear my journey. I am not a complainer and I tried hard not to let my kids see me when I was sick, but sometimes that was simply unavoidable. I was in and out of hospitals for flares, iron and blood transfusions, procedures to balloon my stomach open, surgeries. Nothing stuck. And only pain followed. In fact, I would say my husband and I had issues in our marriage because I didn't tell him enough when I was hurting. But from my perspective, it would be all we talked about. Who wants to be with me then?

Of late I have made some amazing friends via social media that are truly in the fight for their lives. Many of them younger than me and my heart bleeds for them. I've mentioned my previous blog, which I will certainly pull some stories over here to share. But in that blog I hurt so completely and I was so desperate for healing. Each time I wrote, I unintentionally signed off with "I can't wait to tell you how this story ends." Chronic pain is nothing you want to deal with and when you are a mom it can help and hurt you. I got short and grumpy in pain, but it also helped me keep distracted from the pain when I had to care for my three rugrats.

I had an incredible and incredible doen't describe the support system we had of doers, cookers, entertainers, prayer warriors. We were covered to the point that I felt like my name was wearing the prayer list out. But what I would impart if I can impart one piece of wisdom today. As bad as I hurt and my tendency is to go to bed when I hurt. My feeling was that laying down made me focus on my pain, so I kept moving, exercising, going. My motto was get up, get dressed and show up for the day. Get out of that bed, get into your clothes (yoga pants allowed) and put your best smile on your face. That smile becomes real when distracted by the ones you love and praise the Lord, I had 3 little ones that loved and needed me. They were my why. They were the reason I didn't give up fighting. But after you get up, dress up and show up, my Lord, you have to have a good sense of humor. Friends....if you haven't experienced Crohns first hand, let me share with you something. Who wants to have an accident at 25 years old? Who wants to not make it in time for the toilet. Who wants to make it to the public restroom but have to REALLY use it when the other stalls are full? Who really wants to talk to their doctor about the size and shape of their poop? Who wants to wake their spouse up to take them to the ER at 3am? or even more mortifying....because you need to change the sheets. There is really no light in a disease so painful and so debilitating. The ONLY way to survive such a nasty disease is thru FAITH that God will sustain you, thru the SUPPORT of those that love you and the absolutely necessary ability to laugh at yourself...maybe not in the midst of crisis, but after. #everybodypoops #butnoteveryonehaspain.

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SUNDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2010 *reposted* Recovery (continued from 12/18/10) I was out of work and at home with my parents for six weeks.  For anyone who has had abdominal surgery, it is no easy task to r