Dealing with any chronic condition isn’t easy. The daily battles can be exhausting and can lead to a person not fighting as much as they should. Having a partner that is by your side through everything can make a world of difference in dealing with a disease, especially one as debilitating as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Being able to confide in someone about these diseases that most people don’t talk about, having someone who will stick with you through the battles and help you when help is needed is great.
The reason why I’m writing about this is because when speaking at a local hospital I noticed how many people came with their loved ones. Either a parent or relationship partner were with many patients. We began to discuss how having someone by your side during the roller coaster ride that can come with an IBD or ostomy makes a big difference.
Finding the right person to be by your side is very important. Not everyone is right for this job or can handle it. When I think of my support network, I think of my mother immediately. She has been by my side, living with me through this every step of the way. I’ve also been in some relationships were they have been very supportive as well.
The person that is your partner doesn’t have an easy job. They have to balance looking out for you, caring for you and being there. Without making you feel like a person who is always sick. They want to know how you’re feeling and anything that might be happening, but they have to find a way to not make you feel like you’re a burden.
Recently I’ve had some amazing people who have been by my side. People who cared about me greatly. They wanted to see me healthy in every way and would help me through what was happening during some tough times. Having a person that you can talk to at any moment about anything makes dealing with tough times, not nearly as tough. One person in particular I know thought everything I’m doing with the I.I.F. and helping other people was great, she knew everything that was going on with my body at all times and I was able to tell her anything without it hurting our relationship. It was great to finally have a relationship with someone who I could be completely open with and not have to hide anything.
These are characteristics have to come naturally to the person who is being your partner with your IBD or ostomy. They have to want to be there and want to be part of anything that might happen. In a moments notice you need to be able to tell them that you’re on the way to the hospital and they should be in the car on the way as well. They have to be the type of person that’s comfortable with spending the entire day with you, watching television while your body rests, without any urge to call or text any other friends to see what is going on. They should want to be there 24/7, by your side the whole way through the roller coaster ride.
I thought for years before I got my ostomy, that finding this person wouldn’t be easy since a person has to be very understanding with everything you’re going through. Since getting my ostomy I found out that it’s not hard at all these days. After dating someone right from my ostomy surgery for a year who was very understanding with everything I was going through with my Crohn’s, I’ve also found others that really don’t mind anything I have to deal with and want to be there.
Currently I’m starting to date a great girl and I told her about my Crohn’s disease. After a few dates she told me that she did some research and knew the basics of what it’s all about. My first reaction was to ask her what questions she had so I can explain my case to her more. Her response was “Right now I just want to get to know you for you and I don’t want anything that has to do with your condition to affect us. I know that we’d be able to handle anything that would come our way. Knowing the person you’re is more important.”.
Once again I was astonished by how someone reacted to my condition. For three years before I received my ostomy I imagined that my dating life would be over. I’m here to tell you that it isn’t. People are very understanding about illness these days.
She surprised me once again when the topic came up again and we briefly covered a few things, but she didn’t want it to become a topic of the night. She then told me that she had already been to my foundations site, read about what I’ve been through, watched all the videos on the I.I.F.’s Youtube page and that she was still here/not planning on going anywhere. She told me that she had questions she wants to ask eventually but none that were bad, just informative questions really. We agreed that when the timing was right, we’d discuss everything but I did tell her if anything was happening.
Finding the right partner that’s understanding about everything and wanting to be there is very important and can be very helpful. Someone who won’t be bothered with anything that could happen and will be fine with any curve-balls that might be thrown your way. Once you’ve found a partner to be by your side, dealing with your IBD or ostomy will be much easier. Waking up daily and knowing that someone will be there for you no matter what is around the corner will make anyone more confident that they can overcome any challenge ahead.
After having my ostomy for over two years now and living with Crohn’s disease for 19 years, I’m finally not worried about finding the right person and having a partner by my side.
Never Stay Quiet!