We all know living with an IBD isn’t easy. When a flare hits and symptoms are not a secondary thought and life is anything but normal. Many times we have to curl up with a heating pad for pain or pick a room to relax in closest to the bathroom. During these times life is hard and I’m the first to admit that many daily activities can’t be done. Life basically comes to a halt. When flares hit, generally we have to be at the very lease a little dependent on others.
But what about when symptoms aren’t our first thought in life? Can we live a normally and do the things we want to do? The answer is YES! Do we have to be dependent on others? That answer is NO! I don’t want anyone to get me wrong here, I’m not saying it’s easy, it’s in fact very hard. Yet it can be done, it just takes extra work an effort.
Being on your own is scary, being on your own with an IBD is even scarier. But being independent is an amazing feeling, even if it’s temporary for a few days. This is why I think I love being outside so much. Many of my activities force me to be independent, even just for a little while. Whether it be camping, hiking, kayaking or any of the other activities I love.
During these activities I’m forced to be independent. When camping overnight this weekend I had to carry my own equipment, cook my own food, set up my campsite myself and even take care of my dog. Everything was on me and I didn’t have a choice but to be independent. Yes it’s my choice to be out there, but for me it’s a great feeling to do something that I know isn’t easy with my IBD.
It takes a lot of extra planning. I carry extra weight to be prepared for anything, including Ziploc bags to go to the bathroom in, extra ostomy supplies, extra food, extra water to stay hydrated, pretty much extra everything pretty much. I even carry a two person tent even though I camp very often on my own, this way I have extra room for myself in case anything happens. All this extra weight makes it harder, but to me it’s better than being on my couch.
Hopefully you understand what I’m getting at here, it’s not easy but we can live a normal life and do things that healthy people can do. It might take extra planning and preparation. It might take extra work and effort. But it’s worth it. Even if the feeling of independence is temporary, it is still uplifting that it can be done. Knowing that you can live a normal life and do something a person without a chronic illness does is a great feeling.
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On another more personal note, the camping trip was a great one. I got to sleep underneath the stars on an extremely clear night. There was a meteor shower going, so the sky was filled with shooting stars all night long. This made it really hard to focus on sleeping. It was so beautiful to see meteor after meteor light up the sky.
I also took my dog hiking for the first time. My hunch was that she would be great at it and she was. Just bouncing from rock to rock. There were a few ledges that I had to pick her up and put her up on, but Shelby did great. My biggest concern was her sleeping in the tent all night. I even set it up on my backyard to test it out before I left. If there is something that I might run into on the trails, I always like to try to recreate them at home first. Shelby slept like a rock most of the night.
Shelby even scared away a Black Bear right before it got dark. I believe it was a cub, but still probably 300lbs I’m guessing. Black Bears generally are scared of humans so it ran away very quickly when Shelby starting howling. Still it’s enough to get your heart pounding when you see one only 50 feet away.
It was good to get out for the first time this year as the start to spring and summer was a little hard with my Crohn’s. Feeling better now, so I wanted to get out and camp at least a little bit.
Never Stay Quiet!