We’ve all said it before: “I won’t let IBD define me.” Despite the sincerity of this statement, it is truly difficult to carry out. There are times when we can’t avoid it and have to let others take care of us. It mirrors what Stuart Scott said about his battle with cancer:
“And when you get too tired to fight, then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you. That’s also very, very important. I can’t do this ‘Don’t give up’ thing all by myself.”
Sometimes we have to let the people around us help us in the battle. There is no truer statement. There are times we have to let others battle for us.
But what about the times when we can battle for ourselves? What should we do during those times? Live. We need to live. I don’t mean live with a “make it through the day” sentiment. I mean LIVE: do fun things, hang out with incredible people, and lead a full life.
Don’t get me wrong, this is tough.
It is worlds easier to say than do. But I’ve started to get used to the battle and I find solace and enjoyment in overcoming the disease and finding ways to win.
Full disclosure: I’ve been battling a horrible rectal disease. It’s something that usually sidelines a person – and it has done that to me. On a daily basis, I deal with leaking – on top of a never-ending pain. Sometimes, I find a position that is comfortable, but anticipating how hard it can be to sit or get up from a seat, reminds me that things are tough. Still, I’ve done what I can to not let it hold me back.
Not long ago, I was told that I do too much – that I make living with IBD look easier than it actually is. I have hard times, low times, and struggles for sure – but this life is all I’ve got. I’m someone who will always battle as much as possible, so even though it wasn’t meant as one, I took it as a compliment. It means I’m winning, it means I’m not letting IBD define me.
One of my recent wins: Last weekend Lisa and I went to some wineries. We ended up at one with an amazing view of cliffs and perfect weather. The entire time, I dealt with heavy drainage, but when I told my brother about the trip the next day, I told him, “I could deal with this at home or I can deal with it while drinking wine with great views and tremendous company. Kind of a no-brainer.”
In that moment, I realized that I’m beating my Crohn’s. Despite having to plan and prepare each day, being in pain, dealing with drainage, thinking of the future, and so on, I’m living. It’s not that I’m showing that living with IBD is easy, it’s that I’m showing that living and not letting IBD win is possible.