I have previously mentioned that I try hard not to think about things too much. This is for a number of reasons, not least of which is that I have a very small brain and too much thinking makes it sore! However, whilst doing some maintenance on my own blog, I came across a post that I published quite some time ago (back in the days before my switch to Blogger) that – once again – got me thinking and provided the basis for this particular blog post. So with that in mind, I shall proceed…..
When you think of someone who has Crohn’s Disease (or any form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease for that matter) what is the first thing that you “see?” Do you see the person or do you see the disease? Tough question isn’t it? For the longest time I considered myself as a person with a disease – not the other way round. I refused to be defined by my Crohn’s Disease and would get quite defensive if someone saw the disease first. In all honesty, I was an idiot. It was a simple case of denial and after seventeen years of living with Crohn’s Disease I still find myself falling into that particular trap from time to time. Well, I never confessed to being the brightest button in the box In reality, I have – and am to a greater degree defined by – Crohn’s Disease which means the rules in my particular game of life are fundamentally different from, well, pretty much everyone else.
However, to quote the line in the movie: “with age comes a certain perspective.” In my case this perspective means acknowledging that I am essentially both a person and a disease. As someone with Crohn’s Disease I am either in remission, in a flare up or (more likely) occupying that vast grey area in between. But in more basic terms, either the person takes priority or the disease does. I think this is one of those constants you experience when living with a chronic illness. That said, there is a caveat here that a lot of the medical fraternity seem to miss. In my experience, they seem to focus exclusively on treating (and giving priority to) the disease and not necessarily the person! I can see why that happens, but given that I am both, does it not make sense to treat both? After all, Crohn’s Disease and I are metaphorically two sides of the same coin – no?
One of my general beliefs in life is that nothing works in isolation. As a side note, this is possibly one reason why people who are isolated by a chronic illness – such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) – tend not to to work, or be, well. However, I digress….. To repeat, I am not just a person or just a disease – I am both. My sincere hope is that through globally raising awareness of IBD, more people become educated on this profoundly important distinction. And yes, that means all you medical people too So the moral to this meandering blog post is that the next time you think of Crohn’s Disease – think!!! There is a lot more going on than meets the eye and how you respond can make a world of difference.