A diagnosis of Crohn’s can be a scary thing. What will this mean for you? What will it mean for your family? How in the world will you ever be able to live a normal life again? Believe it or not, it’s not only possible, but it happens every day.
People go to school, get jobs, marry and have families while dealing with the affects of Crohn’s. It may not be easy, but there are a few tricks that can make it a little bit easier.
When going to a party or other event where food will be served, eat before you go to make sure that you’re not tempted by the goodies you shouldn’t be eating. Keep a list of your “don’t foods” handy, too, and discreetly check it against the foods being served before munching.
Know Your Rights
Know your rights regarding the Family Medical Leave Act, and make sure that your doctor is on board to sign the right documents to protect your employment. Most schools and employers have forms to fill out that can help prevent later problems over prolonged absences.
Not only should you have a list of “don’t foods” with you, but you should also have a list of the medications you take, how much, and how often. Make sure that this list is clearly labeled and keep it next to your medical insurance card.
Exhaustion is one of the hallmarks of the disease, which can severely limit a person’s social life. Rather than give up all together on getting out during a rough time, invite friends over for a quiet night of movies or a game of poker on the days you feel up to it. Another option is to stay connected via the Internet.
Draw the Line
Some days will be better than others, and sometimes it can be hard to accept your body telling you, “No, not today.” Learn to accept those days as a part of your life, and instead do small things for yourself, like drawing, painting, writing in your journal, or reading. Consider them “Me Days” rather than down days.
Relax and Eat
Plan to spend as much time as you can relaxing before, during and after mealtimes. The more pressure you put on yourself while you eat, the harder it is on your system. And taking the time to let your food digest a little bit before rushing off to the next project can help you hold off a flare-up.
The medications prescribed for Crohn’s are meant to be taken even when there is no pain. Don’t stop taking them just because the flare-up has ended without first talking to your doctor. Make sure that you take them with you on vacations and that you have enough to get you through until you come home.
When you’re feeling good, take those days to push the line on what you can eat, as well as what you can do. Don’t go too far, but play around a little bit with new flavors and new exercises to change things up a bit.
As you move through life you’ll find your own little ways to make life fun again despite the diagnosis you’ve received. The most important thing to remember is to enjoy life as often and as much as you can so that you can make the most of it whenever you can.