Let me welcome you to my Crohn's & Me advice column. In the coming months we will be addressing many issues: relating to your well friends, coping with physical pain, making the most of the time with your physician, having a fulfilling work life, cultivating confidence in your sexual self…in essence how, as people with Crohn’s disease (CD), we can help take care of ourselves.
If you are reading this article and if you have CD, then we have a common bond. Do you remember your life in the year "BC"—before Crohn's? For some of you it is a distant memory, someone with your same looks living in a different body. For others, life BC was only yesterday. We all have our own stories to tell about how we first got sick, when our suffering was given a name, and what our lowest points have been.
I am a licensed clinical psychologist practicing in downtown Chicago. I also have CD. Like you, I have faced many obstacles since I was first diagnosed and I continue to fight to maintain my dignity in the face of Crohn's. I have had to rethink an illusion I once took for granted—that life is predictable. The sum total of these experiences reminds me that as a patient, my challenges deserve acknowledgment.
These challenges are a reality of any chronic medical condition. When our symptoms flare up, we seek help from our doctors. But physicians, with all their knowledge, are often learning about our disease right along with us. So how can we and our doctors manage and tolerate this lack of certainty? How can we maintain a modicum of humor when things that were once so private become so public? These are the kinds of topics we will talk about in "A Gut Feeling."