“Hello..

.. My name is Louise and I have Crohn’s Disease.”

As an ongoing topic on this blog, I will be writing about and sharing my experiences when it comes to friendships and revealing your Crohns disease and how to talk about it. As a recently new sufferer, I’ve had to overcome some fears and open my eyes to some realisations when it comes to friendships. I hope what I discuss helps anyone going through a rough patch when it comes to friends and support.

It’s been a while since I had to introduce myself to anyone. I’ve been surrounded by my close friends and my work colleagues for some time now. Even with long distance friends, we talk and my condition is not a issue. But I’ve been wondering lately about how you breach the topic of conversation.. when it comes to Crohns disease.

I look at myself now, the open and honest person I am, and wonder if I could have been that way in the beginning. I can honesty say – after some pondering  – no, I could not have been as brazen and truthful about my condition. I can’t sit here and lie, to say that I’ve been completely honest about everything to everyone involved in my life.. its very complicated. Its a delicate time.

When I think about telling someone I have Crohn’s disease, I get a little nervous and worried. What if they don’t know what it is? What if all they think is of vomiting and diarrhoea and can’t see me through all that? What if they don’t like hospitals or needles or blood or pain? What if they think I am faking it? What if they know something about it but it’s been misinformed information, from years previously? What if it stops us from talking? What if they don’t want to know me?

I was this person in October of last year. I hid from the world. I was brazen and open in the hospital with people who needed to help me – my family, the nurses, all the doctors, medical staff in general – but outside of that, hardly anyone knew the truth about me. A few people outside the family knew; my work mom for instance. So did my boss, but she knew nothing about my pain. I wasn’t a person to her, and that still hasn’t changed in some respects. At the time, I was shy. I was scared. I was afraid of losing friendships I’d spent years trying to maintain. I was so terrified of being alone. But, it only kept me more alone, in hind sight.

I know exactly what happened to change my mind, and my life with Crohns.

Humira.

It gets slagged off, but to me it is the miracle keeping me here  – how and who I am, right now – for the time being. Those injections in the beginning made my life do an almost 180 turn. I went from being embarrassed and nervous about discussing my Crohns, to being able to talk about my medications and hospital stays with family and some close friends.

Again, with anything, it was all about finding the right words. It still is, some times. I now have, what I consider to be, my extended non-blood family in my life. Who’s strength will be tested when I relapse and end up on the Gastro Ward again. Fingers crossed, it won’t be for a very long time. For my friends who find me as their first reference to Crohn’s disease, they are full of questions..

Next time..

Discussing Crohns with close friends and old friends.

Helping acquaintances “understand” your condition.

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