For my 18th birthday, I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. The very day I turned 18. If you're familiar with Crohn's, then you can feel comfortable skipping over the dirty details that are about to be delivered to the minds of those less fortunate.
Research is ongoing. The medical consensus on what causes Crohn's is largely inconclusive and unhelpful, its symptoms are chronic, and currently, there is no cure. Your unfamiliarity with Crohn's is probably explained by the 10-15 irregular, painful, blood-filled bowel movements I have every day. People just don't like to talk about the bloody shit you have to spend 20 minutes excreting every couple hours, and it's difficult to organize a successful funding campaign around the most repulsive---in this case, explosive---function of the human body. I haven't had a "regular" crap for months now.
Crohn's is categorized as an Inflammatory Bowel Disease, which means I have a very, very, very angry set of intestines. For mysterious reason, my immune system has imagined that my gastrointestinal tract is in some sort of trouble and has resolved to assaulting my colon and small intestine with inflammation. This wakes me up anywhere between 4 and 7 times a night for lonely trips to the porcelain throne, and leaves me with the constant sensation of having been recently punched in the stomach. Aside from the wonderful set of symptoms involving disturbing defecation, there are a few additional, limiting effects.
Because my intestines are swollen red and bleeding, my body has trouble absorbing nutrients and creating energy. My average energy level for any given day is only enough for climbing the stairs and standing up straight. I have to take it slow when I'm vacuuming, otherwise I'll have to take a 10 minute break. Sprinting for literally any distance will leave me gasping, and having a good laugh leaves me exhausted. I have to exert myself If I wish to bag my own groceries...
1 month ago, I weighed 98 pounds. I'm a pretty miniature kid, but I haven't weighed that much since I was in grade school. For all my life I've been able to eat whatever I want, whenever I wanted it, and I would never gain weight... but after just one month I've gone from under 100 to over 115 due to my medication. The medication that caused this, corticosteroids, has also caused my face to swell with water and has turned my pores into an active volcano zone. My face is best described as a pimpled balloon.
But these side-effects will be gone after I have my dosage reduced over the next few months and eventually my body will be kept in check by my remaining variety of "maintenance medications" or the 15+ shiny pills I will be taking everyday for the rest of my life. They are a colorful combination of antacids, immunomodulators, probiotics, nutrition supplements, pain killers, plenty I can't remember at the moment, and anything else the doctors decide to put me on.
There's plenty more for me to be concerned about besides the disease itself, as well. Namely, find a job, car, and apartment within the next few months because my family is moving out of state, and I can't go with them.
Now I insist that you not be worried for me. I'm not going to die, this can't kill me. I've typed enough for now on this tiny keyboard, but I'll be giving updates and such every now and then here. I'll explain in my next post why I'm surprisingly not so discouraged about all this, and you shouldn't be either if reading through this post had such effect on you. It's a gentle twist of perspective following the somewhat dreadful tone of this post.
Now, I know that all of you are eager for me to check out all the delicious content on your own blogs... but I think you can forgive me If you have to wait a bit longer. I promise, I'm looking forward to reading them and will do so as soon as I can.
Thanks for the support everyone. I think I'm going to enjoy this community.
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