Coming to Grips

One of my former doctors told me years ago, that I was in denial. It was 2005 when he told me, I was diagnosed in 1998, so that made it roughly 7 years I had had Crohns. I remember this day because I became outraged that he could even fathom that I was in denial. This particular doctor and I had a love/hate relationship because I was in his office at least once a week. The day he told me I was in denial we had it out in the doctor’s office to say the least (we had that type of open honest relationship). My only argument was “I’m not in denial, I know I have it!” He said you never take your medicine until the day you know you’re going to have blood work done. I for the life of me had no idea he knew that. -_- (And from that day forward, if I wasn’t taking my meds or I know I am not going to comply I just tell the doctor flat out. No need in beating around the bush, the doc will know anyway..apparently. ) That day I explained to him, that the medicines were not working. He of course counteracted with how do you know, you don’t take them. Touché! However, I knew that they weren’t working for me and therefore stopped taking them. For me if a medicine started out working, it would eventually stop or my insurance company would stop paying for it entirely because it was so expensive and generally was not even approved for Crohns Disease yet. It was around this time, they found my first stricture and surgery became the only option and as I like to say, all hell broke loose. So to help my case against the doctor and myself that I was not in denial the medicines were indeed not doing anything at this point. My doctor knew all of this; I was in his office almost daily trying to figure out what to do next. He knew despite our best efforts that none of the medicinal therapies were working. So why would he insist I was in denial? He said other reasons of course, but I was not trying to hear any of them…at all I always think back to this day because maybe I was or at times still in “denial”. The mere fact that I was so mad that he accused me of such probably reassured him that he was right. And I now know that he was right as well. But at that time, you couldn’t tell me I was in denial. It is a constant battle within myself between accepting my disease and letting it control me. And at times I think being in “denial” has helped me get through very difficult situations. I was determined not to let this disease control me and the only way I knew how was to not fully accept it. However, on the other hand not fully accepting my disease has in fact controlled me. So the very thing that I was trying not to happen, happened. People handle situations in different ways and I felt that “denial” was in a way my only way of dealing with not understanding what was going on. When I say not understanding, I mean I know quite a few people with Crohns and/or Ulcerative Colitis and our stories were just not lining up with each other. I was very confused at why some medicines/surgeries would work for others, but never me. I am well aware that every patient is different. Nobody is anatomically identical. And for a disease in which there is no known cause, there is no way that every case can be identical. Similar but definitely not identical. I am by no means saying that my disease is the worst known to man, I am just saying that typically conventional methods have proven not to work on me. Years later I realize that my former doctor had a valid point and every now and then I have to take a step back, check myself and come back to reality. I don’t know if I would necessarily say I am still in denial, maybe I was back then, but now it’s more of “coming to grips”. I have had Crohns for 14 years and I am still “coming to grips”. Yes, I am well aware I have it. I have come to terms with that. I just haven’t quite realized that I have it bad. Up until last year I personally had no idea how severe my case was. As strange as that may sound, it’s very true. My doctors of course knew and probably told me. Probably why if I called the office, they would say come in right away. But I had a case of hearing what I wanted and not facing the truth. One would think the constant surgeries and hospitalizations would have given me a clue. One would think that since none of the medicines were working would have been a clue. In addition, one would think that being in severe pain everyday would be a suggestion or at least signal some type of red flag. I knew I was hurting and that is subsequently why I was at the doctors every day. But nope, I was oblivious to the fact of how bad a shape I was really in. I thought that was how it was supposed to be. Nobody wants to think of themselves as being “sick” definitely not me. I am waay to cute for that. Lol! But hey, I was, I am. It has taken me 14 years, but I think I am finally starting to get it…I think. I now understand that when my doctor told me I was in denial. It was because I was. I had refused to accept the severity of my disease. And at times, present tense, I still do. I am a constant work in progress. I may have contradicted myself several times in this post using past and present tense interchangeably and that’s alright, because like I said it is a constant struggle and I despite my best efforts am STILL figuring out this here life of mine. But one thing I have finally figured out by force is I have Crohns, and I got it bad.

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