Welcome to the twelfth day of the 2019 Love Blog Challenge! Today’s prompt is Gratitude. Check out the announcement post for all the prompts and rules this month. You can still join the link-up for Friday’s topic, Forgiveness.
I am grateful to have Crohn’s Disease.
That’s a weird perspective to take, I know.
After all, Crohn’s Disease contributes to my depression. It’s why Dan and I don’t have kids. It has been the cause of almost every incident of severe physical pain in my life. Crohn’s Disease causes chronic fatigue, gives me frequent diarrhea, costs a lot of money to manage, and just generally remains a pain in the butt.
And yet I’m grateful for it.
Not many kids have their childhood disrupted by the diagnosis of an incurable, lifelong disease.
I was only 8 when my pediatric gastroenterologist diagnosed me with Crohn’s Disease. That was over 20 years ago.
They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I never liked that saying much. A lot can kill you. I’d rather not risk it, to be honest. But having Crohn’s Disease has made me stronger.
For better or for worse, growing up up with a chronic illness has shaped who I am today.
My compassion for others, my inner strength, my commitment to self-care–I developed these traits partly thanks to Crohn’s Disease.
Without Crohn’s Disease, I wouldn’t be as aware of American society’s unhealthy fixation on weight.
I was an obese child on prednisone, and I never forget how it felt to be healthy AND fat when I see yet another ill-informed person concern-trolling fat people.
I’ve been underweight many times before, and the reaction to my weight each time has been… weird, to say the least. From compliments to concerns about an eating disorder, I’ve heard every unsolicited remark imaginable about my skin and bones body.
Without Crohn’s Disease, I wouldn’t fight to end the shame surrounding bodily functions.
In middle school, I discovered shame. Shame for the inability to schedule my poops. Up until that awkward game of Truth or Dare, I had no idea that some people only poop at home. I’ve literally never had that luxury. If I were to confine all my poops to my private bathroom, I could only travel maybe 5 minutes from my house.
In college, I unlearned shame. There’s just something about sharing communal bathrooms with 30+ college women. College is a great time of living, working, and playing in the same place. Which means pooping in the same bathroom as other people.
Sadly, not all women unlearn shame. There’s still a stigma attached to women having bodily functions. Having Crohn’s Disease gives me greater insight into this stigma. It also gives me more power to fight it.
Without Crohn’s Disease, I wouldn’t be able to help others with invisible illnesses.
I’ve received many emails over the years from people asking for my help. Some of my favorite correspondences have been with teenagers asking for advice with Crohn’s Disease. I’m grateful that I can help them. I’m grateful that the Internet allows them to connect with me.
Meet Your 2019 Love Blog Challenge Hosts!
Brita Long is the pink and sparkly personality behind the Christian feminist lifestyle blog, Belle Brita. On her blog and social media, you’ll discover more than authentic storytelling–she’s brutally honest about pursuing a fulfilling and joyful life even with Crohn’s Disease and depression.
Mardra Sikora believes in the power of words. She uses both fiction and non-fiction to advocate for and with her adult son, Marcus. She is co-Author of The Parent’s Guide to Down Syndrome: Advice, Information, Inspiration, and Support for Raising Your Child from Diagnosis through Adulthood. Her work is also included in a variety of anthologies, national websites, and on her own website.
Kayla Whitter is a 20-something INFJ and Hufflepuff. She works full-time at a local university, goes to graduate school, and runs the lifestyle blog A Paper Arrow. Her favorite things include reading, drinking coffee, eating Chick-fil-A and Mexican food, and hanging out with her hubby and cat (Courage).
A life is made up of millions of little moments, each one building on top of each other until suddenly you become you. A you who is constantly change.
For me, many of those little moments take place in a bathroom. Or a doctor’s office.
I’m okay with that. I’m grateful for the life I live. Having Crohn’s Disease is just one part of who I am, but I’m grateful for all the ways it has impacted my life.
What about you? What unusual gratitude do you have?