Surviving Crohn’s Disease
If you suffer with Crohn’s or Colitis then your life can be very uncertain at times. You never know when a flare is going to appear, when your next trip to the hospital might be or when you will be able to return to work or school. This makes planning your life very tricky and it can sometimes seem like you just never achieve anything in life.
Increased Flare Risk
It is very difficult to attribute flares to specific life events or to specific foods. Researchers have studied this issue for many years, and no factor—not stress, not diet, not infections—consistently results in increased risk of flares or worsening of the disease.
All your time is spent focusing on your health, going to doctor’s appointments, taking medication or going for tests. This can have an affect on your self-esteem and confidence. So how do you maintain some sort of life when there are so many unknowns surrounding your health? I am going to tell you a little about my experiences with Crohn’s so you know that you are not alone in your struggles and then give you some tips on how you can survive this disease and begin to get your life back.
A healthy mind is the key factor to overcoming this disease. Combining the medical approach with wholistic techniques to health are the major ingredients needed to remain positive and stay on track for a speedy recovery. Who doesn’t want that?
Waking up one day aged 28, newly diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and lying in a hospital bed after a successful career-driven life came crashing down, I was really at the lowest point in my life. To make matters worse, I was quickly running out of medications that I could try and major surgery was on the cards if things didn’t start turning around soon. I liken this time of my life to being trapped in a glass bottle where I watched the people around me going about their daily tasks happily, as my life came to a hurtling stop. No matter how hard my family and friends tried or how much people cared for me, they really had no idea what I was going through and that was very isolating.
In studies of patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, a proportion of the patients who receive no treatment will predictably experience improvement in their symptoms, and in some cases this improvement may be complete (although not necessarily permanent). This spontaneous improvement is more commonly seen in individuals with mild flares or mild symptoms. Simply monitoring a patient with a very mild flare may be reasonable management approach in some instances.
It was during this time when I was at emotional rock bottom that I put into motion a total life overhaul in a bid to reclaim my health. I started an intense and focused holistic health plan, combining the medical approach of medication and surgery with holistic therapies and self-development concepts.
I visited natural therapists on a regular basis, practiced daily meditation, created a vision for the health that I wanted to experience on a daily basis and faced some hard truths. I didn’t want to settle for a life of struggle. I had so much more I wanted to accomplish in life, so I thought, ‘well I have to make a change’ and began to explore ways that I could make this happen.
The following are some practical strategies that you can implement to make things a bit easier for yourself.
Resistance and denial won’t make things any better. Being diagnosed with a disease can be very scary at first, but once you accept it for what it is then you can start to work out an action plan for getting better.
You can’t change the diagnosis, so you have two choices, be miserable or choose to accept the situation and do something about it. With acceptance, you will have a clearer mind and the ability to formulate an action plan, which in itself will empower you to take control of your health again.
Staying positive is the key to a successful recovery. The more positivity you can bring into your life, the easier it will be to change your state, which will support healing. A good laugh with your favourite comedy is an easy way to lift your spirits (and can be done in the comfort of your bed). Surround yourself with positive and uplifting people who will encourage and support you.
Believe in your own strength and be patient, it may take some time to turn things around. Know that everything happens for a reason and this experience is going to give you strength and courage. If you can survive Crohn’s you can survive almost anything! My clients find affirmations to be a useful tool for helping them stay focused on the positive. An affirmation is a short statement, like an inspirational quote, that helps to focus your mind on your goals. Stick these up in a place where you will always be reminded of them.
Gratitude is the key to staying positive. It will bring more of what you want into your life. Being grateful for the healthy parts of your body and focusing on that will lift your spirits. I used to think to myself, ‘well at least I don’t have a terminal illness, I am not dying’. I was grateful for my working limbs and the other healthy systems I had working in my body.
This positive mindset will lessen the pain and lift your spirits as you focus on what is healthy and good in your life. Having Crohn’s Disease made me realise that I had such a supportive family and a group of friends who would be there for me when I needed them. I was grateful for them everyday I suffered with Crohn’s. I now tell my clients to keep a gratitude journal and each night write 5 things they can be grateful for during that day in order to stay focused on the positive.
Amanda Rodd is the founder of Your Real Solutions and has organised My Crohn’s Support your community to healing. Join and become a member at http://www.mycrohnssupport.com and gain access to a FREE and exclusive interview with Amanda on how she managed Crohn’s disease on a daily basis and other freebies.