Okay, it's a bit of a stretch to say impossible, but keep reading because I'm going to make my case.
How can I properly present Crohn's to people who don't have it? Okay, I've got it. Crohn's disease is an ailment where something is constantly begging to be released from your anus.
There, I just summed it up in one sentence.
You know, it's really not easy to write about this--like, at all. But there are millions of people out there with this sickness and I think it's time I come out of the Crohn's disease closet so to speak.
The major problem with Crohn's is that nobody really knows what it is. When I tell people I have it, the general understanding is that they now think I spend about seventy-five percent of my day hunched over in the bathroom.
"It makes you sh** a lot, right?"
Gosh, must we fit absolutely everything into a box the size of a fingernail, people? Crohn's is much more than going to the bathroom a lot. It's dealing with stomach pain, watching what you eat (and I mean that with every ounce of my being), and just basically becoming associated with things that smell bad by your friends and family.
If you want a technical explanation, Crohn's causes inflammation in the lining of your digestive tract. This makes the pathway that your body uses to digest food extremely small.
Now, let me break this down in an extremely simple way for you. In your experience, has there ever been a time when small, crowded pathways were a good thing? School hallways? Traffic? The sidewalk in amusement parks?
The answer is no.
Because our "pathway" is so crowded, food prods at the lining of our digestive tract, thus causing an incredible amount of pain. Then everything gets backed up and our stomachs expand outward so much that we look like Baloo from Jungle Book.
What? You clicked on this article!
So here's what we got: racking pain, rapid stomach expansion, and urges to go to the bathroom similar to the hours immediately following a Taco Bell breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Now, here's where things become impossible. Let's take a day at the amusement park as an example, which is basically like dropping a goldfish in a piranha pool.
Amusement parks have crowds, greasy food, and bathrooms that are normally light years away from each other. It's a nightmare for people like us.
If a sudden urge hits us to go to the bathroom in the middle of a LONG line leading up to a ride, then yeah, I'll leave that to you to think about. Seriously though, that could be the plot of a comedy film.
Even eating, one of the easiest things to do in an amusement park, is difficult. We can't have greasy foods, or fried foods, or cheese of any sort, or soda. Seriously, as a quick aside to amusement parks everywhere: you need to start incorporating salads or something into your restaurant repertoire. And even salads are known to make people run straight for the bathroom (Hint: it's the lettuce).
Perhaps the worst part, and the reason I write this article, is the embarrassment that we feel in front of our friends. Now, my friends NEVER make me feel bad for having to use the restroom like thirty times during the day, but it's still embarrassing.
I tell my people to go ride a ride or something--and I'm sincere about it. Waiting in line for a ride knocks off like 25 minutes at the lowest, and then after they've actually ridden the attraction the whole process has taken 40 minutes.
Sometimes they feel bad for leaving me, but trust me, I'm completely okay with it.
I'm so lucky that I work from home, because I know if I had to go into work at an office that I would be toast. I'd constantly be in the bathroom, or dealing with gas, or doing intense calculations in my brain about where I could eat for lunch.
I still can't believe how I worked in a restaurant every day for eight months in Disney. Literally every shift I had to hold in emergencies which caused me a great deal of pain. It's not easy to keep up with lunch rushes while you need to go to the bathroom. I'm sorry guys, I'm just writing what I went through.
I wrote this article very off-the-cuff, but I kind of have to. Crohn's is so debilitating and embarrassing that we have to have a sense of humor about it. I've been humbled so much by the disease that I no longer care what people think about it.
Living with Crohn's makes everything much more difficult, but as I alluded to in the title, it only makes things "pretty much" impossible. If I work out, eat right (bland), and drink nothing but water, then I'm in the clear.
In fact, I've recently found a bunch of ways that I myself have started to handle Crohn's better than before. And not everybody with Crohn's may have it this bad, but some may have it worse, and for those people that do: I'm sorry.
I myself had surgery to take out a good bit of my small intestine, so I know what last resorts look like. I know what it feels like to have your back up against the wall. I hope that my words make you feel a little less embarrassed and more empowered. And while I say that it's almost impossible to do things with Crohn's, I did travel the country with this crazy disease alone for four months, so I hope you're a little inspired by that.