Sharing your health status with friends and loved ones can be difficult.
I was 12 when I started seeing blood in my bowel movements and having stomach pain that would knock me to the ground.
I was embarrassed to tell my parents, so I didn’t say anything about my symptoms for almost an entire year. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I finally told my mom, who took me to see my pediatrician. There, I learned I had inflammatory bowel disease and later, I learned it was Crohn’s disease, a type of IBD.
Since then, I’ve had a range of symptoms and complications: I’ve been severely underweight, experienced stomach pain that can only be described as feeling like my insides were shredding up, and had accidents, to name a few.
I’ve never let my disease define me, but I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t affected my life, especially in the boyfriend department. With my first boyfriend, who I dated from when I was 16 to 23, my IBD didn’t come up much. He knew I had to use the bathroom frequently, and he knew I had stomach pain, but during those years, I was lucky—my symptoms weren’t too bad. In fact, it rarely came up in conversation.
That relationship ended, and just as my symptoms were starting to rev up again, I met someone new. I was in college, and after living with Crohn’s for more than a decade, it was no big deal to me. I had gotten used to dealing with pain and knowing that I’d have to miss out on things my friends were doing if I knew there wouldn’t be easy bathroom access. My disease was just another part of my life. That’s why it took me less than a week to tell my college boyfriend about my Crohn’s after we started dating.
I remember approaching that conversation like it was no big deal because, to me, it wasn’t. “I have irritable bowel syndrome,” I mentioned one day while we were hanging out in his room.
|Read on: ‘How I Told My Boyfriend I Have Crohn’s Disease’|