November is Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Month here in Canada. To help raise awareness and the profile of Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada has put together a very powerful radio, television, print and digital campaign to help drive home how prevalent and debilitating these diseases are.
The thing about Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis that is so important for you to understand is that it affects 1 in 150 Canadians and more and more children under the age of 10 are being diagnosed with these diseases.
There is no known cause for either disease. There are no known cures for either disease. Instead it’s surgery, invasive procedures, a long list of drugs with side effects are often equally as horrible as the diseases, and that feeling of just always wondering how today will be.
I’ve been in a “remission” for almost a year now. This is the longest that I’ve been in a “remission” since my diagnosis in 2009. Yes, I trained for, qualified for and raced at the 2010 World Cyclo-Cross Championships in Tabor, Czech Republic while very sick. This doesn’t mean that ulcerative colitis is an “easy disease” to live with. It just means that I’m damn stubborn and highly motivated. My health took a rapid downturn in the winter of 2010 and it wasn’t until last December 2013 that I started to feel a bit better.
I don’t look sick. In fact I look pretty darn great. But remember appearances don’t mean much.
Even when in a remission the disease is always lurking. I’ve been feeling rotten for the last three weeks. Turns out I have an extensive blockage in my large bowel. Not fun. It’s painful. I don’t know how long it will take to go away. I don’t want to eat. I have horrible cramps. Raging headaches. Nausea. And to be honest, I feel like crap.
At times like this it’s hard to be positive and optimistic. Even when I’m told I’m “doing great” by my doctor, I feel rotten. That’s the trick thingy about Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis – there is no normal day – there are days that are better than others.
If you know someone with Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis (or both – yes this is very common as well) – take the time to really ask them how they’re doing. Take the time to learn about these diseases and help build some awareness.
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is using the hashtag #makeitstopforlife during the month of November – and is hoping to raise 100 million dollars to fund research into these diseases.