Northwest NEWS

May 21, 2001


Writer takes deep breaths and thinks of his motto to relax

Crohn's and colitis aren't the end of the world; they are just obstacles that some people don't even try to go around, unlike me. When I first got colitis I would do nothing in the way of camping, hiking, biking, skiing, or sports. The reason I never did things like that was because I was afraid of not being able to get to the bathroom in time or worry about slowing people down. That is one of the symptom's of Crohn's and colitis, both the need to use the bathroom often and without notice.
   I now take prednisone, mesalamine, 6mp, and some other vitamins, which keep me from being sick all the time. Medications don't help if one has had too much candy or junk food or foods such as salad or bacon. I have learned the art of going to the bathroom while enjoying nature (squatting behind a bush). So now I can go camping without the need of a toilet in the close vicinity of where we are.
   I just need to bring along some toilet paper so I can go use a bush. It is still hard to play sports because you can't just stop playing and run to the john. I have to have a sub then I have to run to the john. So before a game I eat healthy food so I don't get sick during the game and that way I won't have to miss any of the game while I'm in the john and that makes it a lot more fun to play.
   Another big problem is the thought of telling your friends and if you do, what they what they will do to you, like if they tease you or if they will be understanding and help you out as much as possible. Most of my friends understood once I told them what it does to you. Stress is one of most problem causes for flare-ups. You can't always control stress so you can get sick even if you haven't eaten anything that normally makes you feel sick.
   To help relieve stress I have a motto that helps; it is, "if it is going to happen then it's going to happen so there isn't much you can do about it so don't worry about what you cannot control." That always helps me. I just take some deep breaths and think of my motto and it helps me relax quite well.
   But if it is homework then to help not get stressed out then I just do it as early as I can. For those of you like me and you have colitis there has been some recent studies that indicate a possible cure but unfortunately for you with Crohn's there is no absolute cure.
   If you have Crohn's or colitis, believe it or not, you and I are not the only ones who have it. There are about 1 million people in the US who have either Crohn's or colitis. For adults reading this right now you probably won't get it because it is normally started in kids, but it is still possible that you might get it, although your chances are a lot less than a kids. It is still believed not to be hereditary, so don't worry about giving it to your kids.
   Now if you have Crohn's or colitis then you already know how it feels to have it and hopefully you got something from this letter. For you that don't have it, I hope this little snapshot into the life of someone who has Crohn's or colitis was informative and I know you are thankful you don't have it either.
   Kurtis Dahl