Tales of Triumph

For me, living with IBD is just another hurdle that I have to deal with. I have never been a healthy person, and having IBD doesn’t help. I have been to doctor after doctor since I was three years old. I used to have sharp abdominal pains that would make me bend over, but I can happily say that I haven’t had that for awhile, not since I changed my diet and decided to exercise more.

I have to watch what I eat, make sure I drink plenty of water, exercise as often as I can, and take medication. I also take vitamins. I’m not sure if that helps but it can’t hurt! I used to love having a glass of wine once in awhile, but now I have to avoid alcohol. Having to stick with non-alcoholic beverages while other people drink wine is hard sometimes, especially when people ask why I can’t drink. For me, diet is everything when living with IBD. I try to stay away from processed foods, soda pop, alcohol, and anything else that isn’t healthy. The foods you put into your body can either make you feel worse or make you feel better. Sure, sometimes I stray and have the odd donut or bag of chips, but I sure feel bad after I do that.

Changing my diet has made me feel like a new person. I have fewer flare-ups, less pain, and less stress. I smile more too. Another thing that helps is having a positive attitude. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I smile and tell myself that it could be worse, that somebody out there in this world has it worse than I do! It’s all about perspective. If you have a positive attitude, then you feel better about yourself and have less stress. Having stress in your life is not something that helps people living with IBD.

My advice for other people living with IBD is to eat well, exercise, and get as much information as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor questions! Talking to other people living with IBD also helps, and it’s nice to know that there are other people who understand what living with IBD is like. We all need a support system, whether it is your friends, family, or other people living with IBD.

I hope my story helps people to realize that having IBD doesn’t define you as a person. You can live with this and have a happy, somewhat healthy life. The number one thing to remember is that you can live with IBD as long as you manage it with the right medications, diet, exercise, or whatever works for you. And remember that you are still you, even with IBD.

Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Instead, get out there, live your life, and smile. We all have health problems of some kind, but it’s how we deal with them that’s really important.

First published in the Inside Tract® newsletter issue 191 – 2014