Day 17 #NHBPM – My Strengths and Weaknesses List


Today we had a choice for our post to list our strengths and weaknesses or make a playlist.  Well, if you read my blog, you will see that I have done the playlist before, so I figured I will do something new..and list my strengths and weaknesses.

Strengths:

My first strength is compassion.  It used to be a weakness but lately, I have had so much of it.  It wasn’t until I had my worst flare that I started to understand my disease.  I never truly understood it before so my compassion towards others wasn’t as strong.  Now that I have had a healthy dose of reality, I feel for everyone.  It has been my driving force behind this blog.

Determination.  When I put my mind to something, I go for it.  This blog is proof of it.  I wanted to really start to help people.  I first started with video but didn’t like it.  Instead of just stopping I decided to try writing.  I tried 2 other sites previously but didn’t like how the blog was coming out.  I could have given up again.  Instead, I kept looking for a good website to use and here I am.

Willing to Learn.  I am like a sponge.  I try to absorb as much information as I can about a subject.  In this past year alone I have learned more about my disease and treatments then I knew about it all my life.

 

Weaknesses:

Stubborn.  My wife will agree with this one.  I am a very stubborn person and sometimes this will stop me from learning things.  If I think I am right or know something, sometime it takes a while to convince me otherwise.  I am trying real hard lately not to be as stubborn.  I think it is working as it has caused me to be more empathetic towards others.

Ignorance.  I say this because for many years I kind of chose to be ignorant about my disease.  I didn’t choose to learn more over time and never chose to learn about new treatments.  Of course, this is changing also and I have decided to open my eyes more.

Lack of concentration.  This I blame on the CD because…….wait…what I was I just thinking… 🙂  Just kidding.  I say this one because sometimes I have a really good idea and try to come through on making it happen.  But then I lose sight of it and just stop focusing on it.

 

Well, I am sure there are more of both strengths and weaknesses.  I am curious if anyone notices something in me they would say is a strength of weakness.  Let me know.  I want to improve myself and would love any feedback.

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Day 16 #NHBPM – How You Take Time for Yourself


Time for myself.  What is that?

I am sure a lot of people ask that question these days.  We live in a busy fast pace world.  No one seems to stop and smell the roses.  We work 8-10 hours a day, spend about 2-3 hours commuting and 6-8 hours sleeping.  That is about 16-21 hours out of our lives, leaving anywhere from 3-8 hours to eat, shower, do chores, etc.  So time for myself…again, what is that?

Sad thing is that for us IBDers, stress is a big factor.  It is know that the more stress you have, the more likely you will have a flare or it makes it harder to come out of one.  We need to listen to our bodies when it tells us STOP!  Let Me REST!!

For me, I make sure to factor in some time to just chill and relax.  I try to spend some hours at night just vegging out.  This may be watching television or playing on the computer.  But it is time for my body to relax and unwind.  About every 4-5 weeks, I get messages.  This helps in releasing the body of stress and it is a time for me to relax and not think about anything.

There are so many ways for a person to make some time for themselves.  One way is to take a class.  It can be anything from educational to fitness to recreational.   The reason I say a class is that they are usually scheduled ahead of time.  This forces you to put it on a calendar and make the time for it.

Another way to make time (and this is more for the ladies) is instead of taking a shower, draw yourself a bath and take a 1/2 hour or an hour to soak it up and relax.  If you have kids, tell your spouse to watch over them for that time.  Have some wine, play some relaxing music or read a book in there.

Lastly, on the days off from work, instead of doing chores, take your loved one out and have some fun.  Go to a movie or museum.  Go for a hike if you like.  Whatever it is, just do it.  Don’t hesitate.  If you don’t make the attempt, you will never do it and you will just keep yourself stressed.

Now I know some of you are going to say that they just don’t have the time to do these things.  I say, you do, you just don’t know it.  If you have a kid, get a babysitter.  If you work real long hours, then see about taking a personal day one day.  If you just make excuses of why you can’t do it, then you need to look at yourself and ask why you’re not making the time.

Crohn’s and Colitis is a tricky disease.  We can go for years with no problems and then suddenly, BAM, we are sick for months on end.  If we don’t take the time now for ourselves, we might regret it.   No matter the situation you are in, there is always a couple of hours in the day to take as a “Me” time.

So go do it now.  Step away from the computer and go enjoy yourself with a loved one and do something fun.  Go bowling.  Go see a movie.  Go to a museum.  Doesn’t matter what you do….just go and do it.

Day 13 #NHBPM – Write about something taboo


National Health Blog Post Month!

 

Poop, bum brownie, dookie, turd, water log, and the all time favorite, doodie.  Have you guessed what I am going to talk about today?

When it comes to IBD, there is no shortage of taboo subjects.  Pretty much everything surrounding the diseases are not pleasant to talk about, especially the acts surrounding the disease.  No one talks about going to the bathroom, especially if you’re a woman.  It is seen as an unattractive thing and most women will never touch the subject.

But what do you do when you life all of a sudden revolves around the bathroom.  I think about the Humira commercial where you see this person walking in a circle always being near a bathroom.  That is what Crohn’s and Colitis does to a person.  Whether we like it or not, our bowls take over our lives.

No one really ever wants to talk about their poop.  I agree it is disgusting and not something pleasant to talk about.  But after you have had some bowel accidents you learn to live with it.  It’s amazing that we are so obsessed with the food that goes into our mouths but once we swallow it, we forget all about it.  The food gets digested and turns into that taboo subject.

So why are we so skittish to talk about dropping the kids off at the pool (one of my favorite sayings).  I think it is because it is deemed a filthy and unclean act and we as humans want to be clean.  We live in a society where we take daily showers and use hand sanitizers.  When we eat things like lobster, we wear plastic bibs to keep us clean and use wet naps afterwards to clean our hands.  Now I used this example because lobsters are considered unclean.   They live at the bottom of the ocean and eat the poo of other animals.  Have you ever wore a bib when you ate a salad or wiped your hands using a wet nap after eating a hamburger?

The thing with poo is that our IBD lives revolve around it whether we like it or not.  For a lot of us, it is in the form a diarrhea.  With diarrhea come urgency.  People with IBD have little control over their sphincter muscle.  When we have to go, we have at most one minute to get to a toilet. Many people don’t understand that.   I have read so many stories that start off, “We were riding in the car and I said I have to go.  My spouse said, I will pull over at the next exit”  What that person doesn’t understand is that the next exit could be miles away.  We don’t have that time.  Now truly means now with us.

Lately I have been hearing more stories about people having accidents or going on the side of the road.  More and more people with IBD are starting to open up on the subject.  I love it because we are all in the same boat.  I think we have all been there at one point.  Talking about it gives us comfort to know we are still normal.  It also helps take away the stress associated with it.

Another thing about poo, is that it can tell a lot about our health.  Doctors can use it to find out if we have certain ailments or diseases.  They can see what our body is digesting and what they aren’t.   Now I am reminded of the song from Scrubs…and I will end it with the video and lyrics.

Everything Comes Down To Poo Lyrics – Scrubs

J.D.: Hey, Ms. Miller — we just need a stool sample
Patti: Why do you need a stool sample if you think I’m just a nut?
Turk & JD: ‘Cause the answer’s not in your head, my dear — it’s in your
butt!
J.D.: You see….
Everything comes down to poo!
From the top of your head, to the sole of your shoe
We can figure out what’s wrong with you by lookin’ at your poo!
Turk?
Turk: Do you have a hemorrhoid or is it rectal cancer?
When you flush your dookie down, you flush away the answer!
J.D.: It doesn’t really matter if it’s hard or if it’s loose
We’ll figure out what’s ailing you, as long as it’s a deuce!
Yes!
Everything comes down to poo!
Nurses: Everything comes down to poo!
J.D.: Cardiovascular and lymphatic, yes, the nervous system, too!

All across the nation, we trust in defecation!
Everything comes down to poo!
Turk: If you want to know what’s wrong, don’t sit and act so cool
Just be a man and eat some bran, and drop the kids off at the pool!
Robed Woman: My stomach hurts
J.D: Check the poo
Limping Woman: I sprained my ankle
Turk: Check the poo!
Bloody Shoulder Guy: I was shot!
J.D: Check the poo!
Delivery Guy: A homeless guy threw poo in my eye!
Turk: Check the poo!
Delivery Guy: Mine or his?
J.D: First him, then you!
It may sound gross, you may say “shush!”
J.D. & Turk: But we need to see what comes out of your tush!
Because!
All: Everything comes down to poo!
Whether it’s a tumor or a touch of the flu!
J.D. & Turk: Please, won’t you pinch us off a big, fat clue!
Turk: Our number one test is your Number Two!
All: If there’s no breeze, light a match please!
Everything comes down to —
J.D.: Doo-doo!
Turk: Doo-doo!
J.D.: Doo-doo!
Turk: Doo-doo!
All: Everything comes down to … poo!

Day 12 #NHBPM – Advice for Newly Diagnosed Patients


National Health Blog Post Month!

Today I am using one of the bonus topics.  When I saw this topic I knew I had to write about it.  It is one of the reasons I started this blog.

To anyone reading this and are newly diagnosed with either Colitis or Crohn’s Disease, the first advice I can give is….Take A Deep Breath.  Your life is about to change forever.  You are entering a whole new world.  You will have a lot going against you and years of fights to have.  So take a deep breath.  Relax.  Stay calm because you have a very big and caring community behind you to help.

When I was first diagnosed in the 1980’s, I was given some pamphlets to read and sent home from the hospital.  I didn’t know what the disease was all about or what was installed for me over the years.  Now, there is the internet.  In a matter of minutes you can find out all the information you want, see tons of videos, and meet hundreds of people living with the disease.

So, now after you have taken that breath, take another and another.  Now sit down and create a journal.  Write down your symptoms, your medicine, your diet.  This will help you later on in life when you have problems.  Try to keep track of every medicine you take and how it helps or doesn’t help you.  Keep track of the side effects.

Now that you have done some work, let’s go have some fun.  Search the internet.  There are so many people out there to help you out.  There are a lot of video’s on YouTube to watch.  Some are funny, some informational.  Some are just video blogs.  After you have watched some of the video’s, come on over to Facebook.  There are tons of groups with people who have IBD.  You will soon find that you are not alone.  You will also find that most of these people will be very open to accept you in.

Now that you have had the time to see what the disease has to offer you, you have to take a mental step.  You have to toughen up.  This disease is a disgusting and descriptive disease.  Many people with it are very open and there is a lot of disgusting things.  If you are squeamish and don’t like dirty things…well, you will have to change how you are.  You yourself will go through some tough disgusting times and it will be easier if you are ready for it mentally.

After all of this your head is probably spinning.  There is so much information to take in.  You are probably wondering if you will ever have a normal life again.  I am happy to tell you that yes, you can.  I myself hold down a job, I have gotten married, and I live life to its fullest.  Some people do have severe complications and find it hard to live a normal life.  But nothing says that this is going to happen to you.  Stay strong and stay positive.

The next big thing you have to do is find yourself a really good gastroenterologist.   If you are under 18, you will need a pediatric gastro and in a couple of years find a regular GI.  It can take years until you find a good doctor.  Don’t despair.  They are out there.  I myself have had at least 6 GI’s before I found a really great one.

So now, do you feel better?  You may have a disease but know the disease does not have you.  If you ever have a question or problem, there is always someone out there to help you out.  And if you want, just ask me.  I will do whatever I can to help you because my motto for this disease is “You are never alone”.

Day 8 #NHBPM – Write about how you choose to write about others in your blog.


 

Here is a topic that I have never talked about.  In fact it isn’t one I had ever thought much about.  Thinking back over most of my post, I rarely talk about my friends and family.  Mainly I talk about myself.  When I look at my life and my disease, I look at how most of my life I spent in solitude with it.  No one in my family really understood what I was going through.  I remember a time when I was a teenager when my parents were practically dragging me out of bed to get dressed and go to school.  They couldn’t understand what I was feeling mentally or physically.  I don’t hold this against them because in all honestly, there was no way for them to understand.  I myself didn’t understand the disease.  As far as friends go, I hid my disease from them.  I opened up a little but never really let anyone into that part of my life.  My wife…my rock…she is the only one that has seen me at my worst.  She has been there for the good and the bad.  And yet, I don’t mention her much.  Hmmm, that has to change.

So, how do I choose to write about them.  Well, the truth is that I don’t think about it.  When a story comes into my head I write it out.  I don’t think about who I am writing about.  When I finally see a person appear on the screen, that is when I will stop and think.  I don’t want to make anyone look bad on here.  So when I do mention someone close to me, I will look at what I have written just to make sure it is all good.  Overall though, I try to keep my post about me just so I don’t offend friends and family.

Now, as far as online friends.  That is a whole other story.  I have mentioned other people before.  Honestly, I always feel weird doing it.  I try not to put last names and sometimes I will not put a name at all.  But some people are so big within the community that if I just put a first name you will know who I am talking about.  For these people, I don’t worry.  I won’t write anything bad about them, that’s for sure.  I know some people don’t like to be mentioned and if anyone tells me not to say their name, then I won’t.    I look back on the guest post from Sarah.  She told me at the last-minute not to use her last name…so I didn’t.

As far as the content that I write, I just write what pops into my head.  Sometimes nothing pops in which is why I can go a week or two without a post.  But I never focus on other people for my blog.  Overall, it is me and me alone that I want to focus on.  Well, except for my Follow Fridays..but that is to promote other sites where the people have already put their name out there.

Why I Write About My Health


National Health Blog Post Month!

So here is my first of many posts for Wegohealth.com National Health Blog Post Month.  The challenge for this is to blog about different things (they give us the topics) every day for a month.  So here is my first post and the topic is Why I Write About My Health.

It all started in 2011.  I was going through the worst flare up of my Crohn’s Disease in my life.  I was going to the bathroom a good 30 times a day and really couldn’t live my life.  I had been on numerous medicines throughout my life for my Crohn’s but nothing seemed to really help me.  By the time January 2012 came around, depression had set in.  I felt so alone with my disease and felt like I had no one to turn to.  I knew very little about my disease and knew no one with it.

I was diagnosed in 1988 and didn’t have the internet back then.  Whatever I learned about the disease came from outdated books and pamphlets.  For most of my life I survived and got through my problems.  My disease never really interfered with my life so I let it be.  Now, that it was taking over my life, I didn’t know where to turn to.

Like most people with problems, I turned to the internet.  In all honesty, I was so bad I thought I was going to need surgery and was looking up just what an ostomy bag was.  I had never seen one before and knew nothing about it.  I wanted to prepare myself mentally for what I thought was to come.  My first searches took me to YouTube where I found some great videos from other people with Crohns.  The people I found in these videos would go on to be my inspiration.

One thing these fellow Crohnies showed me was that no matter how bad things were, we could overcome the bad times.  I soon realized that I had ignored the internet all these years.  I started doing more searches and found so many websites.  I then turned to one of the biggest social networks out there, Facebook.  I started to see how people were coming together with their disease and helping each other.  I thought back over my life and wished that I had something like this growing up.  It was then that I decided I wanted to help out.  I made up my mind that I wanted to help others out and let everyone out there with IBD know that they don’t have to be alone like I was.

My first attempt was to make some videos but this wasn’t for me.  I felt very awkward talking to a camera.  I also couldn’t interact with anyone doing this.  So, I decided to write instead of talking and turned to Tumblr.  This was fine for a little while but I soon learned that the site was more for sharing Memes.  Finally I turned to WordPress and now I have this website.  I have my own space to share my experiences and a place for others to feel comfortable to open up about their experiences.

Here it is now at the end of 2012.  I have come a long way in such a short time.  My main goal from the start has not changed though and that is why I write about my health……I don’t ever want anyone with IBD to feel alone.