Sunday, October 17, 2010

The IBD Accent

Sometimes when you meet someone, you can tell exactly where they’re from. It might be their southern drawl, or a British accent, you can generally pin down their origins. But sometimes you can pin down more than where they’re from.

This past weekend, I had the amazing honor of spending time with fellow IBDers in both Toronto and in Texas. As always, I am stunned by how quickly bonds can be formed amongst a group affected by IBD. An introduction goes as follows: “Hi my name is Jennie, I’m from Nova Scotia, I’ve had Crohn’s for seven years, and I just had ostomy surgery for it this summer.” Within seconds of meeting someone, you have absorbed their most personal information and all of a sudden, you share a thousand private and life-changing moments in your mutual histories. And from then on, you can hear the IBD accent.

It’s an imaginary accent, of course, the way things like Prednisone and Remicade and surgeries are discussed, the way things like toilet paper and public accidents and cheesy bathroom jokes are laughed about. It’s the timed pause given after a ‘how-are-you’ that marks both concern and support, the careful listening displayed for another IBDer. The accent isn’t as vocal as it is physical.

Everyone has had a different experience, and everyone has a story to share. I never fail to find talking with an IBDer more exhilarating than blast-off into space - for some brief, precious time, I’m sitting face to face with someone who understands my scariest and most triumphant battles, someone who speaks the same language and shares the same accent.

Meeting youth affected by IBD has changed my life. It has given me the confidence and hope to dream of a future as bright and any youth can, to hold tightly to my dream and never let go. The successful lives showcased before me has always been, and continues to be, a remarkable demonstration of what one can accomplish through determination and belief in oneself.

To everyone that I have met living with IBD: thank you for your bravery, thank you for your persistence. You are a role model for me and I hope that I can one day return the favor to another young IBDer.

Thank you for speaking with your IBD accent.


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