Friday, February 18, 2011

Girl, Interrupted

The other night at dinner, my friend said that she had a friend who wanted to meet me.

When I asked who, she said the friend had Crohn’s. I got so excited, and my friends started to laugh. Then she said who it was - we’ll call him Larry - which made my friends laugh even more. You see, Larry has been the long-standing comedic relief, he is infamous for being a really nice guy who’s just a little small for his age.

My friend asked if his ‘pre-pubescent’ stage (as she called it) could be attributed to his Crohn’s. I explained that it depended on when he was diagnosed, how severe things were, and on and on, but bottom line, yes. I drew attention to myself, noting that I still manage to look like a 14 year old although I’m 19.

You know when you’re watching your very favorite TV show (cough, cough Grey’s Anatomy), when a BREAKING NEWS flashes on the screen and detours the show? That’s what I feel like sometimes, I was going about my merry little 12 year old life, and then all of a sudden I was sick and had Crohn’s. I had only been sick a few months before my diagnosis and it didn’t seem as though it would possibly persist year after year. My small life was interrupted, and each time the ‘interruption’ ceased, I was onto the next show, not knowing how the last one ended or the current one started. It’s a constant stop and start, one that seems to leave my life in the most awkward of zig-zags across experiences, emotions, and medicines.

It’s easy to wonder what things would be like if I didn’t have Crohn’s. It’s easy to wonder what things would be like if I didn’t have an ostomy. But eventually those things seem so normal - and expected - that it’s difficult for me to really understand that the average kid doesn’t deal with IBD. Before IBD found me, I was going to be a professional ballerina. I remember sitting on the grassy elementary school field talking with a friend and asking her what she wanted to do, and when she asked me, I told her I was going to be a ballerina - going to instead of wanted to because I knew I was going to do it. And yet, here I am now, almost 8 years and an IBD diagnosis later, wanting desperately to be a pediatric psychologist for chronically ill children.

Bodies change. Diseases change. Plans change. And in turn, we each have the opportunity to change. This is not the life that my 12 year old self wanted, but it’s the life I have now and consequently it’s the life I must lead. It’s heartbreaking that I was forced to change at a certain point, it’s unfair and awful that IBD causes so many interruptions to our lives. But maybe if we’re fortunate, it’s like skipping a stone - we might not always make contact with the water, but if we are lucky, we might just be able to create enough of a ripple to touch many, many other people.


1 comment:

  1. You are going to be an amazing pediatric psychologist. I don't know of anyone better suited for the job.