Friday, February 4, 2011

Unreliable Data

No one ever said that things were going to be easy.

I’m 19 years old, going to college, living in a different country than my family, and I have IBD. Before it appears as if I’m campaigning for sympathy, let me be clear - I wanted this, I sought this out, I wanted to go away for school despite the crossing of the border and the problem in the gut, so to speak.

My last hospital visit brought more than I was bargaining for, which always seems to be the case. Over a foot of ulcers has taken up residence in my small bowel - possibly the Crohn’s, or an infection from my surgery... but most likely the Crohn’s. After receiving this information in my still-anesthized-stupor, it brought about a double edged sword. I was happy they found something that might explain my pain, but I was disheartened at the return of my IBD. Over the course of that day and the next, this brought about small fits of crying and frustration.

Here’s where I became ‘unreliable data’ - the doctors come into my room, I cry, try to explain myself through tears, they look at each other and decide I’m insane and/or depressed. I don’t have my Mom or Dad or anyone with me, I’m sick and tired and in pain and upset. No amount of my protesting changes their minds. They do not see the girl who has been constantly ill, finished high school despite it, has been on the Dean’s List each semester at BU, on and on - they see the girl crying over her ulcers. It is deeply frustrating and angering that my situation can be used against me to misunderstand and misinterpret. After all, all I want is for my voice to be heard and valued.

While I’m all for ‘seizing the day’, and storming the proverbial castle, it is also important to have time to be upset and inconsolable. For the same reason that grief isn’t considered a depressive disorder - because it’s NORMAL - being upset is a natural and healthy reaction to illness.

Doctors understand the physiological reasoning for our illness. They can hand out medications and advice until the world ends, but the mission is always only ours. It is maddening, and upsetting, and unfair. But just because things aren’t always (or ever) easy, doesn’t mean that we can’t accomplish everything in our wildest dreams with with determination, passion, and a little bit of luck.


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