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I have a chronic illness, Crohn's Disease. It has been my greatest teacher over the years. I have learned so many lessons that I would not have had I not been so ill for so long. I have lost jobs and relationships because of my Crohn's and those too are lessons. Hey, not all lessons are easy, right?
I want to demystify chronic illness for others and leave a few words of advice from my years of dealing with such an illness. I've found that the best way to make people understand just what that means AND be able to relate to it is to compare my general state to that of a woman in her first trimester of pregnancy. If you have ever been pregnant, you've had a taste of what life is like with a chronic gastrointestinal illness.
Nausea. Many women experience it in the first trimester. Either they are morning sick or just sick all the time. Food smells can change your day from pleasant to begging Jesus for mercy while your head hangs so low in the toilet bowl you think you may drown. You can't tell what will set you off so you end up feeling like a walking time bomb, knowing that it is not a matter of if but when. This makes you cranky. People don't like to be around cranky people. With a pregnancy there is a light at the end of this tunnel, a BABY whereas with a chronic illness there is only promise of more cranky sick you. Or just sick you.
Have you ever been pregnant and had to leave a restraunt unexpectedly because of a smell? This is Crohn's life and it takes a LOT of patience to understand and sympathize. When you have chronic food issues people eventually stop inviting you to do things because not only will you not be able to participate but you will probably kill the fun of the group by having to go home or just be sick. Sick is not fun and easy. People like fun and easy.
If you know someone with a chronic illness try to remember that your worst days are probably on par with their best days. Try to imagine what it might be like to walk around nauseous and in pain for not just days or weeks but months and years at a time.
Some of my tricks for handling nausea life? Eat as fresh as possible.
Juice! Juicing is my number one go to when food seems like an enemy. The fresher the better so get a juicer or establish a close relationship with your local health food store or juice bar. These are expedited nutrients reaching your system and makes less work for the body.
Mint. I like to add fresh mint to my drinks. Peppermint candy does not qualify as the sugars compete though I have used them in a pinch.
Ginger. Works differently for everyone. At times I can't tolerate it but when I do its best in a juice. I have also found coconut ginger candies (I've only ever found them in Asian markets.) are a good secret weapon to keep on my person. Less sugar in them.
Marijuana. Whether you eat it or smoke it, it is the most effective nausea combatant I've ever found.
Your own chosen scent. Whaaat? I mean, there are smells that help. Each person is individual in what they react to. I try to keep a handkerchief with some essential oils in it on me at all times that way if I end up squished in public transport with Tina Nevershoweredever I can unobtrusively take out my hanky and breathe deep of lemongrass oil instead of a rank armpit which will leave me nauseous for hours maybe even days...
It's a battle.
Hopefully this little nugget will help enlighten you or one you love. Pass on what helps you and make the world a better place.