For most of you, November is just a month like any other month, but for me and others living with Crohn’s and Colitis, November 1st began IBD Awareness Month and another chance to share our stories of living with the disease as well as share why support, awareness and increased research about the disease are sorely needed. So, let me begin.
Did you know that there are currently 270, 000 Canadians living with some form of IBD? According to the report that the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada put out, this number is expected to rise to 400, 000 is just over 10 years. In fact, in this decade alone, the prevelance of IBD in Canadian children has already risen 50%. My mom and I were shocked to find out this stat during the Gutsy Walk back in June. This stat alone should give cause for concern and should definitely make more funding IBD research a priority of our health care system.
I’ve shared before in previous posts about the many dangers and unpleasant side effects of most of the current medications on the market to treat moderate to severe IBD which I have experienced such as fatigue, migraines, anemia, and skin issues. The fact that younger and younger children are being diagnosed and put on these strong medications is why one of the things I’m most passionate about when it comes to IBD research (besides finding the cause and cure. Yes, that’s right. They still don’t know what causes IBD) is safer treatment options as well as more treatment options. Currently there are only 4 or 5 medications used to treat moderate to severe Crohn’s. In less than two years of being diagnosed, I’ve already run through one of them and had to switch to a different one which hasn’t been as effective at controlling my disease, meaning I may have to switch yet again leaving only two options available to me. This is scary because at the rate I’m going through medications, I may be headed for surgery sooner than I’d like even with sticking to a strict diet.
However, although living with IBD has brought many challenges to my life, I have also begun to come to a place of acceptance. As with any challenge in life, it changes you, either positively or negatively. For me, living with IBD has made me more aware of my body and the impact my eating habits have on it. I’m more in tune with it and have a greater respect for it. As God is the one who made my body, this has transfered to a spiritual level. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says,
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honour God with your bodies.”
-1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Although these verses are used a lot to talk about sexual purity and honouring God in that way, I think it is also important that we honour God with our bodies by taking care of them physically through exercise and healthy eating. I am grateful that IBD has caused me to focus on this more. Another way that IBD has positively impacted my spiritual life is that I have had to and am continuing to learn to give God control as my life has become filled with uncertainty and days of pain and weakness that I couldn’t push through without Him.
To conclude, I would to thank everyone who has been and continues to pray for me. They really are appreciated and such an encouragement. I would also ask that you pray for the many others living with this disease and for wisdom for the Drs who both research it and treat it. If you are at all able, considering supporting events like the Gutsy Walk that raise money for research and spread awareness. Finally, to my fellow IBD warriors, stay strong and know that you are loved, supported and most importantly, not alone.