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Normalizing Pain and Symptoms that Healthy People Would Seek Help For

“I thought I was going to die!”

“I could just die!” 

These are expressions I hear people use often.  I was just reading a friend’s blog and she was saying how people sometimes throw these phrases around but don’t literally think they were going to die when they say them but that she really did think she was going to die because of her IBD. I can relate to that, can you? Those last few months with my large intestine were months I was convinced I was going to die on many occasions.

The blood loss, right there in front of my eyes, was visual evidence that I was bleeding internally. It was terrifying! The pain is something I still haven’t worked out how to describe accurately to people because it is so severe. It is pain that frightens you to your core because you just know that something horribly wrong is happening inside of you. I was certain that my bowel was about to perforate any second and accompanied by the blood in the toilet, the high fevers, and everything else it made me feel like I was moments away from biting the dust. 

The pain, the bleeding, the fevers, the night sweats, the numerous urgent bathroom trips, the arthritis that made it difficult to walk, the medications, the weight loss, and so much more had me scared that I was going to die. 

Hello and welcome to my morbid sense of humor.

And then your mind starts thinking about that. 

About death. 

About what it must be like to be a sick person. Then you laugh at yourself because this IS what it’s like to be a sick person because YOU are one of them. “I thought I was going to die,” was real to me. 

These Things Stop Scaring You and It Just Becomes Part of Your Life

On the flip side have you ever become so used to things that you find yourself saying/thinking, I had no idea I was that sick! After months of going to the bathroom only to stand up and see a toilet full of blood it had stopped being scary and somehow just became normal to me. Next thing I know I’m in the hospital receiving blood transfusions and having emergency surgery. As I was in the hospital getting those blood transfusions it finally hit me, I guess I am doing pretty bad. Since then I have become better about this but I still need to remember to think like a “healthy person.” What I mean by this is that I have to ask myself if someone who didn’t have chronic illness would seek help if they had these symptoms. Usually the answer is yes and that is when I know I need to be more diligent about things. I forget that to a normal person my life would scare the shizzey out of them. So on one hand there is part of me who gets scared of her health and the things that are happening with it and there is the

other side of me that is all “I had no idea I was that sick” because I get used to this life that it somehow all becomes normal.  

A lot of patients, including myself, put up with symptoms and lifestyle that healthy people would not. We become used to things that most people would be alarmed about and seek help for. There is this point where you cross the line – things that used to scare you become normal. I think most of us need an occasional reminder that it isn’t normal and that we need to continue fighting for the best life we can life with the health that we have.

Sara

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