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Why “I’m Fine” is Often Easier Than the Truth When You Have Crohn’s Disease

"how Are You?"

A simple question.

A question I often find difficult to answer because of my health. I think a lot of people with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (or the rare disease that I live with, Chronic Intestinal Pseudo Obstruction) struggle to answer this question. 

Same thing happens when people ask me if I am feeling better. I don’t quite know how to reply at times.  

I'm Fine

The easy answer would be “I’m fine,” or something similar. 

Having a chronic illness is such a complicated thing. One day you can be fine, the next you might feel terrible. Last week you may have spent in the hospital and this week you’re back to work. It can even change in an instant. 

I am sure no one really wants to hear the truthful long answer of:

I am fine right this second but it was a struggle to get out of bed because my Crohn’s disease also comes with arthritis and my knee’s are currently killing me so I am slow moving. Getting ready for the day took me much longer than it should have because I spent a lot of time nauseous and trying not to vomit. I am so tired because my intestine isn’t absorbing nutrients again and I am underweight so that just adds to it. Not to mention I am feeling down about myself because of the side effects of my medication. I am not in pain right now but just give it a few hours and I most likely will be… etc. etc.

Sometimes saying “I’m fine” is doing myself a disservice but I haven’t come up with a quick answer to explain to those who don’t really care how I am doing. The truth is that asking, how are you?,  is just something people do out of politeness but they don’t necessarily really care to know. Unless it is someone who is a valuable part of my life and who I know cares about the answer then I just answer with “I’m OK” or the equivalent because I don’t want to waste my time or theirs.  


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