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What a Day of Decisions Looks Like for Someone With Crohn’s Disease

Today began like every other day.

Savoring my one and only cup of coffee for the day, I look over my to-do list. I love the saying, “First things first,” and for those of us with Crohn’s disease, that often means: Do I shower today or throw on a baseball cap? Do I walk or drive? Do I food shop or make do, wear makeup or not… exactly how many spoons do I have today?

For those of you who are not familiar with the “Spoon Theory,” let me briefly explain. Christine Miserandino, a woman with a chronic illness, was attempting to explain to her friend about the consistent fatigue that goes hand in hand with many chronic illnesses (it certainly does with Crohn’s). She handed her friend 12 spoons and said this represents all your available energy for the day. Oh and by the way, getting out of bed uses one spoon, so now you have 11 left.

If you’re healthy, think about your day — do you ever have to think ahead about what you can or cannot do? For example, do you ever have to decide on little things like: Do I shower? Should I just throw on a cotton summer dress so there is no pressure on my belly? Are my hands too sore to manipulate buttons? Can I get to the pharmacy to pick up my medications? If I have to take a pain pill, I don’t drive. Can I get a friend to take me to the pharmacy? What if I get there and start feeling bad?

I wonder how long can I sit at my computer today before the pain becomes too much and I need to lie down? Since I live on disability, making jewelry brings in my money for prescriptions. If I can’t sit, I can’t make jewelry. Plus, making jewelry creates a whole other set of circumstances, such as, do I just do repairs or do I feel good enough to get out my metal-smithing gear? Should I make lunch or just drink something?

So many things to consider that a healthy person may not give a second thought to. It’s your routine. The only routine for me is routine blood work.

Well as for today, I showered and threw on my summer dress since my belly could not handle the pressure of pants. I nixed the food shopping and medication pick-up; too tired. I managed to work in my jewelry studio for about an hour. The pain began to take over, as did the nausea, so do I push through and pay for it later, or do I take care of my body and heed its red flags? Not wanting to pay for it tomorrow, I chose to lie down, get a cool glass of red zinger iced tea and chill.

Three spoons left. And it’s a good day.

Image via Thinkstock Images

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