I’m Waiting for My ‘Can’ts’ to Become ‘Cans’ Again


I had a successful year with my Crohn’s disease after rebounding from a year that was filled with ostomies, surgery, ICU and intubation. I could “get up and go” whenever I wanted. I didn’t have to worry about going out and having “an accident” or “having a flare.” But I took my one year of being pain free for granted.

Can’t wasn’t in my vocabulary. Now it seems to be the only word I know.

I’m in that horrendous medical limbo where no one can pinpoint what’s wrong. My colon is full of inflammation and needs to be removed, but if that happens, I will only have my small intestine for the rest of my days. Family members have offered their colon to me in hopes it would help, but it wouldn’t be beneficial.

I’m also making the transition from the “kids world” to the “adult world.” I had been told this day was coming, but I never believed they’d actually do it to me. They wouldn’t just kick me out. (Spoiler: They did.) I had nine years invested in the children’s hospital.

I try my best to function the best I know how, but it seems like every plan I make, the word “can’t” always finds its way into my life.

I make plans with old friends — weeks in advance — then two days prior to the event, I find myself sending a text saying I can’t get out of bed.

I plan to participate in local pageants. I pay the fee, buy my outfits and then I find myself messaging the director saying I can’t participate because I’m in the hospital.

I do something simple like plan to eat dinner with my boyfriend, but then I find myself pushing the plate back and saying I can’t because I’ve spent all day on the toilet and food won’t help.

Always backing out makes me feel horrible and “flaky,” but thankfully, I’m surrounded by such a phenomenal support system. They just “get me.”

The lesson?

They won’t last forever. As my family always says: “Right now, you’re in the valley. The trip up the hill may not be beautiful, but once you reach the top of the hill, the view is great.” Soon my “cant’s” will become “cans” again, and it will be ever so sweet when they do. 


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.