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When Your Best Friend Really Gets What Life Is Like With IBD

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Have you ever had a best friend? You know that one person you talk to on the phone all the time and even if it’s been a few weeks you can pick up the conversation where you left off. Both of you text constantly, visit at your favorite coffee place and confide in each other. When you are sick, she calls to check in on you. If you get good news, she’s happy for you.

This is my best friend. We met at an ostomy support meeting before she had surgery. She has ulcerative colitis (UC) (I like to pronounce it UCK) and was tired of being very sick every day. I introduced myself and we talked for a long time about stomas, product samples, life with the “bag” etc.  Once she fully recovered, she came back as a breath of fresh air in our organization.

We’ve been close for almost 30 years. “L” has been my rock whenever I needed an ear to listen. A while back, I had serious problems with certain people in my life. She made me realize based upon her years of observations, that they were harming my health and well being. I needed to go no contact before I wound up back in the hospital with another stroke. I’m sure it was difficult for her to be upfront and honest with me, but I knew she was only looking out for my best interest. I wound up listening to her advice, and I’m better off for it.

There was another time when I needed assistance in running the ostomy support group. I could no longer do it due to having a stroke. So I asked if she’d be interested and without missing a beat, she agreed. She did an amazing job for 10 years giving our chapter the PR we needed, took phone calls, talking to patients and their family members, and really went above and beyond in making new members feel like a part of  “the family.”

Eventually, new and old members moved on with their lives. We decided to disband the group and looked forward to the next chapter of our “story” waiting for us. Looking back to my first surgery, I don’t regret having it. Something positive came out of it, and she’s a constant reminder of what true friendship really means.

I’d like to tell her from the bottom of my heart, “thank you, thank God for you, you’re the wind beneath my wings.”
—Bette Midler

Originally published: October 22, 2021
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