The Mighty Logo

Invasion of the Autoimmune Body Snatcher: Crohn's Disease

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

I rolled out of bed this morning and as my feet hit the carpeted floor, I felt pretty good. I smiled. “It’s going to be a good day,” I said to myself as I scratched my pup on her head and made a promise to go to the park. In response, she turned in her doggy circles with joy. She longingly stared at me while I had my breakfast, the one I eat every morning. It’s easy on my ever-fraught belly. As I headed upstairs to dress, I felt the familiar sensation of pain in my belly. Oh no, I did everything right, not today, please not today. The pain is now intensely gathering like a summertime storm in my belly causing another heartbreak, again…

For those of us who have an autoimmune disease, it’s a crapshoot. Today? Tomorrow? All week? None at all? We should have been given a special crystal ball at birth so at least we could have a reliable schedule. Mine is shaky. I find myself trying to convince myself otherwise. I sign up for things, events and promise my dog a romp at the park. There are times I make it and while no one can see it, I’m full of confidence that I will never be sick again. I look healthy, (make-up will do that for you) rosy cheeks, combed hair, and a little lip color, and voila! Then the other kind of day comes, like today. I was totally duped when rolling out of bed. Being the optimist that I am, I am quick to have faith in the good, but unfortunately, this sets me up to be whacked in the back of the head by that sneaky pain. Once it settles deep into my belly, it can swell into my fingers, riding each knuckle with spurs on. Gradually, it hits my hips, then my poor knees. Crap! It’s that kind of a day.

Here I am in pain, say a 7 out of 10 and I’m discouraged. No park today for my pup, no gardening, which can actually help the pain in my hands — for today, I must give myself permission to rest, but I hate resting. Because then I know who won this battle and that makes me furious. What good does it do me? How can I be mad at my own body for going left when it should be going right? Ah well, I suppose it feels invaded too.

This sneaky thing has invaded my body, the body snatcher called Crohn’s disease. Oh, it’s a body snatcher all right. Snatches the fun and energy right out of me. It’s like a big industrial vacuum stuck on high. Finally, I concede and hit the couch but I will read, damn it! I will not let this body snatcher make me useless. I read, I bead, and I needlepoint. I do anything to keep my body moving so at least I’m somewhat productive. I never really learned to rest. I learned to keep going, keep going at all costs. But I will tell you that one backfired in the worst way. Many of us autoimmuners have the same fear of stopping. I sure do. I have a fear that should I actually stop and rest, I’ll never get going again. That the body snatcher will consume me, leaving me just a heap of broken body, skin and bones.

Not today! I’m going to plant myself on my scrumptious couch and rest. I do know that when I actually allow my body to rest, tomorrow might just be a little brighter. My darling pup settles in next to me, understanding that today will be a quiet day. Together, we plan for our next excursion to the park — after I’ve rested.

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Originally published: August 25, 2021
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home