Mary Horsley

@maryhorsley | contributor
I am a blogger, a Communication & Journalism graduate, a US Navy veteran, cosmetologist, phlebotomist, and, a mother of three fur babies. I may share too much, and it may be too often. With a recent diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease, Fibromyalgia, chronic migraines and infertility, nerve and joint pain, ovarian cysts, as well as insomnia, anxiety and depression, for me, It Could Be Worse. I will stay 100% honest with you, even if the information is embarrassing or painful for me, so stay tuned. Thank you! – www.ItCouldBeWorse.com – – www.marymhorsley.com – *Mary*
Mary Horsley

Woman With Crohn's Responds to 'But You Don't Look Sick...'

I hope this post doesn’t come off bitter or scathing, but I am so tired of people’s judgmental and malicious comments, especially when they assume you must look a certain way for sickness validation and support from your friends and family. I have enough to deal with, as do many others — why must I also deal with disease ignorance, like people saying I am “faking” my illness based on my makeup? Why do I need to look “bad” and feel bad, too? And what does that even mean? I don’t “look” sick enough? What am I supposed to look like? What am I supposed to look like to help you believe I hurt? How am I supposed to look to help you believe I am in constant pain, even with a smiling face? I’m sorry I don’t look sick to you, so why don’t I start posting pictures of all my fun toilet contents? I’m sure that’ll clear up some of your doubts. Just because I don’t always look sick and I put on a happy face doesn’t mean I’m not sick and struggling. Of course, I’m going to share my cute photos. Don’t you? I’m sorry I don’t post enough selfies or images from my illness, but you can’t blame me for posting photos of myself that I like. I am rarely seen with a face full of makeup, so I’m going to share those images for the world to see… You think of all things to fake that I really wanted to fake bowel disease and to be forced to discuss bowel movements for the rest of my life? No. Thank. You. I don’t look sick? 1. I can look “good” on the outside and feel bad on the inside. Of course the photos I share are “good” photos… I’m not going to share pictures of me puking or shitting blood now, am I? I can look pretty and still feel pain and be sick. 2. How do you know what I, or others, struggle with daily? Other than the info I share online through my social media posts or blog. And if we rarely talk, you can’t assume to know all about my life, my battle, my journey with this invisible illness. You think you know me, my pain level, my feelings, but you know nothing. Be glad you can’t relate. Be glad you don’t understand what I go through daily. 3. If I want to do my face and hair every single day, I will. If I want to shamelessly share my “good day” selfies because I’m feeling myself, I will. If I want to waste a day’s worth of makeup to sit at home, in pain, in and out of the bathroom, and never leaving pajamas, I will. You should know I do my face once a week, if that. Why do I have to feel bad internally and look “bad” externally, too? Why is my makeup a representation of my pain level for you? Photo via It Could Be Worse. 4. Crohn’s and other bowel diseases are not something that can be faked, so if I’m feeling like doing my face, know I’m not miraculously cured. If you think I don’t look sick enough, you need to rethink and examine why exactly you think every doctor I have seen is wrong, why every pill capsule I have had has shown Crohn’s disease, and why I am using dangerous biological drugs, because, you know, they give those out to everyone. And I guess that’s why it took two years for a final diagnosis… because the doctors love a scavenger hunt for symptoms like my pain that you claim aren’t real. 5. And finally, let me see your doctorate for gastrointestinal diseases, since you know what someone with an invisible illness like Crohn’s should look like. Why is my smile on the outside a representation of my pain level I am struggling with on the inside? Why do you question it when what we invisible illness warriors really need is support and belief that when we say we feel bad, we feel bad, regardless of attire, makeup, smiles, or happy personalities. I’m struggling to find the silver lining, so don’t question my outside appearance when you have no idea what I deal with on my insides. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

Mary Horsley

Recording My Thoughts During a Migraine Episode

It is after 3 in the afternoon and I’m back in bed. I had just gotten up around noon. My head is pounding. I’ve caught this migraine too late. Now, I get to suffer until it goes away. It could take hours, even days. I’ve taken medicine — I’ve taken a lot of medicine — and my head continues to pound. The light from outside is too bright in this room. My curtains need to be thicker. Maybe I’ll go lie down in the closet like last time. Light sensitivity is the worst on pretty days. Auras make it hard to see. The air conditioner running outside is too loud. The day is too much to handle with my head feeling this way. All I’ve had is coffee, though it feels like I have the drunk spins. My vision goes blurry, especially my left eye, and I see little fireflies of light. My head feels like it’s swollen with pressure. The ponytail holding my hair is too tight. I take a shower or bath with lavender and peppermint oils. The smells are too much and I feel it radiating in my skull. I sit on my bathtub neck pillow and let the water hit my back. I let a wet towel sit on my neck; sometimes, the weight helps. I wish my bathroom didn’t have the window at this moment. The sunshine hitting white walls only makes it brighter. When I stand, I can see every drop of water from the shower head as they fall, hitting the sunshine and reflecting a little glimmer and flash of light. That, too, only hurts my eyes more. My head hurts. It’s making me nauseated. I may puke. I feel better for a moment but even that is short-lived. Every m ovement, I can feel the gravity in my head. Shaking out my wet hair is impossible. I let it be, drenching the back of my shirt as it dries. I drink as much cold Gatorade as I can stand. Too much and I feel it in my head. Maybe I should leave it room temperature. I wear my dark sunglasses to help, the migraine glasses aren’t dark enough. Earplugs in because any noise is just too much to bear. I try wearing shooting ear muffs. They help the noise but they’re too tight on my head. The sunglasses I’m wearing are almost too much weight, even. If I don’t move, maybe I’ll be OK. Maybe I’ll take some medication and knock myself out. Maybe I’ll wake up with no pain. Maybe that would only make it worse; it has before. Think happy thoughts; endorphins and serotonin should help. It’s been hours since I’ve taken my second dose of migraine medication, an hour after my first. I go pee in the dark, in my other bathroom. I like this room because there is no light or window. I try to sit and not even open my eyes. My skull refuses to quit. I wanna take a power drill to my skull and chip away the left side. Why is it always my left side that gives me pain? The left side of my head? My left hand? My left-side ribs? My left-side bowel… I’m not all right, alright. Maybe I’ll take another shower. I used all the hot water last time; I wonder if it needs more time. I take a second shower anyway. I let the water beat my neck and as soon as I feel some relief, I get out and save water for the next one, if needed. Déjà vu as I move slowly and get redressed, barely combing my wet hair again. I’ll need to color it again after all this hot water on it, but not today; that would be too much movement and too much weight on my hair. I may end up needing a third shower and I don’t want to rinse it right after coloring. I can’t even think about dealing with that right now, anyway. More Gatorade. Drink as much as I can stand. I need to buy an electrolyte drink; I’ve read that can help migraines. I eat a peppermint in hopes it distracts the pain away. Crackers; I’m so nauseated I can barely stomach them but I need to eat something. If I do puke, I’d rather it be crackers than stomach acid and bile. I need to lie down. The phone is too bright and thinking hurts, too. I can’t think of anything other than the pain. I can’t stop wishing it would stop. There is absolutely nothing I wouldn’t do to make it go away. I eat dinner in the dark, followed by medication and a third shower. I shouldn’t have gotten up; my migraine is full-force again. Seven hours of pain at this point; I’m exhausted. I go to sleep, finally. When I wake up around 5 a.m., I am a completely different person. I can see without blurred vision. My head feels clear. I can move without immediate head pain and I am relieved. Now, I just have to be extra careful today to keep the migraine away. This is my train of thoughts during a migraine episode. Yesterday I woke up around noon; I’ve been having insomnia issues that lead me to sleep in late. Not two hours later, I could feel the migraine in the side of my skull. I took migraine medication and another one an hour later. I took all of my migraine meds and I still didn’t beat it in time. Once the migraine hits and takes over, it’s too late. There was nothing I could do but try to rest and not move. When I did try to lie down, I kept thinking about ways to explain what I was struggling through, so I jotted down my thoughts in between waves of pain, showers and trying to rest in the dark. But, when I woke early this morning, it was gone and I felt better; hallelujah. You are never more grateful for a clear head and no pain as you are the day after a full-blown migraine . I know I do need an emergency migraine kit and hey, that could be a blog, so I’ll get on fixing one of those for days like yesterday. If you have one, what do you keep in yours? Thanks for reading. I know it’s not much but I wrote it all out anyway. This is the best way I know how to explain the debilitating pain of my migraine attacks. I’ll post more soon. Until then, for me, it could be worse.

Mary Horsley

Crohn's Disease: Judging People for Taking Medication in Public

Once I was out one night celebrating. No biggie. I realized the time and knew it was time to take my meds – gabapentin for nerve pain and sumatriptan to prevent a migraine as I often get auras beforehand and try to prevent them. Again, no big deal. But it was.   It felt embarrassing. I could feel people looking at me. Glaring. Judging. People who didn’t know me or know my journey. I felt so embarrassed that I even dropped a pill and had to get out of my chair to chase it down. If I didn’t have enough eyes on me before, I had double now. This overwhelming feeling of guilt took over as everyone saw. But why? I think there is a stigma that surrounds those who take medication, no matter the medication, the illness, the reason. Assumptions of a dependency come, but not assumptions that I depend on it for legitimate reasons. Without medication, I get sharp pains near and around my breast and armpit. It’s as if I’m touching an electric fence for a little too long. Without medication, when I begin to see stars and auras, a migraine is sure to come. Without daily medication or infusions, I would not be trying to manage my Crohn’s disease, no need to be embarrassed. These infusions sometimes leave bruising and needle marks on my arms, sometimes it takes more than one poke, let alone the time I went to phlebotomy school. Judgment comes from every peering eye. If I choose to wear my face mask to the hospital to protect myself and my weakened immune system, even there I’m met with glances and whispers. Without medication, I would get cold sores on my mouth; without medication, I’d not be managing my mental health. Without medication, I would still have a mass of dermatology problems and I would still be dealing with each of these issues. I still battle with daily issues but without medication it could be worse. So why should I feel embarrassed or ashamed? Why should I feel nervous taking my medication in public? Why should I sense watching eyes and feel inferior for having to do so? When casting judgment on those who take their medication in public, you could be making the wrong assumption. This could be vital for their health. Their saving grace. Their cure. Their livelihood. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here. Thinkstock photo via spukkato.

Mary Horsley

Crohn's Disease: Judging People for Taking Medication in Public

Once I was out one night celebrating. No biggie. I realized the time and knew it was time to take my meds – gabapentin for nerve pain and sumatriptan to prevent a migraine as I often get auras beforehand and try to prevent them. Again, no big deal. But it was.   It felt embarrassing. I could feel people looking at me. Glaring. Judging. People who didn’t know me or know my journey. I felt so embarrassed that I even dropped a pill and had to get out of my chair to chase it down. If I didn’t have enough eyes on me before, I had double now. This overwhelming feeling of guilt took over as everyone saw. But why? I think there is a stigma that surrounds those who take medication, no matter the medication, the illness, the reason. Assumptions of a dependency come, but not assumptions that I depend on it for legitimate reasons. Without medication, I get sharp pains near and around my breast and armpit. It’s as if I’m touching an electric fence for a little too long. Without medication, when I begin to see stars and auras, a migraine is sure to come. Without daily medication or infusions, I would not be trying to manage my Crohn’s disease, no need to be embarrassed. These infusions sometimes leave bruising and needle marks on my arms, sometimes it takes more than one poke, let alone the time I went to phlebotomy school. Judgment comes from every peering eye. If I choose to wear my face mask to the hospital to protect myself and my weakened immune system, even there I’m met with glances and whispers. Without medication, I would get cold sores on my mouth; without medication, I’d not be managing my mental health. Without medication, I would still have a mass of dermatology problems and I would still be dealing with each of these issues. I still battle with daily issues but without medication it could be worse. So why should I feel embarrassed or ashamed? Why should I feel nervous taking my medication in public? Why should I sense watching eyes and feel inferior for having to do so? When casting judgment on those who take their medication in public, you could be making the wrong assumption. This could be vital for their health. Their saving grace. Their cure. Their livelihood. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here. Thinkstock photo via spukkato.

Mary Horsley

Crohn's Disease: Judging People for Taking Medication in Public

Once I was out one night celebrating. No biggie. I realized the time and knew it was time to take my meds – gabapentin for nerve pain and sumatriptan to prevent a migraine as I often get auras beforehand and try to prevent them. Again, no big deal. But it was.   It felt embarrassing. I could feel people looking at me. Glaring. Judging. People who didn’t know me or know my journey. I felt so embarrassed that I even dropped a pill and had to get out of my chair to chase it down. If I didn’t have enough eyes on me before, I had double now. This overwhelming feeling of guilt took over as everyone saw. But why? I think there is a stigma that surrounds those who take medication, no matter the medication, the illness, the reason. Assumptions of a dependency come, but not assumptions that I depend on it for legitimate reasons. Without medication, I get sharp pains near and around my breast and armpit. It’s as if I’m touching an electric fence for a little too long. Without medication, when I begin to see stars and auras, a migraine is sure to come. Without daily medication or infusions, I would not be trying to manage my Crohn’s disease, no need to be embarrassed. These infusions sometimes leave bruising and needle marks on my arms, sometimes it takes more than one poke, let alone the time I went to phlebotomy school. Judgment comes from every peering eye. If I choose to wear my face mask to the hospital to protect myself and my weakened immune system, even there I’m met with glances and whispers. Without medication, I would get cold sores on my mouth; without medication, I’d not be managing my mental health. Without medication, I would still have a mass of dermatology problems and I would still be dealing with each of these issues. I still battle with daily issues but without medication it could be worse. So why should I feel embarrassed or ashamed? Why should I feel nervous taking my medication in public? Why should I sense watching eyes and feel inferior for having to do so? When casting judgment on those who take their medication in public, you could be making the wrong assumption. This could be vital for their health. Their saving grace. Their cure. Their livelihood. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here. Thinkstock photo via spukkato.

Mary Horsley

Woman With Crohn's Responds to 'But You Don't Look Sick...'

I hope this post doesn’t come off bitter or scathing, but I am so tired of people’s judgmental and malicious comments, especially when they assume you must look a certain way for sickness validation and support from your friends and family. I have enough to deal with, as do many others — why must I also deal with disease ignorance, like people saying I am “faking” my illness based on my makeup? Why do I need to look “bad” and feel bad, too? And what does that even mean? I don’t “look” sick enough? What am I supposed to look like? What am I supposed to look like to help you believe I hurt? How am I supposed to look to help you believe I am in constant pain, even with a smiling face? I’m sorry I don’t look sick to you, so why don’t I start posting pictures of all my fun toilet contents? I’m sure that’ll clear up some of your doubts. Just because I don’t always look sick and I put on a happy face doesn’t mean I’m not sick and struggling. Of course, I’m going to share my cute photos. Don’t you? I’m sorry I don’t post enough selfies or images from my illness, but you can’t blame me for posting photos of myself that I like. I am rarely seen with a face full of makeup, so I’m going to share those images for the world to see… You think of all things to fake that I really wanted to fake bowel disease and to be forced to discuss bowel movements for the rest of my life? No. Thank. You. I don’t look sick? 1. I can look “good” on the outside and feel bad on the inside. Of course the photos I share are “good” photos… I’m not going to share pictures of me puking or shitting blood now, am I? I can look pretty and still feel pain and be sick. 2. How do you know what I, or others, struggle with daily? Other than the info I share online through my social media posts or blog. And if we rarely talk, you can’t assume to know all about my life, my battle, my journey with this invisible illness. You think you know me, my pain level, my feelings, but you know nothing. Be glad you can’t relate. Be glad you don’t understand what I go through daily. 3. If I want to do my face and hair every single day, I will. If I want to shamelessly share my “good day” selfies because I’m feeling myself, I will. If I want to waste a day’s worth of makeup to sit at home, in pain, in and out of the bathroom, and never leaving pajamas, I will. You should know I do my face once a week, if that. Why do I have to feel bad internally and look “bad” externally, too? Why is my makeup a representation of my pain level for you? Photo via It Could Be Worse. 4. Crohn’s and other bowel diseases are not something that can be faked, so if I’m feeling like doing my face, know I’m not miraculously cured. If you think I don’t look sick enough, you need to rethink and examine why exactly you think every doctor I have seen is wrong, why every pill capsule I have had has shown Crohn’s disease, and why I am using dangerous biological drugs, because, you know, they give those out to everyone. And I guess that’s why it took two years for a final diagnosis… because the doctors love a scavenger hunt for symptoms like my pain that you claim aren’t real. 5. And finally, let me see your doctorate for gastrointestinal diseases, since you know what someone with an invisible illness like Crohn’s should look like. Why is my smile on the outside a representation of my pain level I am struggling with on the inside? Why do you question it when what we invisible illness warriors really need is support and belief that when we say we feel bad, we feel bad, regardless of attire, makeup, smiles, or happy personalities. I’m struggling to find the silver lining, so don’t question my outside appearance when you have no idea what I deal with on my insides. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

Managing Illness and Going to the Doctor as a Full-Time Job

Most women (at least in my world) in their early to mid-20s are completing grad school, going to wineries and attending engagement parties. They have a full-time job doing what they love, they’re in a loving long-term relationship and they live in a cute little apartment with their significant other. They may be barely making ends meet like many 20-somethings, but most of them appear to have, at the very least, a functional and sustainable life. Now, I know it doesn’t do anyone any good to compare, but when I see pictures of my friends’ newborn babies on social media or photos of them posing in their white coats in medical school, it’s hard not to reflect on my current state — sometimes even resenting what may have led me here. I’ve been conditioned to pride myself on making it through college. At first, I was hesitant about giving myself sufficient credit as it did take me five and a half years to complete my undergrad. But I learned that everyone really does move at their own pace, and I was never being lazy; I was ill. Since I graduated, however, I’ve been bombarded with the infamous question about what I do for a living. Where do I work? Am I in school? At least while I was in school, part-time or not, I had a story to tell that deflected from my illnesses. But since I completed my undergrad and my illnesses have dramatically worsened in many ways, I’m unable to have anything else in my life to talk about. What is my full-time job, you ask? Doctors. Going to the doctor is my full-time job. I’ve been seeing doctors like mad for the past six years, although I’ve really seen them all my life for various reasons. You would think things would’ve calmed down a bit by now, but the thing is: 1. I’ve yet to find an effective treatment. 2. My illnesses keep building and building on top of one another. 3. I’m essentially still undiagnosed in many ways. That third point brings me to one of the most frustrating components of chronic illness: in many cases, you will always be a mystery. Illnesses are like that. When you have diseases and disorders that keep stacking up with very vague symptoms, you reach a point where it becomes impossible to make connections anymore, and I’m currently in a place where I could get some effective treatment, but it requires a lot of work on my end to get there. This being the case, my full-time job is calling doctors, scheduling procedures, speaking with the insurance company, making comprehensive lists of all of my symptoms (mental and physical) and conditions and how they all interrelate to hand to the new doctor so they’ll have a place to start, making sure I’m adhering to a proper diet and making sure I’m not wasting all of my spoons (see “spoon theory” for those who don’t know what it means). My full-time job is trying to do it all myself, and it’s because I feel I have to. This is why part of my part-time “work” is trying to be an advocate for chronic illness in any way I can. What is my full-time job, you ask? My full-time job is my personal well-being, because right now, it has to be. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Mary Horsley

Woman With Crohn's Responds to 'But You Don't Look Sick...'

I hope this post doesn’t come off bitter or scathing, but I am so tired of people’s judgmental and malicious comments, especially when they assume you must look a certain way for sickness validation and support from your friends and family. I have enough to deal with, as do many others — why must I also deal with disease ignorance, like people saying I am “faking” my illness based on my makeup? Why do I need to look “bad” and feel bad, too? And what does that even mean? I don’t “look” sick enough? What am I supposed to look like? What am I supposed to look like to help you believe I hurt? How am I supposed to look to help you believe I am in constant pain, even with a smiling face? I’m sorry I don’t look sick to you, so why don’t I start posting pictures of all my fun toilet contents? I’m sure that’ll clear up some of your doubts. Just because I don’t always look sick and I put on a happy face doesn’t mean I’m not sick and struggling. Of course, I’m going to share my cute photos. Don’t you? I’m sorry I don’t post enough selfies or images from my illness, but you can’t blame me for posting photos of myself that I like. I am rarely seen with a face full of makeup, so I’m going to share those images for the world to see… You think of all things to fake that I really wanted to fake bowel disease and to be forced to discuss bowel movements for the rest of my life? No. Thank. You. I don’t look sick? 1. I can look “good” on the outside and feel bad on the inside. Of course the photos I share are “good” photos… I’m not going to share pictures of me puking or shitting blood now, am I? I can look pretty and still feel pain and be sick. 2. How do you know what I, or others, struggle with daily? Other than the info I share online through my social media posts or blog. And if we rarely talk, you can’t assume to know all about my life, my battle, my journey with this invisible illness. You think you know me, my pain level, my feelings, but you know nothing. Be glad you can’t relate. Be glad you don’t understand what I go through daily. 3. If I want to do my face and hair every single day, I will. If I want to shamelessly share my “good day” selfies because I’m feeling myself, I will. If I want to waste a day’s worth of makeup to sit at home, in pain, in and out of the bathroom, and never leaving pajamas, I will. You should know I do my face once a week, if that. Why do I have to feel bad internally and look “bad” externally, too? Why is my makeup a representation of my pain level for you? Photo via It Could Be Worse. 4. Crohn’s and other bowel diseases are not something that can be faked, so if I’m feeling like doing my face, know I’m not miraculously cured. If you think I don’t look sick enough, you need to rethink and examine why exactly you think every doctor I have seen is wrong, why every pill capsule I have had has shown Crohn’s disease, and why I am using dangerous biological drugs, because, you know, they give those out to everyone. And I guess that’s why it took two years for a final diagnosis… because the doctors love a scavenger hunt for symptoms like my pain that you claim aren’t real. 5. And finally, let me see your doctorate for gastrointestinal diseases, since you know what someone with an invisible illness like Crohn’s should look like. Why is my smile on the outside a representation of my pain level I am struggling with on the inside? Why do you question it when what we invisible illness warriors really need is support and belief that when we say we feel bad, we feel bad, regardless of attire, makeup, smiles, or happy personalities. I’m struggling to find the silver lining, so don’t question my outside appearance when you have no idea what I deal with on my insides. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

Mary Horsley

Why Not to Say 'You're Still Young' to Couple Experiencing Infertility

“Oh, you’re still young.” – A comment I have become familiar with, as part of a couple struggling with infertility for the past four years. People use this comment like age has anything to do with our infertility issues. The young can struggle with infertility. During an ultrasound, in between the poking, prodding, and small talk, the nurse asked me how long my husband and I had been “trying” for a child. My response: almost four years. Her reply: “Oh, you’re still young,” as if time will help our problems and a few more years will cure our issues. All I want to tell her is that it’s only going to get harder for us! “Oh, you’re still young.” – To you, being young means plenty more time to try. What do you think we have been doing these last four years?  I’m not getting this ultrasound because I’m young or because I enjoy them. We may be young, but we still have our issues. Is four years not a significant time of waiting already? Is my four years of struggling less important because I’m young? And there still may be a chance that our next doctor visit could inform us that we have no chance. How is our youth going to help us then? Being young has nothing to do with our problems. When you have an issue like ours, time will not help you and time will not fix you. We literally have to pay for a chance at a miracle, with no guarantee it will work. Possibly, we will do this more than once. “Oh, you’re still young.” – My mom likes to tell me this, and she likes to say “Just give it time, it will happen, have faith.” No, that’s not how this works. Our infertility has no cure. You wouldn’t offer up more time as a cure for any other disease, so why would this cure our issues? The options are figuring out what options you still have available to you, what you can afford, and what you have working in your body, before it’s too late and your biologic clock stops ticking. Time is not on our side. I like to think of infertility as a Venn diagram, with three factors involved toward the goal: the sperm, the money and the eggs. As long as you have at least two of those, then Miracle Baby just might be in your future, but even then, it’s not a guarantee. If you have money and healthy sperm, then possibly surrogacy, adoption, or egg donors can help your future. If you have healthy eggs and enough money, then possibly a sperm donor or adoption is in your future. If you have healthy eggs and healthy sperm, then you’re probably not struggling with infertility, and you’re probably not reading this. And if you’re lucky enough to have all three factors working for you, then you fall into my Fertile Myrtle category, and I am very, very happy for you! I would never wish infertility on anyone. As you can see from my colorful Venn diagram, age and time are not factors, and being too young is never systemic of the disease. I could be in my 40s and struggle with the same issues of infertility. I could be in my 30s and struggle with the same issues of infertility. And I can be in my 20s and be struggling with the same issues of infertility. Yes, things like menopause are a guarantee, but every female will go through that, and not everyone will deal with infertility. Time is not on our side. Just because we are young, it doesn’t mean we are cured with enough waiting or a few more years added.  Time is not on our side and age isn’t our problem. Being young does not guarantee fertility, in fact, it’s the exact opposite. In just two years I will be 30. I know, you’re thinking I’m still young, right? Consider this: if we don’t conceive by then, then my egg reserve will have already been dropping, with roughly only 12 percent remaining, with quantity and quality declining in those following years. Time is not on my side. Not only do the eggs diminish, but the risks for problems, like miscarriages, become more prevalent. So, with more time, along with male fertility factors, we will have to worry about female fertility problems, too. Couples like ours aren’t struggling with an age issue — we are struggling with a medical issue, a poor prognosis from medical doctors. So, before you offer up “Oh, you’re still young,” please think about the four-year struggle this “young” person has already endured. Please think about the years this “young” person has to look forward to.

Mary Horsley

What Not to Say to Someone With Crohn's Disease

It seems another post about what not to say to people with illness is needed because another week has passed, and I am still receiving messages and comments filled with unrealistic suggestions and incorrect statements about how to deal with my issues. From strangers, mainly, no less. Since I have been dealing with two recent diagnoses, I have shared a lot of information about myself, our infertility and, my Crohn’s disease. I have also shared what not to say to people struggling with similar conditions, and yet, some people still go out of their way to offer up suggestions for me to “try,” opinions on what I am doing wrong and “solutions.” So, another post about communication etiquette, from my point of view, is warranted. 1. “You need to relax.” This comment makes me beyond livid every time I read or hear it. Not once have I ever went into the doctor’s office and they suggested I relax to heal my problems. Not once have I been told relaxing helps those who have been medically diagnosed my conditions. If it were that simple, there wouldn’t be doctors still searching for a cure for Crohn’s disease. I’m sure my doctors would avoid all this medication and repeat scoping if this were the case. No, relaxing is not going to work. And telling me to “calm down” is the best way to ensure I don’t calm down. 2. “Everything happens for a reason. It’s all in God’s plan. Have faith and it will all work out.” Telling me everything happens for a reason gives me the impression you blame me and my choices or that you feel I did this myself. It makes me think you believe I deserve what’s happening to my body. It gives me the impression it’s just meant to be or that if I wasn’t such a “sinner,” I wouldn’t be sick at all. (I’ve actually been told this.) Maybe you can tell me the reason my body hurts on the inside or why my skin breaks out and why I feel nauseated all the time? Or maybe you can tell me the “higher reason” why food, my favorite thing, seems to be my nemesis? While I appreciate your prayers for me, please don’t ask me to “find God for healing.” 3. It happened to my stepfather’s brother’s wife, so I understand. Unless you have spent time actually researching my specific issues for yourself, you really have no idea what is happening inside my body — only an idea to compare it to. Just because your stepfather’s brother’s wife had Crohn’s disease or a cousin of yours was infertile does not mean you know what’s happening in my body. You’ll never fully understand unless you experience issues of your own. This is why I share my story — so others can understand my version. I do understand you may be “just trying to help,” but if you take the time do the research, even just a little, you will see that every single person with Crohn’s disease has different symptoms. No two people will experience the same symptoms, the same flare-ups or the same medical treatment. That’s why it’s so hard to diagnose. 4. “Have you tried this? Could it be this/that?” Just because one person has symptoms related to gluten or spicy food doesn’t mean another will too. This means the treatments that have helped your family members may not necessarily help me. Finding the right care for yourself takes time, doctors’ opinions and a lot of medication testing. While I appreciate the offering of new information, this isn’t a new illness for me. As someone who has been dealing with Crohn’s and infertility for years now, if there’s an article, website or any other information available about the cause, you best believe I have seen it, screenshot it, sent it or saved it. I want to know it all. When doctors give me any information about a new diagnosis, I make sure I WebMD the hell out of it. I spend the next week researching any details I can, looking into any symptoms, tests or details available. I like to go back to the doctor with more knowledge about the process than they have. Although some of these messages with “try this” or “try that” may be genuine and truly offered with sincerity, I thank you, but I am good. I am owning my Crohn’s disease and infertility. I have done the research on my issues, and any questions I have will be discussed at my next doctor visit. 5. “It’s no big deal.” This one hurt’s the most — to know your issues are not high priority. When you tell me my issues are “no big deal,” what you’re really saying is they are no big deal… to you. Coming to that realization, that your issues don’t matter, it hits you like a brick wall. When you tell me my problems are “no big deal,” what you are really saying is I am unimportant. You are really saying my feelings are invalid and my emotional and physical well-being should be overlooked. You are saying you cannot be bothered to care about what happens to me or my body. What you are really telling me is you don’t care. Period. When someone you know is diagnosed with an issue or disease, you do not tell them “it’s no big deal.” Instead, you offer up your support, kindness and hope. Whether it be family, a friend, a coworker, you always give your undivided attention to that person because their issues are important, life-changing and most certainly, a big deal. When you tell me “it’s no big deal,” you are showing your true feelings – that I don’t matter. When you tell me to calm down, you are minimizing my problems and taking away the reality of just how negative my situation is. I have two diagnosed issues to dwell on daily, and I feel I have every right to be upset. I can be angry because they are a big deal to me. They are a big deal to my family and my future. These are issues I am going to have to live with for the rest of my life. I have every right to be angry, I have every right to worry about what’s next, and I have every right to dwell on my symptoms. Why? Because they affect every aspect of my everyday life. Seriously. But I do thank you all for taking the time to read my journey and for trying to help. I feel like I have to specify the kind words and gestures given to me are extremely valuable and meaningful. And this post is not meant to curb your interactions with me, only to help you avoid making an offensive comment, and to help you understand how I may interpret your words. I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to read and comment on my posts, and I thank you for letting me in on your lives. A longer version of this post first appeared on MaryMHorsley.com. The Mighty is asking the following: Create a list-style story of your choice in regards to disability, disease or mental illness. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.