Under Pressure

It’s shot week again. Thursday is the day that I’ll take out the shot and let it warm up to room temperature before I select the least tender spot I can find on my thigh or stomach. The 30-second sting of the shot and the days of fatigue that follow are a small price to pay for the pain that comes with Crohn’s.

I can remember sitting in my biology lab during my freshman year of college and learning about the “parasympathetic system” which made the light bulb in my brain go off as to why in certain “fight or flight” situations, my stomach would churn. Normal everyday events that make my people nervous, make my stomach turn inside out. Here’s a recent example: My car wouldn’t start and it wasn’t my battery. I was headed to work with an important day filled with meetings and my car would violently shake when I tried to turn it on. It’s a 2012 Jetta TDI with 66k miles on it, parked safely in our garage each night. This was not typical. I could hear my husband’s STi driving away and he wasn’t answering his cell phone. My stomach churn and my colon panicked. I ran inside to use the bathroom. Twice. This is what happens in moments of stress. My entire body panics and my colon does what it does best: empty its contents. I did get my car started and raced to work. It took nearly two hours for my system to slow down and go back to “normal”.

Anxiety is heightened for a person like me. Large crowds. Exciting (and happy) situation. Trying to navigate in high traffic. Surprises. Anything that is unpredictable and uncontrollable, makes my whole system rush. This is why I often decline invites to places like food fairs and big venues. It’s not because I don’t want to go, but I can’t go. Unless there are an abundance of bathrooms, it’s not worth the risk.

Thankfully, things have really (really) improved for me. Biologics have been lifesaver for me. I have my life back again. I can go to work, leave my house, and live my life. Sure, I have set backs and I’ve had a few accidents here and there, but I’m so lucky that my medication seems to be working for me.


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