But you don’t look sick!

It’s a phrase that I’ve heard millions of times. It’s usually been meant as a compliment, but I often feel like it completely invalidates everything I’ve gone through. I usually turn to humor whenever I’m not feeling well, so often people can’t even tell whenever I’m feeling sicker than usual. Just because you can’t see what I’m going through, doesn’t mean that I’m not sick. Many people were surprised when I even ended up in the hospital. I guess that’s why I’m a little proud of whatever bruises I get from blood drawings and IVs. It’s really the only physical proof of what I’ve gone through. That and pictures from my colonoscopy, which no one probably wants to see but me.

There are times when I lose weight and gain weight because of various reasons, but it’s always awkward whenever people ask me how I’ve lost the weight. I haven’t consciously tried to lose weight since early high school, honestly. Now whenever I lose weight, it’s because my body hadn’t been absorbing any nutrients despite anything I’ve eaten recently. Also, by that point my appetite is completely gone and I wouldn’t want to eat anything anyways. I know people mean to comment on my weight loss as a compliment, but it only sets in the reality of my disease. 

Recently I was given my first infusion of Remicade because my body had stopped reacting to the dose of Prednisone I had been on for several months. Also, my most recent colonoscopy showed that my ulcerative colitis now affects my entire colon. It was a tough blow to take that day. I can really only hope that with future Remicade infusions, things will stabilize with my body. So far I’ve still been dealing with a lot of pain (both joint and intestinal) and bloating, but I can only hope that will pass with time. 

I’m still upset by the BBC and Dr. Sally Mitton releasing the information out on how IBDs are caused by junk food and antibiotics. Many people in the Tumblr IBD community are. We’re already looked down upon by society by our symptoms and it being seen as a dirty disease, but now we’re being blamed for causing our own INCURABLE disease! I don’t understand how people in charge of such important information could allow this woman to start spouting off crazy theories. Luckily, the Crohn’s and Colitis UK have said this:

“There has been no definitive scientific link made to any particular diet or food additive as being a sole cause of the disease. There are many possible reasons why a patient may develop Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis, including genetics and a range of environmental factors. Each patient’s case is individual.”

However, the damage has already been done in this case. I hope that people who read this understand that there is no possible way that junk food is the sole cause of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Sure, many digestive systems haven’t evolved enough to fully accept the over processed foods that are cheap and popular among the younger generation, but there’s just no way. I won’t believe it until they track down a specific food and its possible ingredients that could cause this for thousands of young people.

To wrap this up, I’m going to tie in a “social justice vocabulary word”. Many may or may have not heard about it before.

Ableism: discrimination or prejudice against individuals with disabilities. Generally, ableism prevents disabled persons from having the same access to rights and services that average people have no problems obtaining.

Next time you judge someone for using a handicapped parking spot even though they have the proper documentation to use it, think twice about why you don’t think they need it. If you don’t think they look “sick enough” to use it, you’re being ableist, my friend.

I think I’ll talk about it more in detail tomorrow.

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