How Crohn’s Affected My Personality

I’ve been described as “shy”, “reserved”, even “boring”. In college, if you aren’t front and center in all social events, you aren’t important. In this way, college has always been difficult for me.

My anxieties were involved with the idea of talking. It’s the idea of a public bathroom or having stomach pain while out with others. It might have come across that I was uncomfortable in the conversation, but I was actually just uncomfortable in my own skin about how I was feeling. By being in tune with myself, I have failed to be in tune with others. So shy? I guess.

I have gone through a lot over the past few years. It led be to be more reluctant to be open with people. This was partly because I knew my story was a daily struggle, so I was afraid of what people would think of me when I’d open up. I respected the situations that they others were going through, but to me it seemed trivial. Compared to boys and drama, topics I sometimes wanted to discuss were more serious; so rather than opening up, I’d listen and try to help them without necessarily sharing my own worries. I didn’t want to “outshine” them or seem like I didn’t care. In this way, yes, I guess I was reserved.

My priorities were different than others. It’s not just school, friends, and money…. it’s health. When I went to a party and there was alcohol, I didn’t just think about how it would affect me the next day, I’d think about how it was going to affect me for the next few weeks. Crohn’s caused my stomach to be more sensitive (especially to liquor), so that one shot might have led to weeks of agony. I probably did seem to be more responsible, because, honestly, I probably way. So, yes, in that way I was boring.

Now, I say this all in the past tense, because I feel better. I have better energy and almost no pain. I am ready to enjoy my last semester in college. But these traits that have now been ingrained in people’s minds have made it difficult to make friends in this last stretch. Maybe I am STILL more reserved than others, but I am at least willing to enjoy things more in the moment. I just wish others would give me the opportunity to prove that to them.

Just my thoughts for the day…

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Recipe of the Day: Crockpot Salsa Chicken

 

Cooking for Crohn’s is difficult. I know it will become even more difficult once I have a job thrown into the mix. For this reason, my goal this semester is to expand my cooking knowledge. That way, when I go to work, I will have some options, whether my Crohn’s is flaring or not, and won’t be reaching for that box of macaroni. And since I’m trying to improve my health, I thought I’d share with you some ways to still eat “healthy”. So here’s my first recipe:

Crockpot Salsa Chickensalsachicken1

  • Chicken tenderloins (3-4)
  • Jar of your favorite salsa (mild)
  • 1/2 can of black beans
  • Chopped bell peppers (1-2)
  • Pasta (1.5 cups)
  • Optional: cumin, chili powder, paprika
  • Optional (but delicious): Mexican 4-blend cheese

Add your chicken and salsa to your crockpot. Also, dilute the salsa mixture by filling your jar about halfway (I did a full jar) with water and pour that in. Rinse and add your black beans, along with your diced peppers ( with seeds, stems, and white insides removed), to your pot. Put on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours. I also added my spices (about a tablespoon or so of each) to my mixture.

About a half hour before serving, add your pasta and raise the temperature on your crockpot to high (if it’s not already). Serve in a bowl with a small amount of cheese on top. DONE!

This recipe is perfect for a college student like me who is on the run during the day! It was so flavorful and I especially loved the peppers. This recipe may be too acidic for some, but this is so easy and delicious!

Here is why this is okay for Crohn’s:

  • Mild salsa adds a depth of flavor without the pain; if this is too acidic, serve with bread or add additional water/sugar to cut through that
  • Black beans allows for soluble fiber to be incorporated into your diet; since I am on a low-fiber diet, I used less than half a can. However, they do have a high fiber content, so be careful (or just leave them out!)
  • Bell peppers have little fiber and add sweetness; I wouldn’t suggest eating them raw, but when cooked for a long time they become easier to break down (especially if you’ve removed the skins, which is where the fiber comes from)

Why Can Things Never Be Simple.

I love summer. Especially when it is one filled with a new internship in a new city with a bunch of friends. Everything seemed to fall into place and I was filled with confidence that first day of work. However, things quickly changed.

My internship lasted 8 weeks. During that time, the first 4 weeks I suffered from a severe migraine that didn’t allow me to sleep. The following 2 weeks, I fell triggering sciatica, which is essentially the inflammation of your sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body, and a source of major pain in your back and leg. If that wasn’t worse enough, my last 2 weeks were spent in the hospital, complete with an emergency laparoscopy. And that’s without mentioning the constant arthritis and painful dermatitis I had due to BADAS (Bowel-associated dermatitis and arthrosis syndrome… it’s a thing.) or the swelling of my foot that left me unable to walk for a  few days.

Now, as for the surgery, it was actually a complication from the one I had in March. The scar tissue from the incision had actually begun to wrap itself around my small intestine, leading to a small bowel obstruction. Let me tell you; you might not know very quickly if you have a large bowel obstruction, but you will with a small one. You become violently ill. Luckily, by trimming this excess scar tissue the problem was able to resolve itself.

Now, I have been dealt with a lot on my plate before. But this was a whole new level. The city I looked forward to became this foreign place where I didn’t know where to go or who to see. The internship became an 8 hour trick, in which I tried to hide my struggles. Friends became a reminder of the health I strived for and the fun I couldn’t be a part of. Strangers judged me, friends forgot me, and my family worried.

I sometimes am shocked that I wouldn’t be more impacted emotionally. I was definitely put through another HUGE test. But when these things happen, I remove myself from emotion altogether, so when things get better my attitude and spirit is left unbruised. I am still happy and extremely proud of the fact that, even with these issues, I still got a job offer.

Now, I am not sure why these events led me to blog again. Perhaps it’s the fact that if I told this story out loud, people either won’t believe me or be so shocked they’d probably never want to talk to me again. It seems that when you tell sad stories about your life, your labeled as a sad person. But honestly, I am one of few people who can genuinely say, I’m happy. The key here, I guess, is that your life doesn’t have to be perfect for you to be happy. It doesn’t even have to be good.. So never let anything upset you guys; it’s not worth your time!