And so it was: After my studies in summer 2012 , I went joyfully back home with the prospect of a job at a company for IT and management consulting. But the joy was muted by my health. I had severe diarrhea that night and did not leave the bathroom for about two days.
I experienced numerous visits to the doctor and hospital stays because of stronger abdominal pain and indigestion, however, always without diagnosis. But it was never so hard as on these days. Disappointed and confused, I let my mother take me to my parents’ family doctor. This directly expressed the suspicion of an IBD. An appointment for colonoscopy was soon agreed, and the diagnosis of Crohn’s disease was confirmed.
I felt like in a movie. I really could not believe this new situation in the first weeks. Previously, I had only been sick for a few days maximum. Time passed, and I had to postpone my start of work from October to January.
Full of energy and hope, I finally started my job as an IT consultant after New Year’s. I did my best, despite multiple fainting, severe pain and diarrhea.
I have strongly decided to do the job and did not want to lose it. Especially the travel and the tireless working hours let me go beyond my borders for several times.
I simply ignored the signals of my body. If I got sick in a traffic jam: open the car door, hand over, wipe my mouth, take a sip, continue.
When I fainted in the hotel because of the weakness: briefly cold water in the neck, throw in a tablet, dress in costume, let’s go to the customer. I did not want to realize how I really felt.
At some point my pain was so bad that I had to sign off sick.
I was deducted from my projects.
First, I got the offer to work internally instead of being directly at the customer.
I slowly realized that I have to deal with this disease. Pushing away or ignoring proved nonsensical and dangerous.
I fell into a brief depression: I was afraid of the future, disgust for food, I could not deal with my weakness and did not feel comfortable in my skin anymore.
That was the point where I decided to seek help. A psychotherapist helped me to accept the disease and deal with its limitations better. During the therapy, I was relaxed and could better adapt my very high self-assertion to my health.
I learned to be more attentive to the body signals and to understand them. I am very happy that I have taken this step and have been helped in this difficult phase. Open-minded treatment and dealing with the disease have made it easier for me in the private as well as in the professional environment.
After another attempt to enter the consulting business, I had to realize that this job and the associated burden at that time was not the right one.
I was always disappointed, had to disappoint other people, and so I was quickly frustrated.
It was followed by a long time with sick leave, hospital stays and a rehab, until I slowly had the mix of medications that seemed to be good.
During this time, I also took a big step towards acceptance of the disease and found a new everyday life.
Meanwhile, I work with a 75% job still in the same company, but in an internal department. I am fortunate enough to have an understanding employer. My openness has paid off. With the reduced working hours I’m going very well.
I challenge myself without exceeding my physical limits.
I have a job that fulfills me and is good for me. In the afternoon and on the weekends I can gather strength.
Of course, there are days when I find it difficult to work, but there are also days when I still have some energy after work to make an appointment.
And these are exactly the happy hours, which prepare against the setbacks that we as IBS patients have to experience more often.
Being open to my colleagues has helped me not to put myself under so much pressure. Of course, I do not tell everyone in detail how I feel every day. But the news that I have Crohn’s disease makes things a lot easier for me: I do not have to feel stupid about unpacking my porridge when my colleagues order pizza. I do not have to explain why I stay in the office when the others go out for dinner, or when I go out and just order something to drink.
I usually do not have to worry about silly sayings when I spontaneously get up in the meeting and escape to the toilet.
My plan was different. But if I had held on it so tightly, I would not have been as far as I am now.
I am glad that I have actively dealt with the disease and have dealt with it openly in my social and professional environment.
By now I may not feel better physically, but I feel better. Because I have learned to deal with Crohn’s disease.
I enjoy the beautiful moments more intensely, I rejoice even over the smallest successes and no longer duel with my old, fitter self.
My new plan is to get up if Crohn’s disease should blow me away and make the most of it! I have actively worked on coping with the disease and have dealt with the disease in the workplace.
So I could find my own career path with Crohn’s disease. The decision on how to deal with the CED openly at work should always be based on the personal situation. The advantages and possible disadvantages should be considered.
Two years ago, I started writing my own blog about experiences with Crohn’s disease. You can not change some things that happen to you, but you can decide how to handle them yourself.
For me it has become very important to share my experiences and to make the disease a little better known. Because the society is sensitized, as far as the disease picture IBD is concerned, the probability is higher that the affected person is given a higher understanding.
This was also my motivation to start an association.
Living with a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) requires strength, courage and stamina.
The power to get through the day despite the symptoms.
The courage to stand up and face fears. The stamina to stand up again and again in setbacks and not to lose confidence.
Every person with an IBD goes through his / her process to accept the illness, to find a new everyday life with it and to become chronically happy.
CHRONICALLY HAPPY e.V., the association for the promotion of life quality of chronically ill patients, has set itself the task to support people with IBD.
I am a nutritionist and since few years I am specialized in the field of “intestinal health”. Enjoy browsing here!