The 11 Stages Of Surviving The Holidays With Crohn's

The 11 Stages Of Surviving The Holidays With Crohn's

The one guest that shows up that you don't want there.

One of the first things that comes to mind when I think of Thanksgiving and Christmas is food.

If your family is like mine, we don't do just a simple one-course meal. Eating is a full-day ordeal. Don't get me wrong, I love food, especially the food that we have for these two-holiday meals. However, holiday meals take on a new meaning of their own when you have Crohn's.

Crohn's Disease is an autoimmune, chronic inflammatory disorder where certain parts of the digestive tract get inflamed and wreck havoc on the rest of the body. Holiday meals are the ultimate test of self-control, with temptations at every turn. Or should I say, after every course.

These are the stages of holiday meals, as told by someone who has Crohn's.

1. Confidence in yourself.

I’m going to be OK. I’ll just eat small amounts of everything and in moderation. I got this! It’s going to be a great day. You'll eat some good food, keep your stomach in line and have fun. It can't be too hard.

2. Temptation strikes.

Ooh, that looks good. I know I shouldn’t eat that so early in the day, though, otherwise I’ll mess everything else up. Plus, I have to save room for the 10 courses that I have coming later.

3. Be strong.

Cue the mental pep talk. What did we decide when we started the party? Small amounts only of foods that won’t trigger WWIII. We want to enjoy the holiday. Visions of past food-related Crohn’s attacks start flooding in. *Shudders and moves away from the food.*

4. Temptation strikes again and hits hard.

Overstimulation. Antipasto galore, dip, chips, bread and fried dough are all calling your name to come eat. Finally, after going back and forth, your stomach got the KO on the brain and you give in.

5. Just one bite.

I’ll just take one scoop on my plate and go sit somewhere else where I won’t be tempted to take more. Yes, it is OK because I’m using moderation.

6. Just one more bite …

*Throws moderation out the window.* It is my last one I promise. I’ll take another scoop of this and a little bit of that while I’m walking by and that is absolutely it.

7. NO MORE, you are cut off.

Also, I’ll tell the people sitting here to not let me take anything else if I come back.

8. Cue the whale noises.

For those of you who have seen Finding Nemo, close your eyes and try to remember what Dory sounds like when she is showing Marlin that she can speak whale. Well, my stomach begins to show off its whale-speaking talents at the most opportune times. For instance, while we are praying together as a family, my stomach usually recites a soliloquy or two. The red light is starting to flash.

9. War is declared

It’s decided. My colon has declared war on me and my stomach and is pushing full on into battle — guns, cannons, grenades; the whole nine yards. It holds nothing back. Those visions of past food-related attacks are starting filter in one-by-one again.

10. Pinky promise.

Wow, OK that was awful. I absolutely have to remember not to eat that again no matter how good it looks. I’m going to be good for the rest of the night, just like I promised myself that I would be.

11. Ooh, that looks good.

It's like the "Circle of Life", but with holiday food.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

Popular Right Now

Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.

You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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How To Avoid Getting Sick Your  Freshman Year

It's going to take a little more than an apple a day.


College is the prime time and place to catch a cold... or worse. Although, somehow I managed to crack the code to health and not get sick my whole first year of college. This is surprising considering I was living in the close (and very unsanitary) quarters of a dorm room.

1. Keep your diet somewhat healthy

I know how hard it is to eat healthy in college, especially on a low budget. But with the dining hall foods, you can at least include some vegetables and fruits into your everyday consumption. The vitamins in these foods will help keep your immune system up and it will be worth the effort.

2. Try to exercise a few times per week

Even if you're just getting out of the dorm for a thirty minute walk, it will benefit your body. If you decide to up your routine from that, even better! The more endorphins, the more you will feel better inside and out.

3. Cut back on the drinking if you feel a cold coming on

Surprisingly, many college students don't seem to know that alcohol lowers your immune system. Of course, for some people theres no way of avoiding drinking. But if you can at least give your body rest days, it will be extremely beneficial.

4. Invest in a dehumidifier for your dorm room

I believe this was a very big player in helping me not get sick. The dehumidifier helps reduce dust and other particles in the air. This will help not agitate your allergies and you will feel more clear headed.

5. Try not to share personal products

Sharing things like towels, makeup, unwashed cups, etc. can all be causes of a sickness being passed around you and your friends. Of course sharing is caring, just make sure it's sanitary.

6. Be conscientious of who you kiss!

Make sure that your girlfriend, boyfriend, or "its complicated" person is not sick before you're getting cozy with them.

7. Drink lots of green tea!

Personally, I credit green tea and its anti-oxidants for keeping the flu away and even getting rid of bugs that might be forming in your system. So if you feel like you might be developing a cold, chug that tea!

I know how annoying these tips may be. But I promise, if you implement at least a few it could reduce your chances of feeling horrible during midterms in the winter, and sneezing all over your finals in the fall.

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