It’s easy, as a blogger to get sucked in to the warped mentality of needing to behave like some shining example or beacon of idealised solutions to your and everyone else’s problems. But in reality, things remain just as challenging and certainly don’t go to plan, even when, and especially when you’re writing about them. I’ve always wanted this to be a warts an all sort of blog, about the honest ugly challenges, physically and emotionally that go with being a Crohns sufferer.
It’s taken me some time to sit and write this post, as I have been trying to make sense of things and be a lot easier on myself about these recent weeks. But what better way to process things, than to spit it out right here.
As readers will know, I have been working on an elimination protocol with a nutritionist, Molly. She’s been excellent, and despite the distance: London to Toronto, she always has my back when I am feeling less motivated. This new way of eating is about rebalancing my plate, and the foods I nourish myself with. It’s about giving my digestive system a rest, to heal and recover from the numerous traumas it has experienced, from flares, bleeding, heavy meds, viruses and anxiety. It’s also about trial and error of foods in my diet. During this process, I have cut a lot of food groups out. At times it’s been really difficult to make the right choices, but I muddled through regardless and as many have pointed out, it’s a big achievement that I stayed so disciplined all this time.
Three weeks ago, I moved home and so packed up my kitchen for a weekend. During this time, my partner had some good news worth celebrating with a fancy meal. The next few days we both felt exhausted from the move and craved a quick meal while still not having proper use of a kitchen. These tricky moments, lead us astray from our carefully planned out nutritional protocol that we had been so strictly keeping to and so – we broke a few rules.
It was amazing how immediate the results of this slip up were. Within a day of eating a little sugary dessert, some take away chips and some dairy likely thrown in somewhere – I felt the worst kind of hangover. I was a rotten, depleted, head-ache ridden mess and I was mad at myself, for messing it all up for the sake of a few moments of short lived yums.
I quickly contacted Molly to come clean about this. But her response surprised me. She saw the experience as a good one. She told me that slip ups were frankly to be expected during a tumultuous time like moving house. But more than that, recalling how crumby I felt the next day would be a powerful memory to help me reason why I’m doing this. She was right, and I have since got right back on my game, eating well, cooking whole foods and taking my supplements.
But this is where I must be honest and jump ship from the plain sailing boat, into my rickety canoe with just one paddle. Despite, my continued strict efforts, and conscious changes – lately my Crohns has gone a little off course. Since we moved, my bowel motions have loosened, I’ve seen blood in the toilet, and have even had cramps. Admitting this out loud when people ask ‘how’s it going with the diet?’ has been tough. Instead I have an internal monologue, where I tell myself I have failed somehow at proving that I can feasibly help myself stay on top of this illness.
But then it occurred to me – by internalising those anxieties, that fear of failing, that need to prove something and that dread that I’m running out of options and going to get sick – i’m likely making myself feel more unwell. Instead I’ll continue to ride upstream in my canoe and choose to acknowledge these fears and proclaim that It’s okay that I don’t have the answers yet about what works and what doesn’t, but I’ll continue to ask questions and to keep adventuring against the current.
After all, that’s the reason I’m blogging. It’s the reason I’m trying things. Since I decided to treat my experiences with Crohns as a research project instead of an affliction, I’ve felt more empowered and purposeful than ever. So, if the truth be told, I’m not feeling great right now, but I know it doesn’t invalidate my efforts so far. So I’m going to keep the faith like I promised in my very first blog and keep paddling.