Crohn’s and Colitis – What a Waste

 GI #4 was very plain in his interpretation of what I should do to ease the flare, a plan I was not ready to be a part of. Biologics. I fought him on this recommendation; the list of side effects deterred me and I was scared of developing medication related health issues down the road, having “induced this” or “induced that” stacked upon Crohn’s Disease and Colitis.

During one poignant office visit, GI#4 asked point blank what I wanted him to do. Never had anyone been so blunt, leaving my treatment in my hands. This spoke volumes as we had tried another medication, which did not work, was expensive and since I lost my insurance, I could not afford long term. This GI said he was worried about me; I must’ve looked perplexed because his next words stung. He looked me in the eyes and said something like, “Krista, you wobbled into my office, barely a shell of a person, you’re having to use a walking cane because you’ve hardly any strength left.” It was true; the act of walking through the parking lot, to the elevator, to the doctor’s office left me so fatigued; my legs felt like weights. I could easily pull up and down, without unbuttoning/unzipping my size 2 skinny jeans, a belt and thick wool leggings underneath were needed to keep them up.

For some reason, those words resonated with me, and I literally saw myself from his viewpoint. I was pitiful, wasting away and my denial had set in with vengeance. I realized how my champion parents had struggled with my dismissiveness about my condition. Talk about feeling like an eejit in hiding, I had to use a walker, a cane and could no longer climb the stairs to my room. Dad set up a cot on the main level for me; my nights were filled with night sweats, bad dreams of migrating, howling/yelping coyotes, and pain because I had nothing but aching bones to cushion and insulate. Once again, I was wearing my back brace.

As more proof of wasting, for the first time in my life, I developed receding gums and canker sores. Each time I ate pureed food (the only way I could tolerate) was horrid, like someone rubbing sandpaper between my gums; the best thing I found was to brush my teeth with a child’s toothbrush as the irritation from bristles was less. I could target the small brush away from the sores and clean my prized, orthodontist perfected teeth, of which my parents are still supremely proud. They paid a lot for my mouth. I found a super cool brush with Buzz Lightyear on the handle; he was more reliable than a fabled princess. It’s the small things.

I had recently willed my weakened self to fly, the super airport employees shuttled me to and from the gates in a wheelchair and shuttle – cane and back brace in tow. They employed the lift outside of the plane to board and unboard me because I was too weak to climb stairs. I looked like the walking dead I was so thin and gaunt, a painted picture of headstrong denial combined with a devastating illness. Denial morphed into depression and then grief. I questioned God. I questioned life. While I was not suicidal – I did ask Him to end my misery and let me die.

During this time, that still, small voice revealed that this was not the end, as much as I wanted it to be. He – The Lord – was not finished with my life on earth.


Judy Wanamaker

Krista, you are so brave. My prayers continue for your healing and comfort. I wish I could carry some of that burden for you.

Times like these are when we find such comfort in friendships!

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