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Ulcerative Colitis/Crohn’s Disease are two of many silent diseases. Unless one is in mid flare, there can be little visible signs of illness. Subtleties such as exhaustion can be over ruled briefly with caffeine, drudging to shop can be temporarily masked by pain killers, and the brave face that a lot of us wear, who keep our problems to ourselves, works wonders for charades to the outside world. The mask makes it difficult for others to understand what we face daily, as we “look fine.” However, the looking glass bears great distortion, both from the outside looking in, more importantly, from the inside looking out.

Understanding then accepting the levels of defiance, denial and grief is an acquired resolve to beginning to love ones self again; small steps to make our lives a bit more bearable are needed for self-affirmation. Our bodies respond to positive queues just as they do to negative self-loathing. We are living creatures – resilient, yet needy to the love, attention and care that we so often delve to everyone but ourselves. When we introspect, we locate deficits within our psyche, those dried out channels and pathways, which lead in and out of ourselves, which must be nourished daily. If we continue drying ourselves internally, it does not take long for us to display those embittered responses to those around us and unless we are careful, we shut ourselves away from the very people who care the most for us.

Speaking for myself, I began ignoring phone calls, texts, emails and most attempts from those who knew a bit of my struggles. Unless these concerned friends or family are determined and can see past our façade and ignorance of ignoring, they will drop off the map. Who can blame them? You must be a trooper to endure chronic illness; you must be a trooper to be patient and love someone with chronic illness.

The older I am blessed to become, the more I realize how everyone has a struggle, some greater than others, but nonetheless we all deal with Goliaths. How we choose to respond to circumstances determines how well we live life; even the most optimistic people have deep chasms of chaos. The optimists are to be admired because they choose to remain soft and vulnerable, rather than fully retreating into themselves, morphing into an emotionless grey wall, the only penetration being, not love, but dynamite. I know, my gray fortress was thick and surrounded by two moats, filled with prehistoric swimming creatures ready to strike prey. Well, perhaps not to that extent, but close enough. Only those few, who persisted with trial and error, patience and love, tamed those beasts and carved their way through my walls.

I’ll never understand all of my circumstances and I don’t think God intends for His children to always know the reasons why He sends us through storms, yet my faith in Him gives me reason to hope, for He has never failed me. The best way to explain where I currently am in life is that I’m striving to become a better version of my pre-illness days and by the Grace of God, an updated version of my old self!

This is my birthday cake my dear friend Pam baked and decorated for me, gluten free and delicious!

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