Sorry, Not Sorry That I’m Canceling Again

Last updated: September 2022

Have plans to go to your favorite restaurant? CANCELED! How about a nice long walk at the local park CANCELED! Well, then let's go to your brother's college graduation and celebrate after. CANCELED!

Is it just me, or does your IBS and/or anxiety also seem to control your life a bit much? It's almost like I have no say in the matter – my wants and needs basically go out the window. For instance, I want to get off this toilet and need to make my way to work, but my chronic illness is imprisoning me in my own home by forcing me to defecate in excruciating pain constantly. Sometimes I want to live and enjoy life like everyone else, but IBS loves to remind me that I'm far from being "normal."

Canceling important events because of IBS

Canceling many important events often and trying to find a sense of normalcy all sounds like a complicated overemphasis on my life. Admittedly, it can be to the average person who doesn't suffer from chronic intestinal issues. However, for people like me with a severe illness, many times, it's not an exaggeration. When I think about the difficulty of each painful IBS episode, I remember feeling almost paralyzed on the toilet by both the rectal pain and overburdening anxiety. Not to mention sitting on the toilet for so long cuts off the circulation in my legs, so standing up is often a struggle.

The truth is, I feel damn-near physically incapable of leaving my house because I'm just too exhausted, and I feel like I'll never stop having to "go." It would be too embarrassing to deal with my symptoms in public since it was already so difficult to deal with them in private.

The pain and anxiety of IBS

Come on, Hess, is the pain really that bad? YES. The pain and anxiety can be so bad, that it's enough to make me cancel on my mother, father, brother, sisters, grandmothers, cousins, uncles, aunties, and all my friends, ha-ha! (Sorry, I thought that was kind of funny.)

Seriously though, there were many times my mom would invite me over for a family gathering, but, of course, to no surprise to my mom, on the day of, my IBS symptoms would flare up intensely, which would then force me to cancel. She wouldn't always be happy during those occasions, but she would still be very understanding, which is all that matters to me. I can expect and understand why people would be upset about me canceling, but if they reciprocate and understand why I had to cancel, I know all will be well and forgiven in due time.

Lessons with IBS

I've been dealing with IBS for over 13 years now, and I've gotten and seen all kinds of reactions to my IBS. I have finally learned to take specific reactions with a grain of salt and not let them affect my emotions because no one will deal with what I have to deal with daily for me. No one will offer to walk a day in my shoes to help me take the painful burden off for a day. Thus, I can't take everything personally and must learn how to move on by staying focused on what's most important – my health (both mental and physical) ­and my happiness. And not having to apologize about that is more than acceptable, in my opinion.

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