Illnesses with IBS

I tend to be a careful person when it comes to germs. I have a couple of things going on in my body which really hurts my immune system, so I am the one who gets sick if something is going around. I’ve worked hard at figuring out how to stay out of the line of fire of viruses and such but no matter what, eventually, something sneaks past my defenses and catches me off guard.

For most people, something small like a stomach bug will only last 12-24 hours. For me on the other hand, that same stomach bug can have lasting effects for weeks. This proved true a few weeks ago. My daughter came home from school and later that night started getting sick. By the middle of the next day, she was feeling much better. Within a day I had it as well. I will save you all the details. Here I am now almost three weeks out and my gut is still not right.

IBS and other invisible illnesses

Moments like these are ones that those without gut issues do not have to think about. Once I saw the first signs of Z being sick, I immediately quarantined myself but to no avail. My gut and body are still trying to recover from what was about a 12-hour sickness for my daughter almost 3 weeks later.

Those of us with weaker immune systems look just like you. That’s what makes it scary for me. From the outside, you can’t see the issues in my body so most assume I am a "normal" 35-year-old with nothing to worry about. That’s the hardest thing about invisible illnesses. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

That is the hardest part for anyone like me. We already mask our symptoms of IBS. Adding in a couple of immunocompromising illnesses to the mix is a bomb waiting to go off. Therefore, COVID scares me to my core. With my health, COVID could be a death sentence. No matter how careful I am, or my family is, I am still at high risk if exposed.

Living with a chronic condition is frustrating

This is where educating others on invisible illness’ is a must in my eyes. I am sure you have heard the saying don’t judge a book by its cover. It goes for people too. Just because someone looks totally healthy doesn’t mean their body works properly. Because from the outside I look like a normal healthy 35-year-old. It’s what you can’t see that makes the difference.

It’s frustrating for everyone, I won’t lie. My loved ones sometimes forget my limitations too. That’s okay. Compassion is what makes the difference for me. Missing out on family outings, holidays, or a birthday party is the hard part for me. I worry I will make others upset for not showing up. COVID has really pushed me to have the courage to explain my limitations more. I feel like it might have helped open the door for others as well. Just because I can’t go to a function doesn’t mean I just don’t want to go. It means I have listened to my body, and I am doing what I can to help me live as normal a life as I can.

Do you find yourself now with more courage to stand up for yourself?

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