Crohn’s in the Mirror
When it comes down to it, I got pretty lucky with this Crohn’s thing. I’ve talked to countless patients over the years and I’m aware of how harsh a blow I’ve been spared despite a lifestyle that could be described as less than ideal. I’ve only had one surgery, my flare-ups are few, and on the infrequent occasions I feel bad enough to curl up into a ball, my bed is comfortable.
Not so for others. This disease is an incalculable crap-shoot (pun intended). The greatest gift I have been given is the ability to seem totally fine, even when my gut is rumbling like Pompeii. Being a somewhat egotistical person, I can’t imagine what it’d be like to deal with both a constant flare and thecontinued withering of my body.
So I feel for those whose body image has been affected by Crohn’s. There’s nothing worse than something that’s impossible to hide from the world because it strips you of the ability to fight on your own. Something that robs you of your confidence because, try as you might, it’s obvious to everyone else how under the gun you are. Sure, I was way too skinny for a while, and sure, I have a scar on my stomach from when they took out my ileum, but neither of these has ever been bad enough that it takes away my mojo. In fact, my scar kind of looks like Harry Potter’s™ lightning bolt. I swear it glows when I flare.
The most I can say if you’re feeling bad is this too will pass (pun intended), and you don’t look as bad as you think. In my opinion, the best therapy is being as open as possible and finding humor in eventhe most belittling circumstances. If you feel your body has become worn down by Crohn’s, try building your brain up to compensate. Your perception will only ever be one thing – yours – and having climbed a relatively small mountain of my own, I understand I might not be so chipper if it had taken my smile inaddition to a small chunk of my gut. And hey, no matter what you may think, you look great.
Ben Morrison is an actor and stand-up comedian living in Hollywood, CA, who has appeared on NBC’s Last Comic Driving and MTV’s Punk’d. Check out Ben’s Crohn’s-focused comedy routine “Pain in theButt” on iTunes or visit www.benmorrison.org.