Love & A J-Pouch…And Crohn’s…

by on Thursday, February 5, 2009 18:51
This entry is filed under: relationships

At the risk of becoming an obsessive J-pouch.net poster, I have another blog-a-de-blog-blog.  I am often on the Jpouch.org board answering queries, and one that seems to come up a lot is, “How do I tell a new partner/person I’m dating/etc. about my ostomy/disease/J-pouch?” My answer is always the same, and always involves the most amazing example from my own life. engagement1

A GORGEOUS young girl who currently has an ostomy, asked how to tell her new person. I said:

“I think you just have to take a leap of faith. Some people with surprise you with their reactions.
I don’t know that there’s any way to phrase it that will make it less awkward for you. You’ll probably have to explain a lot about the disease, surgery, etc. and that’s okay! You just have to know what a beautiful, wonderful, strong person you are, and that this doesn’t define you. The right person will realize that and be supportive.”

A few others responded, suggesting that she should wait, that telling them too soon might scare them off. Duly noted, but WOW I could not disagree more. I think these people need to raise their damn standards.  A la, my response to that:

“I know this is ‘heavy’ stuff and that some people have problems dealing with it, but do you really want to invest time in a relationship with someone who can’t deal with such a significant part of your life? I don’t…Just my two cents.”

Which brings me to the wonderful person in my life. My amazing, understanding fiance, Rob. The story I always tell people in these situations is about the time Rob asked me to tell him something about myself he didn’t know yet.  We might have been dating 3 weeks, but I doubt it. We were definitely falling for each other. So the first thing that popped into my head was, “Crohn’s. Ugh…Should I do this? What if it freaks him out? Or grosses him out?” Then… I took a leap of faith. I told him. He asked me questions and I answered. His response? “You are so brave.” I will never forget that as long as I live. I will always know what that meant to me, and it instantly showed me the kind of person I was falling in love with.

All I want for these fellow pouchers, IBD-sufferers, ostomates, is to have a happy, rewarding life, and someone wonderful to share it with. As much as we’ve been through, as strong as we most certainly are, we deserve a Rob in our life.

So THIS is what I told her:

“My fiance had dated a girl in High School whose little bro had Crohn’s, so he at least knew that it was a difficult disease and knew more maybe than the average person. So I didn’t have to explain too much in detail with him at first, but he asked me about the surgeries in detail, I told him, and now we have NO secrets. He knows everything. ie: That when I go to the bathroom to “get ready for bed” I’m washing my face, brushing my teeth, and putting in my nightly suppository, and he only cares that I am healthy AND he still thinks I’m the sexiest woman on the face of the earth. He has gotten in my hospital bed with me and read me Harry Potter and fed me chicken broth when I had to have emergency surgery. There was no pity in it either, just love, and THAT, my girl, is what you deserve.”

And all I can say to that is AMEN, Lizzy!

So cheers to all the wonderful people in my life: My ever-supportive and strong as a rock mother, my best friends, my sweet & loving aunts, my sweet little dog who is always there to comfort and worry about me, and my incredible man.  God has truly blessed me, and hope will bless all of you with the same type of love and support we all deserve.

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10 Responses to “Love & A J-Pouch…And Crohn’s…”

  1. avatar

    Mark says:

    February 5th, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    You are such a great writer and talk about things so true that you must keep posting – Megan has been with me from before I was sick, stuck with me through sick and now enjoying life with j-pouch. I always felt so lucky that I had someone with me who knew me before UC., but then on the flipside what she has gone through with me is insane. And I’ve felt guilty that the life she thought we’d have in our 20s didn’t exist because I was sick. I think the advice you give is good about have a leap of faith, people are really good overall that I’ve learned through all this. Good people find strenght in the struggle and that I think is the trick for telling someone new.

    [Reply]

  2. avatar

    Lizz says:

    February 5th, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Aw, thanks, Mark! I appreciate that. I’ve always loved to write, and I have been so affected by this (positively) that I am really just so grateful to you and Megan for giving me this awesome opportunity!
    I just want to get the word out about IBD, J-pouches, the whole gamut. The more we are understood, the more support we will have, and hopefully, financial support that will fund finding a cure!
    Plus, going through all this hell just…makes you wise! So many amazing people and what a great place for us to share our stories! Cheers to you and Megan!

    [Reply]

  3. avatar

    Marianne says:

    February 6th, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Lizz, You could never post enough and you are fun to read! I think many come to this site everyday to see how other are doing, a kind of community feeling, and it is always a treat to find a new post hoping of course that everyone is doing well and providing support if they are not. You are right about taking a leap of faith. If we don’t, I think we are judging others, probably unfairly, assuming they have shallow intentions about being with us. All we have is a new “plumbing system” and as you say it does not define who we are. If it’s a problem for someone, then a meaningful relationship with them was not meant to be. That being said, it is of course normal to be nervous and worry about it but we must get past that as fast as possible. It’s just another complex preventing us from being happy. If we are happy with ourselves, we can be happy with others and that special someone will come around just as it happened for you and many others. Thanks for sharing your experience. Marianne

    [Reply]

  4. avatar

    Lizz says:

    February 6th, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Well said, Marianne! And thank you:)

    [Reply]

  5. avatar

    Elise says:

    May 4th, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Thank you so much Lizz for writing this. I have just been dating someone for a little over a month, and he is a great someone. My first surgery is June 23rd. He knows, but I really don’t know if he truly knows what I am about to go through. I hope that it turns out okay, but if it doesn’t with him I will remember to come back and read this again. I love the picture of you two at the top of this post, so sweet.

    Elise

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