World IBD Day, May 19

Stephanie Gish, Crohn's Disease Warrior, World IBD Day

What’s behind this smile? 😁Would you guess fatigue? Dizziness? …How about kidney damage? Anemia? Crohn’s?

While you probably would have guessed Crohn’s (simply based on the name of this blog!), the others may not have crossed your mind.

I don’t often talk about my struggles with an invisible illness. I like to share my positive side with the world, and my competitive drive keeps me pushing through the tough days.💪

When I don’t feel great, I downplay how I feel and I put a smile on for the world. The mantra from my Army days continually plays in a loop in my head, “keep your head down and drive on.”😶

This attitude kept me marching along on a broken foot for 3 years, kept me hiding the fact that I had blood with every bowel movement for 6 years, and why I continue to hesitate to call my doctor for things that don’t seem right.

Perhaps it’s my way of pretending like these things aren’t happening…perhaps it’s because, while I’m not doing great, I’m also not doing terrible. I’m able to go to work, I have all my limbs and organs, and I live my life to the fullest extent possible. But those things don’t mean I’m not sick and those things don’t make my diseases and struggles any less real.💜

We never know what someone may be battling—whether it’s just a bad day or an invisible illness. So let World IBD Day (TODAY!) be a reminder to be kind, be grateful, and live every moment of this precious thing we call life.💜💜☺️

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