I have had to cancel the odd play date recently. Some days I appear so busy, that I can't stop for a chat. I have even missed the odd, much needed night out. So often these things occur when a little one is poorly, you apologise, but everyone understands and are happy for you to miss the event on account of their children not then catching said bug. In this instance however, it is mummy's fault that we are having a morning at home. I am an IBD Mummy. For the lucky people who have not had an unfortunate encounter with it 'IBD' stands for 'Inflammitory Bowel Disease' and some days it feels as though it is ruling my life.
When you suffer with a bowel disease, lying begins to come naturally. I tell my girls never to lie, yet find myself casually saying we have plans, so no we can't go back to so and so's after school. 'Sorry I have a party to go to this weekend' is a common one directed at friends. Why lie? Because, in honesty, it has become much easier than telling the truth. Most people don't understand the ins and outs of IBD. While IBS has become more common, and more accepted, people assume an IBD is much the same. When I do admit to having a flare up I am so often bombarded with well meaning questions, 'is it something you ate?' or comments, 'there will be toilets, come anyway.' It is assumed a change in diet, or a course of meds will 'make me better', when in truth I may never be cured. While I am happy people often want to learn more about it I find it exhausting some days having to go into more graphic, rather disgusting details. A family member once mentioned that there are service stations all the way along the motorway, 'just stop at those.' You try holding for 20 miles between services when you are painfully losing blood and have no bowel control. So these days, I just lie.
My children are still young, and so up until now I have gotten away fairly lightly. It is pretty easy to manhandle small children into public loos in a moments notice, as they grow older I expect the events will prove a lot more embarrassing. Not joining in with various events is becoming harder. My soon to be six year old gets cross if she has to miss out on an exciting expedition. I used to not tell her when something was planned, just in case it didn't happen, but now she is much more aware of events.
A friend recently told me that I was obsessed with 'poo'. It is true, we talk about it A LOT in my family. I am open with my children, they know when I am having a flare up because I tell them, there is no point in avoiding the subject with them. Several family members and friends are also plagued with IBD so I can have whole telephone conversations about poo, or the lack of public toilets, or diet, or meds, the list goes on. It makes it easier to live with when you turn it into a joke, because, really, it is about as far away from a joke as you can get.
I often have a point to get across when I plan a blog post. Today, I am not entirely sure what my point is. I guess it refers back to the idea of not judging people, because you never know what battle they are fighting. Please don't judge me for making excuses, for cancelling at a moments notice, or for being anxious when I have to go somewhere new, where I don't know where the toilets are, what if there are no loos at all? The more open I become about it, the more people I find admit to being fellow suffers. I hope one day IBD is just as well talked about as IBS, until that day, if you are a fellow IBD Mummy, my heart goes out to you! It sucks arse, literally!