I was getting ready for to go sledding at the landslide, which meant that I had to first locate my ski pants. Every year around Christmas, our family has a sledding party with a bunch of friends. We’d grab our plastic sleds, our crazy carpets, and our single GT snow racer to have some fun in the snow.
This year, a wonderful Christmas in 2013, everything was as normal as ever. I couldn’t find my ski pants, everyone else was getting their snow stuff on, and I was still begging Dad to help locate my ski pants. Typical Matthew. Only, everything wasn’t quite normal. Sure, everything looked normal, but something was different and I was about to discover what that was.
Somehow I eventually found my ski pants, though my family was already geared up and headed out the door. I shouted that I’d catch up with them as I sat down on the floor to begin the intricate process of suiting up for the cold. And as I slid my legs into my ski pants, I felt a sudden pain in my stomach. A sharp pain that seemed to cut from the inside out, almost like someone or something was inside of my tummy using a knife to cut it’s way out. I curled up on the floor for a few minutes hoping the pain would pass. It didn’t. So I phoned my dad and asked him to come back and help me again.
Dad returned and I told him what had happened. The pain had filled a little by this point, but it was still present. Dad said that it could be a hernia and that I should see a doctor after the Christmas break. I agreed and after asking if there was anything he could do, Dad went back to the landslide. I stayed home and waited for the pain to eventually pass.
The pain did pass, and I got to join my family and friends for the sledding party. But what I didn’t know at the time– what I couldn’t know at the time –was that eight months later I’d be hospitalised and diagnosed with a chronic condition known as “Crohn’s disease”.
What is that? Well, I’ll give you the short answer for now. Crohn’s is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that affects the body’s immune and digestive systems. It’s basically a malfunction of the autoimmune system that causes the body to attack the digestive tract. For me, that results in severe pain, inflammation of my bowels and joints, food intolerances, and extreme tiredness, among other various symptoms.
So that’s me. Rather, that’s part of me. I figured I’d start writing about my Crohn’s journey by telling you how it started for me.