It's #worldIBDday2019! Over the past decade with IBD, i've come to view this annual recognition of IBD across the globe as a celebration: "HEY! We've made through another year with IBD! We did it!" The fatigue-filled days that felt too long, the nights spent managing pain in bed, all of the discomfort and uncertainty that comes with bowels that aren't functioning properly, joints/eyes/skin inflammation that just wont quit, and all of the pokes, pricks, meds, tests, and all the rest of it... we've made it through it for another year. Go us!
As I've spent more time on twitter over the past year or so, I've also come to find myself celebrating scientific and research advances in IBD. Days like WorldIBDDay, as well as the annual Crohn's and Colitis Awareness week, force me to take a moment and celebrate research and treatment advances that we weren't talking about at this point last year. Recently, we've seen new conversations highlighting the importance of a healthy and diverse microbiome, more honest and supportive conversation about the role of diet in IBD, and (finally! YAY!) a care pathway for pregnancy in the form of the IBDParenthoodProject. I'm sure that i'm missing quite a few things, but these are big on my radar!
I've also found myself taking a minute to celebrate the amazing people in the IBD community, saying thank you, and acknowledging that my disease experience honestly wouldn't be the same without them. This obviously includes my amazing medical team, who is honestly the best in the world for me, but it also includes every IBD friend who makes me laugh, holds my hand when I'm in too much pain to walk on my own (NOLA... eye roll), and texts me words of wisdom when things feel like too much.
This year, I've also met a few people who still don't feel comfortable sharing their disease experience with anyone. This is totally OK, because everyone has their reasons. I'm not in a position to EVER judge or share someone's diagnosis until they are ready. I became an advocate, though, because I felt this way once (and actually, selectively still do in certain situations!), and the burden of not sharing my diagnosis - at least in some spaces - became too much to bear. This year, I am celebrating WorldIBDDay of those who still can't share publicly, and I want you to know that I celebrate you and will continue to do whatever I can to raise awareness and normalize digestive diseases until we all feel comfortable sharing everywhere...