no love for the Crohnies

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MissCris
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Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 321
   Posted 11/14/2009 8:07 PM (GMT -7)   
So in my substance abuse class on Thursday my professor wanted to do an exercise to see what kinds of things are "deal breakers" for people when choosing a partner. She gave a list of scenarios like "I used to have a problem with alcohol but I go to meetings now" "I have herpes but its under control with medications"

Well her very first scenario was "I have this incurable disease" and of course in my head I'm going...Crohn's...and then she says "I have Crohn's Disease which is a pretty serious intestinal disease, it can contribute to death, I may have to be hospitalized, I may need to have surgeries...how many people would that be a deal breaker for?" Five out of about 20 people raised their hands saying that they would break up with someone if they told them they had Crohn's. The only one that got a higher response was the STD. Of course my professor doesn't know that the girl in the front row has it...but it was kind of rough especially since I've been thinking about dating again.

I guess I can't completely blame them...it is pretty draining to have and to deal with... for your significant other as well. It's just disappointing and makes me more self conscious sad
"Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity" ~ Horace Mann


Noulls
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Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 106
   Posted 11/14/2009 8:50 PM (GMT -7)   
I'll bet the instructor didn't randomly pick Crohn's disease. It is likely that he/she knows someone with it. I would ask the instructor and maybe even use this as an opportunity to "educate" the class about the disease. Some of those who said it was a deal breaker might instead feel compassion. By the way, I am a university professor (nothing to do with substance abuse) and would absolutely let a student "tell the story".

Sniper
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Date Joined Feb 2004
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   Posted 11/14/2009 9:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Hope you made a mental note of who did not raise their hands that day..
If we would read the secret history of our enemies,we would find in each mans life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.


Carnival Huckster
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Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 159
   Posted 11/14/2009 9:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Geez what a can of worms that instructor opened up, eh? Obviously the statement your instructor made applies differently to the varying severity levels of Crohn's.

For example, someone who is in the bathroom 30 times per day with bloody D and severe depletion of energy -- and I know that's not as far fetched as it sounds on this board -- is going to have a much harder time with dating from a practical standpoint than someone who has a relatively minor case of Crohn's that can be controlled by taking a little Pentasa or Asacol. Similarly if you have a colostomy or extreme weight loss or weight gain, then obviously that could be damaging to your initial sex appeal when dating someone.

If you contrast the severe cases to the person who has only minor or moderate Crohn's, I seriously doubt it would have much of impact on the people in the minor or moderate categories. I know I have brought it up many times with women with whom I have been in a relationship and it has never been a deal breaker ... in fact some women seem to appreciate it because they feel as if I have opened up to them and shared something a lot of other people might not have shared. Admittedly, I do not fall into the "severe" category at the moment -- and obviously I don't do much dating when I am having a bad flare up; but I have never, ever noticed that someone was turned off because of the Crohn's. I've ruined relationships for plenty of other reasons ... but never because of the Crohn's :-)

With all of that said, I think if you took 2 equal cases of Crohn's: one male patient and one female patient, that chances are that the woman is more likely to have a stigma attached to her by society. Men are much more likely to evaluate a partner based on their physical appearance, health, vitality, etc whereas women are more likely (I'M NOT SAYING ALWAYS, but just on average) to look beyond the physical defects of a potential partner. I think Crohn's is therefore much more destructive to the overall femininity / sexuality of a woman. Guys are sort of expected to break wind, make bathroom jokes, etc.

Of course, the silver lining is that when you tell someone about your Crohn's and they run away you have just saved yourself the hassle of having to find out the hard way that they are just around for the good times :-)

+ 34 year old male
+ Crohn's Disease DX in 1997, doc said it was "moderate to severe"
+ Currently taking 9mg entocort and 40mg prozac
+ SCD for past 10 years
+ 4,000 mg MSM, Calcium, Vitamin D, Multivitamin, S. boulardii, Acidophilus
+ Section in lower jejunum is badly strictured (5mm wide opening continues for 10cm!) but otherwise no other problems in bowel
+ No surgeries so far


pb4
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Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20576
   Posted 11/14/2009 9:34 PM (GMT -7)   
When he said "it can contribute to death" I would have spoke up and said that it's very very rare for it to. Who's to say that if it had been a group of 100 people that only 5 of them still might only have put up their hands.

I hope you don't let that "miniscule servey" stop you from thinking about dating again...there are all kinds that walk this earth, there are many worse things than IBD, there are billions of people in the world with health issues of some sort.

:)
bee propolis caps 500mg one cap twice/day
omegas 369 caps one cap twice/day
probiotics 10 billion cfu once/day
vitamins C-calcium ascorbate (easy on the gut) and vitamin A each once/day
Prodiem fibre supplement one cap before bed
I've also altered my diet (no junky stuff at all, processed, fast-foods, refined sugars, ect) and exercise regularly.
I went from 30+ bloody BM's/day with lots of lower back pain to an average of 5/day no bleeding no back pain and completely formed stools, still have severe urgency issues.
~~~~~~~~My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it! LOL :)~~~~~~~~


ivy6
Elite Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 10404
   Posted 11/14/2009 9:44 PM (GMT -7)   
Hmm. That actually sounds like a discriminatory comment to me, and something that the professor should be reprimanded for.

Just my 2c... and bear in mind that I'm in a different country so may see things differently.

Ivy.
Co-Moderator Crohn's Forum.

Medications for Crohn's ~~ Diet and Nutritional Therapy for Crohn's ~~ Dealing with Abscesses and Fistulae ~~


LMills
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Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 11/14/2009 9:52 PM (GMT -7)   
pb4 said...
When he said "it can contribute to death"


I don't know...my grandfather recently lost two of his friends to it, and I've been extremely close to death myself twice in the past year and a half (if not for my fiance being there I would be).

But like the other members said, it has to do with severity and access to medical care too :/


You know, I feel like it's unfair to bring Crohn's up that way though. Those people who raised their hands heard only a small percentage of what Crohn's is without knowing that some Crohnies live normal, healthy lives.

I just feel like there should be more education there. Everyone knows what an STD, drinking problem, or drug addiction is. But getting into what a confusing disease like this by a two sentence summary just doesn't cut it.
Diagnosed with Crohn's in May of 2008.
Currently taking: Prednisone, pentasa, omeprazole, and humira. Using probiotics and a multivitamin.
bonniegriffith.blogspot.com/
Learning how to live again.
"He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how."


MissCris
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 321
   Posted 11/14/2009 10:19 PM (GMT -7)   
Yeah =\ Now I kind of wish I had said something but at the time I was really embarrassed and it gave me a lot of anxiety because I wasn't expecting her to say Crohn's. Hardly any of my classmates know that I have Crohn's and unfortunately a lot of the people in that class are pretty judgmental so I wouldn't have wanted to say anything then. I really don't think that the professor meant it to be discriminatory. She is the social work program director and she is pretty great actually :) I'm sure she probably does know someone with Crohn's and that's why she brought it up and I'm also sure that had someone asked, she would have gone into more detail...maybe not just the worst of the worst. I think her main point was to find out what kind of stigmas we had about different things like mental health issues, substance abuse, and medical issues. It was really just a five minute exercise but I was just kind of bummed out about the people who raised their hands.

Truthfully I couldn't see who did because I sit in the front row but I know that most of them were female and a few of them were those judgmental ones I was speaking about. I guess it doesn't really surprise me but its still disappointing that people care so much about stuff like that.
"Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity" ~ Horace Mann


ivy6
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Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 10404
   Posted 11/14/2009 10:37 PM (GMT -7)   
... I think that the very fact that you have felt this way and reacted in this way indicates that your professor has behaved - even if unintentionally - in a discriminatory manner. The discussion made you feel like a lesser person, less attractive, more vulnerable... and it seems to me that these would be the requirements of any sort of discrimination complaint.

Just imagine if the comment had been:

"I belong to the OongaBoonga race. My skin colour is purple" and then she provided two examples of this race's more extreme and unusual cultural practises.

Would *that* be seen as discriminatory? I think so.

I think she simply had to say, "I have an incurable disease. It gives me a range of embarrassing and awkward symptoms. I'm in the hospital a lot, take a lot of medicine, and may need to have multiple surgeries. Is this is a deal breaker?"

She didn't have to NAME the disease. That adds to the stigma that IBD already has.

Ivy, stepping down from her soapbox.
Co-Moderator Crohn's Forum.

Medications for Crohn's ~~ Diet and Nutritional Therapy for Crohn's ~~ Dealing with Abscesses and Fistulae ~~


GDen
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Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 703
   Posted 11/14/2009 10:54 PM (GMT -7)   
I don't think the prof. engaged in discrimination at all--it was a hypothetical question/survey.

michmo
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 11/15/2009 6:24 AM (GMT -7)   
I think if the professor had fully described a worst case scenario of the other diseases, nobody would have voted for that either. If you take any disease and you fully describe the absolute worst case scenario of this disease, everybody would run for the hills. A worse case scenario of alcoholism to me would be way worse than anything....that is the most destructive disease out there.

lilcrohnieUK
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 414
   Posted 11/15/2009 6:38 AM (GMT -7)   
I had a similar thing when a seminar discussion group I was in and the topic turned to disability, some of the comments people were making were so rude I was really offended. After the class I emailed the seminar leader and told her I found it offensive but that due to the nature of the comments I hadn't felt like I could say anything there as it was quite discriminatory. She replied saying that if she had been aware there was a disabled person in the room she wouldn't have started the discussion, to which I pointed out that many disabilities are hidden and that rather then saying offensive comments when you think you're out of earshot of disabled people just don't say them at all, I asked to change seminar group as I was disgusted by the majority of people in the class.
 
Having said that though, most of the people I have met in my life my Crohn's hasn't been an issue at all, some people have blonde hair, some people have brown hair, some people have an illness, some people don't. Sure at time it may put pressure on relationships but most people in my life have been supportive, those who have run a mile? Let 'em run, they've done you a favour getting out of your life.
 
 


MissCris
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 321
   Posted 11/15/2009 8:46 AM (GMT -7)   
Well in all fairness 99% of my anxiety was from the discussion we were having prior to the activity. I also have pretty bad anxiety in general and its not her fault that I'm embarrassed and insecure about my Crohn's...its mine. It was just unexpected and a little upsetting because I was already upset. The only reason she gave more detail about Crohn's is probably because most people don't really know what it is. She actually waited a second after saying Crohn's and elaborated probably after seeing all of the blank faces in the class. Half the time when I tell people I have Crohn's they say "Chromes?" ...yes...my intestines are chromed out lol.

Additionally, I think that people choose what they are offended by. I'm not mad about what she said, I wasn't offended by her. I know that she didn't mean it to be hurtful or discriminatory. You have to choose the hill you die on and this is certainly not an issue I feel like I need to get worked up about. I used to get angry about things all the time, especially when I felt like other people had hurt me in some way but I've realized that its really just not worth the energy and stress that goes along with it.

Now had she been blatantly discriminatory or mean about it, I know that I would have spoken out, corrected her, and educated the class. That just wasn't the case though...it was just a simple exercise. I'm sure if anyone in the class has herpes they were embarrassed too because 17 people out of 20 said that that would be a deal breaker for them. There are a ton of people in our class who are adult children of alcoholics and a handful of people in recovery themselves and one of the questions was about substance abuse. It is a social work class...generally we are all pretty self aware, unoffended, and nonjudgmental. We try to be sensitive to others but we can't just not talk about things because they might hurt someone's feelings...we'd never learn and we would end up being ineffective social workers.
"Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity" ~ Horace Mann


Nanners
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Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 11/15/2009 8:59 AM (GMT -7)   
Well I agree with Noulls comment. I think I would have spoken up myself and said I have Crohns. I also agree that I think you should speak to your professor, because I too think either they have Crohns or someone they know has it. I think it is important that we educate people about our disease, so that they can understand it more and be less judgemental.

There are folks who can't handle living with someone they love being so sick, BUT....I have the most amazing husband in the world. He takes such wonderful care of me, and is there always reminding me not to eat this or that, if he knows it made sick before. He massages some part of my body every single night. He is conscious of always following MY schedule, and has even conformed his life to fit with mine. If you find someone who REALLY loves you for you, they will look past your disease. Love should always be unconditional in my book, and I hope and pray that one day you do find that special person.

Hugs
Gail*Nanners*
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease and Anxiety/Panic Forum
Crohn's Disease for over 33 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, Calcium  w/Vit D, and Xanax as needed. Resections in 2002 and 2005. Also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, and Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission, but my joints are going crazy!
It's scary when you start making the same noises As your coffee maker.
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*

MMMNAVY
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 6927
   Posted 11/15/2009 9:04 AM (GMT -7)   
I actually have done this in class. Since I am so sick I cannot hide it, so I just choose to bring it out in the open and really make people examine what chronic illness, injury, and other issues that are included that "in sickness and in health" conversation. Because what happen if people change if the future such as say they got in an accident? Gained a 100 lbs (it was funny in my class weight gain is much more of a deal breaker) etc.
Forum Co-moderator - Crohn's Disease/Thyroid Disorders:_All comments have the caveat contact your local health care provider.

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Iram
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 145
   Posted 11/15/2009 11:16 AM (GMT -7)   
Many people don't know what CD is, they are ignorant, as we are about several disease ourselves. I was completely unaware of CD until it hit me, now I generally try to understand other diseases as well, but I am not sure how I would or anyone would respond to situations of chronic diseases at that age. When you are 20 are younger, and you have the world ahead of you, you think you can do anything. I was like that, now feel like on some days half-way close to my death bed. I never thought about mortality in my life, but now I think about it very frequently. So I guess our views will change as we age and as your life experiences evolve.

FunGuy
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Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 1070
   Posted 11/15/2009 11:43 AM (GMT -7)   
Don't feel embarrassed by what you can not change and is not your fault. Those who raised their hands (deal breakers) have a reason to be embarrassed not you.

Nothing wrong with the professor's question. Sounds like a fascinating class and I would love to take one like that.
I use FD&C Blue dye number 1 and it really seems to help me.  There is SCIENCE behind this.  Just ask me and I will explain it to you.  U/C and Crohn's for 34 years.  Blue dye for one month and I am feeling pretty good!  I am so excited by this but I need others to try it with their doctor's permission.  Simple food coloring!!  BLUE1.  
I can't make money on this, it's already in your kitchen.  I just want to help, especially the youngsters.
I do 2 drops in 6 ounces of water when I get up, 2 or 3 drops in 16 or 20 ounces of water that I sip all day and then 2 drops in 6 ounces of water at bedtime.   Max of 7 drops a day.


vadreamer1
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 196
   Posted 11/15/2009 12:23 PM (GMT -7)   
I am female, 47 and I've had Crohn's for quite some time. I was diagnosed in April 05, had surgery in May 05 and September 06 for an incisional hernia and I am now in remission. Through out the last five years, I have dated, but not seriously. I wasn't comfortable showing what Crohn's has done to me.

I have been seeing someone since about August. We've been intimate since September. I had no issues telling him about my diagnosis, two surgeries, treatment and such. The one thing I had issues with, was explaining the anal skin tags. To me it was so embarrassing. His comment, oh yeah, I saw those the other night. He was so casual about it. It really made me less inhibited about it. I thought they'd be a turn off to anyone who saw them. That is not the case.

Dating with Crohn's is not easy. We make loud noises in the bathroom, we have scars, medications, anal skin tags, and other things that are not polite to talk about. I can't say where things will go with me and my guy friend. For now I'm having a good time and enjoying myself. If this ends, it wont be because of Crohn's but because it ran its course.

FitzyK23
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Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 11/15/2009 7:35 PM (GMT -7)   
To whoever said crohns is worse for women, I actually think it is worse for men. So many crohnies lose lots of weight, have to eat restricted diets, can't have alcohol, etc. I think it is easier for a female to be underweight than it is for a man. Also females tend to drink less and are always on diets for one reason or another. I find as a female I don't have to explain as much of my crohnie behavior. Oh and females tend to pee more than men too so no one really questions the bathroom trips as much. Also, we have purses to lug around our meds and butt wipes and spare underwear in. Men rarely have "murses."
27 Year old married female lawyer.  Diagnosed w/ CD 5 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For Crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night.  I take xanax prn for situational anxiety (aka no easy bathroom access). 


ivy6
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Date Joined Sep 2005
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   Posted 11/15/2009 7:59 PM (GMT -7)   

Valerie3
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   Posted 11/15/2009 8:01 PM (GMT -7)   
I don't think 5 in 20 is very accurate. I think that the way your teacher described it doesn't speak for most Crohnies. Most people live relatively normal lives when they're in remission, and she kind of made it sound like it was a terminal illness or something. I've also never had any bad reactions from any guys I've dated (I was in a relationship when I got diagnosed, we broke up in May and I started dating again, and out of the 5-10 guys I told, none of them had a problem with it whatsoever). My boyfriend now is also very supportive, although he doesn't really understand the disease fully, but he's getting there. I think that this disease (and any) are what you make of it - if you're going to sit around moping and letting yourself be miserable over it, you'll probably have a harder time finding someone, but that's really based on attitude more than anything. I think if you take the disease in stride and not let the disease become your identity, very few people will judge you or reject you based on it. Honestly, my dating experience since I've been diagnosed has been no different at all than since before I became ill, and I've never even been in remission yet. I haven't had a single guy reject me based on my disease, so don't let it get you down! Every guy I've met has been really supportive and has actually seemed to admire the way I deal with my disease, and comments that it seems to have made me a stronger person.

Also, I agree with Fitzy - lol, it's pretty easy for a girl to cover up Crohn's if you're creative. When I first got sick, I was going to the bathroom 20+ times a day, and I was so subtle about it that my boyfriend at the time never even noticed what was going on LOL. We were actually on a trip away the first time I got sick, so we were stuck in a tiny hotel room, and I still managed to cover it up without him noticing anything weird :) My weight loss was really the worst part because I dropped down around 80 lbs (I looked like a walking skeleton), but when I've had mini-flares since then, they've basically kept me at my ideal weight, so I actually look better now than I did before I got sick, haha.

Of course, when you start throwing scars and stuff into the mix (I don't have any), anyone would be self-conscious about it, but I would honestly see it as a screening tool (or try to, at least). Why would you even want to date a guy/girl who is so superficial that they judge you based on something like that? I know I wouldn't, even if I wasn't sick. I actually brought up a concern I had over possibly having to have surgery once with a guy a few months ago, and his reaction was "what are you ever going to do when you have kids if you can't deal with a scar?" Kind of made me look at things differently!

pillpopper
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 209
   Posted 11/15/2009 8:42 PM (GMT -7)   
I agree with Fitzy, it's hard for a man to hide 20 bathroom trips...
When you get skeleton like they say "you look like crap,you o.k.?"
My son call's me "vagina stomach".
B-12injections,Pentasa,Loperamide,Entocort,6mp,Hydrochlorothiazide,8 week
Remicade,vitamin-D,Fluconazole.More over the counter vitamin-D. Remission since surgery and 5-years, of 8-week Remicade.
.


ivy6
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Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 10404
   Posted 11/15/2009 8:52 PM (GMT -7)   

Carnival Huckster
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 159
   Posted 11/15/2009 9:08 PM (GMT -7)   
I guess I had never considered that there were benefits to having Crohn's ... but now that you mention it, after months on the SCD (not eating any starches or refined sugars) and exercising, I have a better physique now in my mid 30s than any other point in my life.  Yes, I would probably trade Crohn's for a beer belly, but one thing some of you have taught me is to look on the bright side!

+ 34 year old male
+ Crohn's Disease DX in 1997, doc said it was "moderate to severe"
+ Currently taking 9mg entocort and 40mg prozac
+ SCD for past 10 years
+ 4,000 mg MSM, Calcium, Vitamin D, Multivitamin, S. boulardii, Acidophilus
+ Section in lower jejunum is badly strictured (5mm wide opening continues for 10cm!) but otherwise no other problems in bowel
+ No surgeries so far


aoccc
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 455
   Posted 11/16/2009 7:00 AM (GMT -7)   
Yeah you are right Huckster. I can ride my bike to work all the time and I have abs now lol. Hadn't had or done either one since I was a kid. Still have issues but always helps to know it could be worse.



"vagina stomach"--- Yeah it is easier to cover up as guys. Can always say they were gang related.
SCD since 01, remission since 01, occasional random junk food breaks :)
No meds ever.

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