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Easy Does It

Achieving balance between managing IBD symptoms and an overcrowded calendar.


Help post-it note pinned to calendar.Spending a night with a bellyache, gurgling intestines, and the subsequent paranoia about what it could mean is a provoking reminder. When I’m feeling relatively well, able to eat comfortably, and mostly free of the more troublesome IBD symptoms, it’s easier to let my digestive illness fade into the background. While that is a very good thing in the free-living sense, it also allows me to forget that I still need to be careful.

An isolated event can be managed, but two nights in a row is not so easy. The 3:00am wake-up call, literally, sends my mind into a blur. Have I been too careless lately? Hmmm… daredevil eating, coffee and dairy products, and other recent liberties come to mind. And it’s not just about my diet. I recently moved to a new city and started a new job. And I have slowly filled my life with more commitments than I’d allowed myself since I was diagnosed. When things are going well, this seems to work okay, but when the cracks are all filled in, there’s not much breathing room to accommodate bumps along the way.

As active and involved as I like to be, it’s easy to get overcommitted. When a full schedule turns into a congested lifestyle, the structure can start to crumble. A slight problem here or there so easily leads to a cascade of complications. And the last thing I want is for it to bring a flare-up.

Am I on that path toward overextension? It certainly seems possible, given my tendencies lately. Regardless, this situation offers a good reminder to pay attention, and back off a little when need be. Recognizing limitations and allowing space to accommodate them are critical in remaining healthy. But at the same time, it’s also important to retain the good ways we stretch ourselves. There is a fine line between adventure and carelessness. I just hope for the wisdom to achieve a good balance.

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About the Author

Andrew Tubesing is an acclaimed advocate and humorist on the subject of inflammatory bowel disease.