Crohn's Disease

Crohn's 360: Jackie's Story Ep. 4: The Social Impact of Crohn's

Jackie talks about the impact of Crohn's disease on her social life in high school and college, alienation, and finding the strength and courage to not allow Crohn’s to define her personality and love life. 

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Crohn's360: Jackie's Story Episode 4

The Impact of Crohn's on Romantic Relationships 

Jackie: It was pretty traumatic in high school. Like I said, I lost a significant amount of weight, I looked sickly. People thought I was on drugs, that I had an eating disorder… you know, whatever they thought. And it was really, um, hard to deal with. It is definitely a disease that you feel alone.

Dr. Howard Siegel, Gastroenterologist: This disease seems to affect young people. The average age of diagnosis is between the ages of 15 to 25, so these are young people who do not want to be ill and it places a huge emotional strain on them and their family.

Jackie: There are times I am up and I am down, just because it affects you so deeply that you just think, “Oh my gosh I can’t go on like this. I can’t live like this. I can’t  have a family – I can’t do anything.” What I am going to do when I have a real job? They don’t care if I have another episode or if something bad happens. It could potentially affect my profession and I know that my family ensures me it will be ok, but with someone who suffers from any disease that you think about. So, it is really important to find that niche of where you can really be healthy mentally.

It is hard also when you first start dating someone, you know? You feel like you have to hide everything like, “I can’t be open with this person.” I have this… sometimes it is embarrassing and the things you have to go through and you have to hide it from someone. And that is also a really hard thing because this affects relationships. You need to find a partner who is going to be open and supportive to you. Thankfully my boyfriend has been…every time I have been in the hospital he sleeps on the floor right next to me the whole time.

When you realize the person is going to be there for you and help you and make sure you’re healthy and taking care of yourself it is kind of a huge relief because you are not alone anymore. I am able to look in the future and say what I want to do. I am not going to let this disease, you know, control what I want to do in the future. This is something you are going to live with for the rest of your life, but if you can see the light at the end of the tunnel that is something that really helps you cope with it. 

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