Stumbling Across Other Crohnies While Traveling!
I'm in Atlanta this weekend for a work conference and have met another Crohnie! There's nothing like being out of your comfort zone in terms of food and health, and then finding a kindred spirit.
Like my recent trip to DC, I came prepared. I requested a mini-fridge from the hotel, and this time they cleared out the mini-bar, which is much more convenient than having staff actually wheel in a mini-fridge! I will have to remember to check my bill to make sure that taking food in and out of the fridge doesn't trigger any charges, even though it's empty. I also packed lots of snacks (rice cakes, new travel-size packets of Cashew Butter, gluten-free crackers, and smoothie mix with travel-size rice milk). Check out the cute and convenient travel versions:
I had requested a special meal to accomodate my Crohn's restrictions and only a few others commented. I did my typical somewhat self-disparaging "I have a lot of dietary restrictions" comment and left it at that, while facing my constant struggle to not let myself get too self-conscious. That's easier said than done when you get the evil eye (or at least the confused eye) when a massive lunch line forms and you are able to circumvent the line for red carpet service. One of the perks of a bad GI system! :)
So how did I meet my new friend? Well, a small group of us were talking about skipping out on dinner, when a business acquaintance casually mentioned she was glad because she couldn't eat the bbq pork being served. That led to her sharing she has Crohn's, and I gotta say - the times are few and far between when I am on the listening end rather than the sharing end and find out another person has it too. A friend, neighbor, colleague or family member, sure! But someone standing right there, unbeknownst to me probably also having spent the day assessing if anything she ate was "bad" or would cause problems later! I immediately felt a sense of community.
The moral of this story is don't be shy, and please, please, please - don't do what I used to do and hide or cover up the fact you have Crohn's! I wasn't as at peace with myself or as grounded in my 20's, and often times would eat foods I knew would cause me harm because I didn't want to be singled out. I feared social ridicule. To a sensitive spirit, raised eyebrows and confused looks can be as damaging as rude comments. I'm so glad I've come into my own and feel more comfortable sharing in the appropriate situations. I've also learned almost everyone has heard of Crohn's, or knows someone who knows someone that has it.
I'm grabbing dinner with my new friend tonight. She's already told me about a new book: Patient Heal Thyself, which she credits to getting her in remission! I'm excited to learn more. I'm glad to feel a little less isolation in traveling around this world feeling singled out. Crohnies unite!