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Reassess, Reboot, Reimagine: A Crohn's Valentine's Story

Reader beware!  This isn't your typical Valentine's story of overpriced boxed chocolates and sappy movies, or surprise engagements and nighttime strolls in Paris.  No, this is a Crohnie Valentine to myself and to you!

I'm sure you get as tired as I do of facing yet another challenge with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  A couple of months ago, a new round of food allergy testing revealed my soy allergy had cleared up but a few new miscellaneous allergies popped up.  Like Black Pepper.

For cryin' out loud!!!

"How do you feel about black pepper?" my doctor asked me, and I had to giggle.  She seemed so serious, and the question so preposterous.

"Um, I guess I never really cared for it," I supposed.

"Listen to your body," she reminded me mysteriously as if we were discussing the very meaning of life and love.

Yeah.  I didn't really change much this go 'round, after all my diet is already so restrictive.  My husband and I just simply quit seasoning our food with pepper.

The other day, I was having breakfast and looking for something to read.  I normally browse my phone, but it was charging, so I grabbed my bottle of multivitamins in its shiny new box.  As I scanned ingredients, I noted at the bottom an unusual one that took me by surprise:

Black Pepper.

Smiting my forehead, I threw up my hands in frustration.  I'd been taking that multi for years and really liked it.  But could it be contributing to my eosinophilic esophagitis or bothering my Crohn's?

Better safe than sorry I'm now on the hunt for a new multi and welcoming recommendations.  After a half hour in a vitamin store the next day I realized most multivitamins do have pepper.  The clerk referenced that it helps with digestion.  How ironic.

It's a gentle reminder that we are always evolving with our IBD/Crohn's/ulcerative colitis.  As frustrating as it can be, our body is constantly changing, going through rough patches and good ones too.  We have to accommodate with diet, lifestyle changes, sleep habits and exercise, food journeys and even socializing.

While the journey can be maddening, it's important to stop and appreciate ourselves and how much gosh darn effort it takes to be our best as fellow Crohnies.  Others will likely never understand, that's true.  But let's stop for a second next time we are in the grocery store reading a thousand list of ingredients, or searching online for hours on end for the best supplements, and be grateful for our courage at putting our health first.  For loving our bodies and offering the care we need.

After all, if we can't take care of ourselves properly, it's hard to take care of others on this Valentine's Day and others.

Crohnies unite!


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